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Nikko-Tosho-gu Shrine Nikko-Tosho-gu Shrine

Kanto Tochigi Shrines, temples and dumplings

Marvel at the shrines and temples of Nikko, munch on Utsunomiya gyoza and play in nature

Nestled between the Kanto plain and the central mountains of Japan, Tochigi is an accessible peek into rural and ancient Japan. Nikko is home to some of the country's most magnificent temples and shrines, spread over three complexes. Stop in Utsunomiya for ultra-famous gyoza, or the hot spring resort of Kinugawa Onsen for a dip and a river cruise. Lake Chuzenji is a picturesque backdrop for a variety of outdoor activities.

How to Get There

You can ride into Tochigi in just under an hour by bullet train from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station in Tokyo. Choose local trains for a cheaper and more scenic alternative.

Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station. Depending on your desired destination in Tochigi, alight at Oyama Station or Utsunomiya Station. The train ride will take about 50 minutes. If you prefer local lines, take the Utsunomiya Line from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station in Tokyo. You may have to change trains once along the way. A journey on local lines will take about 100 minutes. Nikko is best accessed by a direct limited express train from Asakusa or Shinjuku stations in Tokyo, or by the JR Nikko Line from Utsunomiya Station. There are also limited express trains direct to Kinugawa Onsen from Asakusa and Shinjuku.

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Don’t Miss

  • The lavish shrines and temples of Nikko
  • Utsunomiya's inventive gyoza shops
  • Impressive wisterias at Ashikaga Flower Park
  • Slipping back in time to old Japan at Edo Wonderland

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Local Specialties

  • Mimi Udon

    While udon is typically sliced into noodles, these slices of udon curl into a shape that resembles an ear, or mimi in Japanese. Eating mimi udon is said to ward off evil eavesdropping spirits.

  • Kanpyo

    Thin shavings of calabash gourd that are dried and used in a variety of dishes. Kanpyo is most commonly soaked in dashi and sweet mirin sake and then wrapped inside makizushi, the rolled type of sushi.

  • Tochigi Strawberries

    Tochigi is known as the "Strawberry Kingdom" in Japan, and has introduced new varieties as recently as 2011, including the country's favorite, Tochiotome. There are plenty of places to pick Tochigi strawberries if you're so inclined.

  • Utsunomiya Gyoza

    Tender dumplings filled with ground meat, vegetables and garlic and fried to a golden crisp. Utsunomiya has countless gyoza restaurants, each with their own unique style.

  • Mashiko Ware

    Mashiko was the heart and home of Mingei, a folk craft movement established in the 1930s. It focused on the surprising artistry of unsigned, everyday objects. Mashiko is Tokyo's closest pottery hub, and Mashiko yaki is its signature ware.

  • Yuki Pongee Silk

    Yuki tsumugi is a silk-weaving style using a single, untwisted thread. This deceptively simple-sounding technique takes three years to learn, and a lifetime to master. It is mainly used to make silk kimono and obi.


Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Tochigi's many flowers burst into bloom, highlighted by cherry blossoms on the Nikko Kaido Sakura Route and wisterias at Ashikaga Flower Park.

    Ashikaga Flower Park-SPR
  • Summer

    Beat the heat in Nikko's mountains. Relax after hiking with scenic, ancient hot springs at Nasu Onsen and Shiobara Onsen.

    nikko area
  • Autumn

    Brilliant autumn hues are a beautiful backdrop for Nikko's architecture, Kegon Falls and the prefecture's many dramatic valleys.

    nikko area
  • Winter

    Ashikaga Flower Park is lit up in dramatic illuminations. Deep in the mountains, Yunishigawa Onsen hosts the Yunishi Kamakura Festival. Riverside snow huts are filled with light, creating a dramatic nighttime view.

    nasu area

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