An Enchanting Trip Down the Beautiful Kinugawa River

Sail through the enchanting Nikko National Park with professional boatmen!

Nikko is one of Japan's most famous tourist destinations, best known for its impressive shrines and temples. But did you know that the city is also famous for its vast and breathtaking national park and hot springs? Just north of Nikko along the Tobu Kinugawa Line is the Kinugawa Onsen area, named for the Kinugawa River that flows past town.

The Kinugawa River Boat Tour is a way to experience Nikko National Park’s nature up close. Two professional boatmen guide the traditional vessel downstream, as the river cuts and winds through the scenic gorge. You'll awe at the fascinating rock formations—created over the course of millennia—that tower over you as you pass.

As you continue down river, you’ll encounter some rapids. But don’t worry; your boatmen will expertly navigate you through them. They even offer a plastic cover to help keep you from getting wet, though you'll want to be ready for a splash or two! Safety is their priority and life jackets are provided to all passengers.

The tour is available from mid-April through mid-November, with the views changing strikingly with the seasons. The trip downstream takes 40 minutes with a 30-minute return by their free shuttle bus (the bus ride itself is only 5-10 minutes). It's the perfect way to take in the natural splendor of the Kinugawa River.

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