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Tour of the world heritage sites in Nikko

2 nights, 3 days

Tour of the world heritage sites in Nikko

Nikko, a world heritage city, is 2 hours from Tokyo. In ancient times, people considered the mountains to be gods, and this trip is arranged so that you can also enjoy the mysteries of nature to the full.

1st day
Arrival at Tobu Nikko Station
Go to Tobu Nikko Station on the special express from Asakusa Station on the Tobu Line or JR Shinjuku Station (approx. 1 hour 50 minutes).
A while after the train crosses the Sumida-gawa River, you leave Tokyo and begin to see rural scenery from the train window. As the name implies, the flat land of the Kanto Plain spreads out as far as the eye can see.

Why not take a short break while enjoying the shopping area. You can get pamphlets, etc. at the Nikko Kyodo Center (15-minute walk from the station). If you want to get started and see some world heritage right away, you could go to the Rinnoji Temple (5 minutes by bus).

Tour of Rinnoji Temple
This ancient temple was built in 766 in honor of the three mountain gods of Nikko. The San-butsudo is where you will find 3 statues of Buddha enshrined and a beautiful garden. Allow about 1 hour for a tour of the temple.

Traveling on foot. There are teahouses along the way.

Tour of Toshogu Shrine
This shrine is dedicated to Ieyasu Tokugawa, a shogun of the Edo period who laid the foundations for Tokyo. There are 55 structures within the precincts of the shrine including national treasures such as the "Yomei-mon Gate" built by utilizing all the skills of industrial art in the Edo period. Allow about 1.5 hours for a tour of the shrine.

Tour of Futara-san-jinja Shrine
There are many huge trees and garden lanterns on the premises, which creates an atmosphere of mystery. The water springing from the fountain at the far back is said to have mystical properties bestowed by the gods. At the resting place beside the fountain, you can drink matcha or green powdered tea made with this water. Allow 30 minutes for a tour of the shrine.

Tour of Iemitsu-byo Taiyu-in Temple
This temple is dedicated to Iemitsu Tokugawa, a shogun of the Edo period. Take some time to appreciate the elaborate sculptures with their base colors of black and gold. Allow 1 hour for a tour of the temple.

After visiting those shrines and temples, take the bus going towards "Chuzenji Onsen" Hot Spring. The bus climbs up the "iroha zaka" slope, so let's enjoy the beautiful mountain view at twilight in Nikko.

"Chuzenji Lake", the highest natural lake in Japan, has been used as a summer resort for foreign visitors since around the 19th century. Around the lake there are still resort villas owned by the French or Belgian Embassies. Try a relaxing soak at a spa in a lakeside hotel.

Check in at a hotel or Ryokan.

*Photo (C) TOCHIGI Prefectural Government, Tokyo Office

2nd day
Tour of "Nikko Natural Science Museum" and "Kegon-no-taki Falls"
*After checking out
Take the bus to "Akechi-daira" bus stop. Take the ropeway to the observation deck.

Take the bus again and get off at the last stop, "Chuzenji Onsen".
Round-trip boat tour of the lake
After studying the nature and history of Nikko at the Tochigi prefectural "Nikko Natural Science Museum", which is a short walk from the bus stop, a 5-minute walk brings you to Kegon-no-taki Falls. This is a magnificent waterfall counted among the three best falls in Japan. You can take a 100-m-elevator ride down to get a closer view of the falls (total tour time: 2 hours).

Walk about 15 minutes, have lunch and then go to the "Chuzenji" boat station. You can enjoy the beautiful lake scenery by pleasure boat (the service is available from April to November).

Tour of "Ryuzu-no-taki" Falls
Get off the boat at Shobuga-hama and go to the Dragonhead or Ryuzu-no-taki Falls. The water rushing down over the 210-m stepped rocky stretch is separated into two falls exactly like the whiskers of a dragon.

We recommend buying an "ekiben" (packed lunch) at Nikko Station to eat on the train.

Check in at a hotel in Tokyo.

*Photo (C) TOCHIGI Prefectural Government, Tokyo Office

Go to Tobu Nikko Station from the Ryuzu-no-taki bus stop (approx. 1 hour).

To Asakusa or Shinjuku by Tobu special express.

3rd day
In the morning: Tour of Tsukiji Jou-gai Shijo
5-minute walk from Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line or from Tsukiji Shijou Station on the Toei Oedo Line
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market represents the typical wholesale market of Japan, running 24 hours a day. The general consumer is not allowed to shop there, but you are welcome to visit. On the other hand, there are 300 shops in the Jou-gai or Off-market, where anyone can not only buy but also dine on sashimi, sushi or tempura made with fresh ingredients on the spot. Most of the shops are open from early morning till around noon. Note that shops are closed on Sundays and national holidays.

Go to Ryogoku Station from Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Toei Oedo Line (12 minutes).The Oedo Line is a relatively new subway line in Tokyo that opened in 2000.

Tour of "Edo-Tokyo Museum" in Ryogoku
In this very spacious museum, you can explore the history and folklore of Tokyo from the Edo period till present day.

Ryogoku Kokugikan, the venue for the famous Grand Sumo Tournament, is located here.

Of the 6 tournaments held each year, the January, May and September tournaments take place at the Kokugikan venue. A visit to the "Sumo Museum" on the 1st floor is highly recommended.

There are many sumo practice stables around Kokugikan, so there is a chance that you might see sumo wrestlers out and about. There are also many restaurants where you can try the sumo wrestler's staple meal called "chanko", which is a one-pot stew made with broth, meat, fish and vegetables. Sumo wrestlers consume many helpings of chanko in order to put on weight and build up strength.

Go to Akihabara Station from JR Ryogoku Station on the Sobu Line (4 minutes).

Shopping in Akihabara
You can enjoy shopping for electrical products or animation goods at Akihabara.

Round-trip tour of the Imperial Palace by double-decker bus
Enjoy a round-trip tour of the Imperial Palace, Ginza and Marunouchi on the double-decker open-top bus "Sky Bus Tokyo", which departs at 18:00 (45-minute trip). If you have extra time, why not enjoy the night view on the "Rainbow Bridge/Odaiba Trip" (2-hour round trip). Tour commentary is available in English, Korean and Chinese.

Night in Roppongi
Tokyo is known as a city that never sleeps, and there are many discos and bars for foreign visitors, particularly in Roppongi. On the 53rd floor of the huge "Roppongi Hills Mori Tower" is the Mori Art Museum, open till 10:00 p.m. except for Tuesday and on the 52nd floor is the observation deck, Tokyo City View open till 1:00 a.m. There is also a movie theater that stays open till late at night on weekends in Roppongi Hills, so you can relax and enjoy a movie after dinner.

*Photo (C) Roppongi Hills