Nikko 日光

  • Published on : 03/10/2023
  • by : La rédaction / JR

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Nikko Travel Guide and tour of its religious complex

Unmissable and unforgettable, the city of Nikko combines Unesco World Heritage gems, Buddhist temples, mausoleums and Shinto shrines with the sublime natural sites and landscapes characteristic of Tochigi prefecture. Take a day trip to Nikko National Park and its immense forests, to soak up Japanese spirituality, just a stone's throw from Tokyo.

Nikko, the city of sunlight

Nikkô is located 140 km north of Tokyo, in Tochigi prefecture. Its name means "Sunlight". This ancient city was built at the foot of the mountains, and lies at the heart of Nikko National Park, home to vast cedar forests. The area surrounding the city is a popular day-trip for Japanese and international travelers alike, as it hides many major sights, including Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, which have been Unesco World Heritage Sites since 1999.

Nestled in a green setting, these religious complexes are a must-have on any visit to Japan. Nikko, and Tochigi Prefecture in general, boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in Japan. As the Japanese saying goes: "Do not say "magnificent" before having seen Nikko" ( Nikkō o mizushite kekkō toiū nakare).

Explore Nikko

We then take the path leading to the left to enter what was the Buddhist heart of the first Nikkô and visit the Rinnô-ji temple, founded by the monk Shôdô Shônin and known for its "hall of the three Buddhas", but also for its splendid Shōyō-en garden. The curious minds can also examine the objects of worship (mandalas, bells) preserved in the Treasury Museum (opposite the temple).

Behind the temple, the Tôshô-gu marks the second period of Nikkô: it is the burial place of Tokugawa Ieyasu. This shrine, richly decorated with Chinese influences, required the participation of 15,000 men during its construction between 1634 and 1636. With its gilding and vibrant colors, it is considered one of the finest examples of Momoyama architecture.


La porte Yomeimon, la plus connue du Tosho-gu

Flickr xiquinhosilva


Le mausolée de Ieyasu Tokugawa

Wikimedia Commons


The main hall, Sanbutsudo of Rinnô-ji.


Les trois singes de la sagesse, gravés dans le bois du fronton de l'écurie du Tosho-gu, font partie des symboles de Nikko.

Symboles de Nikko, les trois singes de la sagesse, gravés dans le bois du fronton de l'écurie du Tosho-gu


More than a historic getaway to discover the magnificent Toshogu Shrine or Rinno-ji Temple, a trip to Tochigi Prefecture is a unique opportunity to discover transformative travel. Japan, with its deeply spiritual and tradition-rooted society, is the ideal place to rediscover who you are and reconnect with yourself, and give yourself new meaning. Through encounters, immersion, tranquility in the heart of nature and spontaneous exploration, transformative travel aims to make people travel with a purpose, a meaning: to return changed, with a new perspective on the world and your environment. Tochigi Prefecture will accompany you on this transformative travel experience, with recommended itineraries designed to help you find sense in your journey.

kirifurino falls nikko tochigi prefecture

Kirifurino Falls, Nikko, Tochigi prefecture.

© Pratik Bisht, Unsplash

tochigi waterfalls nikko nature landscape

© Aki Nakazawa, Unsplash

shinkyo red sacred bridge nikko tochigi

Shinkyo sacred bridge in Nikko, Tochigi.

© Deepavali Gaind, Unsplash

Head for Tochigi with the Spacia X train

To get to Nikko and Tochigi prefecture, you can also take one of Japan's newest train lines, aboard the brand-new Spacia X train! Departing from Tokyo's Asakusa station and heading for Tobu-Nikko and Kinugawa-onsen stations, this new Tobu Railway line features a luxurious and spacious limited express train, running from Tokyo to Nikko in 1h50. A dream getaway, with comfortable seats, premium sofas and lounges, and a chic café on board. The Goen Café Spacia X serves food and beverages from Nikko, and will only be accessible to passengers in the premium car where the café is located, or to holders of a pre-booked café ticket. In this premium car, the Cockpit Lounge, the interior is inspired by the sublime Nikko Kanaya Hotel, and offers views of the surrounding landscape through its huge windows. Inside and out, Spacia X salutes Japanese heritage, with reminders of the craftsmanship and decoration of the Edo period.

spacia x train tokyo nikko tochigi tobu railway day trip

Spacia X train between Tokyo and Nikko

© Nyohoho on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Our activities in Nikko

  • Duration : 4 hour
  • Location : Nikko
  • Duration : 7 hour
  • Location : Nikko
Discover all our activities in Nikko (2)

Our tours in Nikko

  • Duration : 18 days
  • Locations : Kyoto, Tokyo, Nikko, Sendai, Tohoku, Aomori
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Japan Experience house, Non-flight transportation, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance
  • Duration : 3 days
  • Locations : Nikko
  • Included : 3* Hotels, Spiritual retreat, Activities, Mountainous landscape, Natural lakes, Nature
  • Duration : 14 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Nikko, Nagano, Kanazawa, Kyoto
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Non-flight transportation, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance
  • Duration : 14 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Nara, Ise, Osaka
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Japan Experience house, Non-flight transportation, Guided activities, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance
See all our Tours (4)