General information about Nikko


Nikko is approximately 2h00 North from Tokyo. This is then possible to go there as a day trip from Tokyo but I would recommend to stay overnight to enjoy the atmosphere of this little city in the mountain without the crowd.

When to go?

The best period to go there is in Autumn during Momiji. But since it’s high elevation, the period is prior than in Tokyo. Momiji is in Early November around the temples and shrines area and even mid October in the lake area.

How to go?

  • With Japan Railway: Shinkansen from Tokyo station  to Utsunomiya  and then Nikko Line
  • With Tobu Railway: direct train from Asakusa to Nikko 

Where to stay?

  • Shrines and Temples area: Nikko Kanaya Hotel
  • Lake area: Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

There is also the Tobu Pass to enjoy the different sites including the transportation. All the info here 

Shrines and Temples of Nikkō


Nikko has many shrines and temples and the site is UNESCO World Heritage. The main one is Tosho-gu. The best period to capture these temples and shrines with Momiji (colors of autumn) is early November.


Jizo statues

Interesting place to capture also and not very touristy (only the western tourists go there): the river with the eerie jizō (monk) statues. They are referred to as the bake (ghost) Jizō because it is said that if you count them as you are walking down, then again back up, you will have a different number.

Tamozawa Imperial Villa


One of the most beautiful place to see during Momiji. I came there a bit too late to capture the colors perfectly.

Lake Chūzenji and Kegon Falls


Lake Chuzenji is about 30 minutes north of Nikko and 1,400m elevation. Momiji is mid-october there. When I came mid-november, it was already winter with no leaves remaining.

Where to Stay in Nikko?


Nikko Kanaya Hotel


This hotel is just 1 minute walk from the bridge so very well located and it’s also oldest western style resort hotel currently in operation in Japan. There is a lot of history inside this hotel and the French cuisine is very nice and surprising even for a French! 

Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel


This hotel by the lake in the mountains belongs to the same group as Kanaya and provides the same cuisine. There is a great onsen to enjoy in this one which is perfect before going for dinner!