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.
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!
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!