Day 3 – Nikko
We stepped out of Chisun Inn Asakusa hoteland a quick walk of 10-minutes brought us to Asakusa station for our train departing at 6:20am. The Tobu Skytree Line (Section Rapid) takes about two hours to reach Tobu-Nikko station, stopping at a few stations on the way. Return ticket is ¥1,320 per person, one way.
Since we were visiting Nikko for one day only and the last train heading back to Tokyo was at 5:36pm teaching Tokyo Asakusa station at 7:40pm, we couldn’t have visited all the sights this glorious town has to offer. Which made us restrict ourselves to visit only a few of them in one day.
After exiting the train station, we headed to the bus stop to catch the 9:00am bus #2A towards Yumoto Onsen. If you have a JR pass then this bus is covered in the pass, else the ticket costs ¥1,350 for one-way ride.
We decided to visit Ryuzu Falls first.
It was a one hour bus ride from the Tobu-Nikko station to Ruyzu-no-taki bus stop, and another two minutes walk from the bus stop to the falls. Located upside of the Yugawa River which makes its way into Lake Yunoko and Lake Chuzenji, Ryûzu fall has a very unique shape. The name, Ryuzu, can be translated as “Dragon’s Head’, and is so named because its twin falls are said to resemble a dragon’s head. The total height of the falls is 60 meters (197 feet).
[Fall colors on the road leading to Ryuzu Falls]
[Ryuzu Falls signboard]
[Road outside the falls area. The bus stop is on the right]
[Shrine at Ryuzu Falls]
[Bridge over Yugawa River near Ryuzu Falls]
[Shrine at Ryuzu Falls]
We walked back to the bus stop in the direction of Nikko station and stopped at Chuzenjiko Onsen bus stop. Just outside the trail leading to the falls, there are shops and restaurants for refreshments.
This is one of Japan’s three most famous waterfalls. The waters falling 97 meters from a sharp precipice into the river below are exhilarating to see. Follow the signs to the staircase going down to an elevator (costs ¥550), which eventually leads you to the platform where you can view the Kegon Falls.
[Signboard for the entrance to Kegon Falls]
[Shops selling ice-cream]
[Shops selling ice-cream]
[Informational board of Kegon Falls before entering the elevator]
[Pathway leading to the viewing platform]
From Kegon Waterfalls, it’s a five-seven minute walk to the high-elevation lake created 20,000 years ago by the eruption of Mt. Nantai.
Lake Chūzenji Located at an elevation of 1,269 meters, this is one of Japan’s most famous lakes. We walked on the boardwalk for a while enjoying the fall colors. Pleasure boats allow you to enjoy the lake up close.
It was afternoon by the time we finished walking along the boardwalk of Lake Chūzenji, so we jumped on the next bus towards Tobu-Nikko station and got off at Shinkyo Bridge bus stop, from where we walked for about 10 minutes uphill to reach this World Heritage site – Tosho-gu Shrine
This shrine is the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the long-reigning Tokugawa shogunate. Yomei-mon Gate, one of Japan’s most magnificent national treasures, is especially breathtaking in winter because sunlight reflected by the snow shows all of the stunning woodwork’s exquisite detail.
Features such as the upside-down pattern on one of Yomei-mon’s pillars (called the “upside-down pillar that wards off evil spirits”) and the different pattern of the topmost level of the shrine’s pagoda reflect the Japanese belief that anything that is completed immediately begins getting old: These features make the shrine unfinished and therefore ageless.
Costs – ¥1,300 for adults, ¥450 for elementary and middle-school students.
Right next to Tosho-gu shrine is this temple with three “gohonzon” shrines to which the faithful come to pray for the welfare of their families and the safety of the nation. The building’s 25-meter-tall pillars are each made from a single tree and coated with over 30 layers of lacquer.
Costs ¥400 for adults.
By the time we finished Rinno-ji Temple, it was almost 4pm and we had two options to reach the train station for our 5:26pm train back to Tokyo – 1) take the bus which would take us back in 10 minutes; or 2) walk for about 40 minutes to the station. Having a few extra minutes in hand we decided to walk back to the station.
Right outside the shrine and temple is the most gorgeous sight of Nikko – Shinkyo Bridge.
Considered one of the three most unique bridges in all Japan, the Shinkyo Bridge is also a registered World Heritage site. According to legend, in ancient times the benevolent god Jinsha first made a bridge here with two giant snakes—one red, one green—to ferry pilgrimaging monks across the gorge.
After walking through the town we reached the train station and in two hours we were back to Tokyo. Headed back to the hotel and after freshening up, we decided to have some Indian cuisine at the restaurant right next to our hotel as we were too tired to walk around.
[Asakusa Station, Tokyo]
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = JPY 100. Each cost is for one adult.
|Chisun Inn Asakusa||$75.00||$75 per person, per night|
|Tobu-Nikko Train||$26.40||¥2,640. Two way.|
|Kegon Falls||$5.50||¥550 per person|
|Lunch at Nikko||$9.80||¥980, per person.|
|Souvenir||$5.50||¥550. Fridge magnets|
|Tosho-gu Shrine||$13||¥1,300 per person|
|Rinno-ji Temple||$4||¥400 per person|
|Dinner||$16.70||¥1,670 per person|
|Water & snacks||$14.80||¥1,480. Coffee, biscuits, water|
|Total Costs||$170.70||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$1,522.50||Per person|