Updated: November 07, 2018
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Best Time to Visit Nikko is Autumn!

Nikko is popular to visit during fall. Wondering what to do when you arrive there? Here is a list of when will be the best time for autumn leaf viewing (紅葉) and where to visit in Nikko.

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Autumn in Nikko

Nikko is located in Tochigi Prefecture. From Tokyo, you can choose to have a day-trip for a weekend getaway or an overnight adventure to explore more of Nikko. There are a few ways to get to Nikko other than driving up north such as local trains (Tobu Railway) or the bullet train (for JR Pass/JR Tokyo Wide Pass holders). Local trains got to Nikko from Asakusa station or Ikebukuro Station for an approximate 2 hours ride without interchange. It is also advised to grab the discount pass to save up some cost and entitlements for some discounts at the local stores. "NIKKO PASS world heritage area" costs 2,000 yen for adults and 600 yen for children with a 2-days validity period. Whereas, "NIKKO PASS all area" covers more area and costs 4,520 yen for adults and 1,150 yen for children with a 4-days validity period. Click on the button below for more information related to the area coverage of the passes.

*note that "Nikko Pass all area" has different prices for adults and children during the winter season. 4,150 yen for adults and 1,040 yen for children from December 1st to April 19th.

Autumn Leaves Spots 2018


Early Season

Odashirogahara Marshland (Turns to reddish colored marshland grass): Late September to Mid October
Ryuzu Falls: Early to Mid October
Yuno Lake: Early to Mid October

Mid Season

Senjogahara Marshland (Turns to Reddish colored marshland grass): Mid to Late October
Yudaki Waterfall: Mid to Late October
Lake Chuzenji: Mid to Late October

Late Season

Irohazaka Winding Road: Mid October to Early November
Kirifuri Falls: Late October to Early November
Nikko World Heritage Shrines and Temples: Early to Late November

Picturesque Scenery

Lake Chuzenji

Lake Chuzenji and Mount Nantai are located in the same place. The spot has one of the best autumn views without the crowds. A 25km-around lake hiking course is also available for hikers to embrace the nature with autumn leaves. It is said the lake was an international summer resort as there are villas owned by foreigners and embassies built from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Swan Boat Race on the 5th of September every year. The event is for the blessing and safety of Lake Chuzenji during the Water God Festival. Everyone is welcome to sign up for the race.

Kegon Falls

This fall is among the three great falls of Japan with a height of 97m. No way to miss this Nikko waterfall upon visiting. There is a fee charged for the observatory platform to have a close look of the basin of falls. You might have the chance to see the double rainbows.

Shrines and Temples

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Nikko Futarasan-Jinja (Shrine) and Nikkosan Rinno-Ji (Temple) are also must-see things in Nikko. The Nikko Toshogu Shrine was enshrined by the first shogun of the Edo bakufu (shogunate), Tokugawa Ieyasu. The height national treasures and 34 important cultural properties are the gold nuggets inside the shrine. You will be astonished by the great craftsmanship of the olden days.
Nikko Toshogu Shrine Autumn Grand Festival held on 16th and 17th of October every year. It attracts many people because of various rituals such as the “Hyakumonozoroe Sennin Musha Gyoretsu” (百物揃千人武者行列) and the yabusame ritual (神事流鏑馬). “Hyakumonozoroe Sennin Musha Gyoretsu” (百物揃千人武者行列) is a parade of 1000 people in samurai warriors outfits. Yabusame ritual simply means horseback archery in which the riders shoot targets with arrows while riding on a horse.

Shinkyo Bridge

This bright red wooden bridge is the entrance to the holy mountains. It belongs to the Nikko Futarasan Shrine, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge you see now was rebuilt in 1904 as the original bridge was washed away by a flood in 1902. The river below is named the Daiya River.

Grilled Fishes

Do not leave the town without trying the freshwater fish delicacy that is caught fresh from Nikko's rivers. The fishes are broiled with only salt and it tastes heavenly. You can see it in many places.
Do not worry about the fish scales, because the fish is well cleaned and prepared before it is broiled.


Here's where you can grab a lunch in Nikko.
Coffee addict. Often hangs around with friends and family for great foods, desserts and cafes.

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