With its lush natural surroundings and cluster of architecturally exquisite religious buildings, the world-renowned heritage site of Nikko is impressive any time of the year. But autumn is when it truly shines, thanks to the changing leaves’ orange, crimson, golden hues, or kouyou in Japanese.
Autumn’s crisp and mild weather also makes it the perfect season to enjoy and explore the richness of Nikko: hiking trails, spectacular waterfalls, serene lakes, and incredible shrines and temples. The four-day NIKKO PASS area is ideal for autumn adventures in Nikko, and you can find out more about Nikko’s autumn attractions here.
Lake Chuzenji and its surroundings
Lake Chuzenji is Japan’s highest natural lake, formed by an eruption of Mount Nantai, which now overlooks the lake. The 25km perimeter of the lake is hilly and richly forested and offers a number of hiking trails, each offering breathtaking views. Hike up sacred Mount Nantai (2,484m) from Futarasan Shrine Chugushi for a panoramic view across the lake, or make your way to Kegon Falls, one of Japan’s greatest waterfalls, and loop around some of the other waterfalls in the area: Yutaki, Kotaki, and Ryuzu.
The Senjogahara moor wetland is another top hiking destination in Nikko; while a little further afield, you’ll find the rugged beauty of Ryuokyo Canyon, named ‘canyon of the dragon king’ for its dramatic beauty. Trails vary in length and difficulty, but there’s something for everybody, and every trail guarantees spectacular autumnal foliage. Make sure to finish up at an onsen to rest tired legs and rejuvenate in geothermally heated spring water.
No visit to Nikko is complete without a visit to the shrines and temples of Nikko, a World Heritage Site renowned as a masterful example of Edo period architecture and traditional Japanese reverence for the spiritual power of nature. These buildings were inscribed on the UN’s World Heritage list partly because of the unique alliance between architecture and the surrounding natural setting.
There is no better time than autumn to experience this harmony. Tosho-gu Shrine is richly decorated in gold leaf and intricate carvings, befitting the great warrior and unifier Tokugawa Ieyasu who is enshrined there. Neighbouring Nikkozan Rinno-ji Temple is ornately carved and gilded, and its Sanbutsudo Hall is a trio of eight-meter tall, gold-lacquered statues. At the same time, Futarasan Shrine is known for its striking Sacred Bridge, a vermillion arch stretching over the Daiya River and serving as a gateway to Nikko.
Nikko pass: No better deal for travel in Nikko
Tobu Railway offers two fantastic passes designed to help you make the most of any trip to Nikko. The4-day NIKKO PASS all area (4,600 yen[20th April–30th November] or 4,230 yen[1st December–19th April]/adult) covers the whole Nikko area, while the 2-day NIKKO PASS world heritage area (2,040 yen/adult) is ideal if you plan to concentrate on the great world heritage sites that Nikko has to offer. Both passes include a round journey from Tokyo, free bus rides in the applicable area, a 20% discount on express train fares, and discounts and offers at shops and restaurants. Passes can be bought online here.
Tobu’s commitment to Covid-19 countermeasures
The Tobu Group is committed to implementing appropriate measures to protect our customers and visitors from the risk of infection. At TOKYO SKYTREE, we’ve introduced a suite of criteria, including enhanced cleaning schedules, masks and other PPE for employees, and temperature checks for visitors on entry.
Visitors are also required to wear masks for the duration of their visit. We’ve also introduced similar measures on our trains, for example, regular disinfection of train interiors and ensuring windows are kept open for better ventilation. Passengers are also requested to wear masks while on our trains. Find out more about measures here.
About Tobu Railway
Tobu Railway is the most extensive private rail system in the Kanto region, with a 463.3km network extending through five prefectures: Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Tochigi, and Gunma. Tobu Railway offers a range of discount passes exclusively for international travellers, purchased online via their English language website.
Tobu Railway also operates Global Website, an English language website providing extensive information about the destinations across its network to inspire and enable visitors to plan their travel in detail.
Tobu Railway is part of the Tobu Group, which operates health clubs, golf courses, theme parks, and hotels. It develops and manages condominiums, housing developments, department stores, and various other properties along its railways and in Tokyo, most notably TOKYO SKYTREE, the world’s tallest tower.