Going on Nikko's Self walking Tour
Nikko is a beautifully peaceful city based in Tochigi a go-to place to view. There are a number of different things and tours you can go on here as there is so much to see. If you’re on a budget, the city has a lot of useful information so you can take a self- walking tour. Here’s all you need to know about the Nikko self walking tour.
Getting to Nikko
Using our JR passes we jumped onto the train to Nikko – we had to take a couple of trains.
The route we took to Nikko – Kanda Station >> Ueno station >> Utsunomiya >> Nikko station. I really appreciate the Japanese train system, it is easy to understand using Google maps and the instructors are helpful.
The JR Pass Facts
- The JR pass is designed for tourist only so you will need to validate the JR pass purchase with your passport
- There are five Tokyo railway lines that you can use with a JR Pass.
- You can purchase your JR pass online before you travel but you’ll then need to pick this up at a main Station.
Nikko city google location
What to do in Nikko options?
There are quite a few things you can do in Nikko. Going on sightseeing busses, visit the beautiful waterfalls up the mountains nearby or even visit the Edo wonderland (aka a ninja theme-park).
We decided on taking the self walking tour as it was something we could take at our own pace. Here’s how you can follow the route too.
You can pick yourself up a map and the tourist office near the exit. All you have to do is sign your name/s and bish-bash-bosh you’re done! and on your way. We also get cute Nikko station badge and some washi tape too.
Nikko self walking tour Map
Starting the Nikko self walking tour
It was a nice relaxing route which is easy to follow. Here are some of the landmarks we came across on the self walking tour in Nikko.
15mins into our Nikko walk, we reached the Shinkyo Bridge. This is one of the most the iconic bridge in Japan and sits on top of the Daiya River. Its a registered as a UNESCO world Heritage site. This explains the restricted access to the general public to walk along the bridge. You can make a donation to walk across but we were happy just taking pictures of the bridge along the road. As you can see, the bold red beautifully contrasts with the trees is the distance. This was probably the busiest landmarks on our walking tour of Nikko.
We continued our riverside walk, crossed a bridge we shouldn’t have and transitioned to the park/forest path. We enjoyed the peaceful quiet stroll for a few hours, taking our time to really enjoy nature. At the same time gathering steps for Pokemon go.
Kanmangafuchi Abyss – Jiunji Hondo Temple
To my surprised, after the hiking through the forests (which felt never ending) we came across a Monk’s hut. This was accompanied by the sounds of streams of water and to the Abyss. On the right, we were met with our first view of the Kanmangafuchi Abyss and looking over the river. On the left, were a row of about 70 Jizo stone statues. The Jizo Statues are paired with a red cloth bib and cap as you can see.
There is alot of information on the history of the temple on the plaques near by. Top Tip: There are a few difficult and muddy paths so I would recommend trainers and sturdy footwear.
Nukazuka Inari Shrine
Following the trail, we reached the Nukazuka Inari Shrine. This shrine is on the smaller side of the previous shrines but nonetheless it was peaceful.
The Dainichi Bridge the led us to a residential area until we reached the main road.
Nikko Futarasan jinja
The route to the heart of Nikko where the Futarasan jinja of Shinto shrine sits was pretty steep. There are two huge trees which stood side by side at the shrine. The trees are meant to represent a blessings for good relationships and marriage.
Toshogu Gojunoto (Five story pagoda)
By the time we arrived at the Toshogu Gojunoto (Five story pagoda) it was quite late. Most of the temples were closing meaning it was quite dark. We still managed to get nice shots of the Toshogu Gojunoto.
To complete the Nikko self walking tour, we arrive back full circle to the Shinkyo Bridge and managed to take a few night shots of the bridge lit up.
On or way back to the station we found some dessert at the Nikko Pudding Tei Store. Basically the only store that was open at the time. They offered a range of custard puddings in all different flavours. But because we were in a queue and by the time we went to order all the other puddings had sold out and the only remaining dessert we were able to get was an ice-cream. Funnily enough the ice cream was amazing in comparison to the custard. I still have the glass pudding holder till this day.
Overall I believe it was a 5km walk but we took our time and enjoyed the stroll, got lost and ultimately took us over 3/4 hours. That pretty much ends our day in Nikko, a trip more on the spontaneous side but nonetheless very eventful.