Nikko National Park is quickly becoming one of the most visited natural regions in Japan, and for good reason. Thanks to rich history with the most famous Shougun of all time, Iieyasu Tokugawa, intermixed with stunning mountains, waterfalls, and the largest alpine lake in Japan, Lake Chuzenji, Nikko National Park is great choice for those looking to escape the cities.
We particularly love Nikko for the amazing cycling and scenery that can be had, but be ready to climb!
Where is Nikko National Park?
Nikko National Park is a rather large area in northwest Tochigi Prefecture, directly north of Tokyo about 150km. And, although there is a city just east of the park called Nikko City, this is not part of the National Park so don’t get off the train too early! You will take any train that arrives at either Nikko Station or Tobu Nikko Station (just a few minutes walk apart) are the launching point for accessing the National Park.
Fun fact: Well more like confusing fact, Tobu is a private rail company that only has trains that reach the Tobu region (an old name for the general area northwest of Tokyo). (click here to read more!)
Because of this you will find many cities in this area with two stations, a JR station (Japan Rail), and a Tobu station. And of course they both want the same name, so you get funny things like Ashikaga Station and Ashikaga-shi Station (shi means city), or Kiryu, and Shin-Kiryu Station (shin means new). Just a bit confusing 😅
Getting to Nikko National Park By Public Transit | Trains & Buses
Well, like any question about getting somewhere, one must first know where they are coming from. Below is a few quick suggestions on the best ways to get from A to Nikko National Park.
Tokyo to Nikko National Park
Tokyo is massive, and because of that it really depends which part of Tokyo you are coming from to determine the “best” way to get to Nikko National Park.
In general your best bet will be to get to Tobu Asakusa Station and take the Kegon Express Trains that head directly to Nikko on a regular interval.
Here is a sample itinerary on Google Maps for Tokyo to Nikko via Tobu Asakusa Station to Tobu Nikko Station.
Why not just take the bullet train you might ask?
Well, you will spend 2x more on the fare, and have to make a transfer to a local line. The Kegon Express Train is direct, has assigned seats, has toilets, and is plenty comfy for the 2hr journey.
Tokyo Airports to Nikko National Park | Narita & Haneda
Tokyo has two airports Narita and Haneda. Only Narita offers a direct shuttle bus, but the fare is comparable to train fares and it takes nearly an hour longer. The only time I would choose this option is if you have a lot of luggage and do not want to deal with it transferring.
Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Anywhere Else East of Tokyo
For any location west of Tokyo such as Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nagoya, etc you will be coming through Tokyo via the Shinkansen Bullet Trains. Because of this, it will be most convenient to take the bullet train directly from Tokyo station to Utsunomiya Station and then the local line to Nikko Station.
This also applies if you are coming from locations such as Kanazawa, Toyama, Nagano, etc. Really any city with a Shinkansen station (not north of Nikko).
Hokkaido, Sendai, Aomori, Etc
From anywhere north of Nikko you will also be taking the Shinkansen to Utsunomiya Station and then transferring on the local like to Nikko Station. The only exception might be those coming all the way from Hokkaido who might first fly to Narita/Haneda Airport and then transfer.
Read More About Nikko National Park
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