Nikko is a mountain town that lies to the north of Tokyo and is famed for lavishly decorated shrines and scenic countryside. As it’s only a short train ride from Tokyo we took a day to pop across and see what Nikko had to offer.
Arriving at the main train station it is only a 20 minute walk up to the main shrine area. On this walk, the first sight that you will come across is the Shinkyo Bridge, considered to be in the top three of bridges in Japan. Now that is quite a claim! I actually preferred the bridge we used to cross the river which is part of highway 119, this bridge is free to cross and provides an excellent vantage point for photos of the Shinkyo Bridge. Highway 119 Bridge, 2 – Shinkyo Bridge, 0.
From here it is a small climb up to the shrines which you can spend hours walking around enjoying the beauty of the traditional Japanese architecture. We won’t go into the history of the shrines (that can be found here), but below are some photos to enjoy. Unfortunately, thanks to the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics a number of the major shrines were undergoing restoration and were covered from view 😢
On our way back to the station we randomly noticed a driveway with a sharp incline. Hoping for a good view of the city we ventured up. To our surprise, at the top of the driveway were steps to take you further up the hill. We climbed these and found a small shrine area and graveyard which boasted an superb view. Good find.
Nikko was a great day trip from Tokyo. It is so convenient (and free train there with a JR Pass) that it’s definitely worth doing and if you have more time you could easily spend a few days there hiking the Japanese countryside…maybe next time for us.