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Visit Nikko In The Fall! An Autumn Day Trip From Tokyo

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October to November is the best time to view the fall foliage in Nikko. We introduce a day trip itinerary to enjoy the fall foliage spots around the city. We recommend enjoying the sights of Nikko by train or bus on this course.

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Popular Sightseeing Autumn-Leaf Viewing Spots in Nikko

When you think of fall in Japan, the first thought that comes to mind are of the autumn leaves. Once it becomes autumn, sightseeing areas in various regions where autumn-leaf viewing is enjoyed are crowded with people.

In this article, we will introduce a one-day tour plan of Nikko’s autumn leaves spots that you can reach in about two hours from Tokyo. The best time to see the autumn leaves in Nikko will vary depending on the location; each location welcomes the autumn leaves from the beginning of October to the end of November.

How does visiting and enjoying the autumn in Nikko sound?

8:00 Setting Out for Nikko from Asakusa

Tobu Line Asakusa Station

From “Don’t Get Lost! Navigating Asakusa’s 4 Stations”.

The quickest way to travel to Nikko from Tokyo is to take the Limited Express SPACIA on the Tobu Nikko Line from Asakusa Station. There are various ways to travel from Tokyo to Nikko, so please read Bus Or Train? How To Travel From Tokyo To Nikko for more details.

10:30 Strolling Around Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Sacred Bridge

Photo courtesy of Nikko City Tourism Association

One of Japan’s most popular sightseeing destinations is Nikko Toshogu Shrine. The view of autumn leaves together with gorgeous architecture is unique to Japan. The nearby sacred bridge of Nikko Futarasan Shrine is especially breathtaking. In the fall, the shrine is lit up in the evening, offering a dreamlike scenery.

There are also excellent dining places around Nikko Toshogu Shrine. As travel time to the next destination is long, it would be best to have lunch here beforehand.

13:30 Enjoy the Ryuzu Falls Surrounded by Autumn Leaves

Ryuzu Falls

Photo courtesy of Nikko City Tourism Association

Ryuzu Falls is a waterfall lake that is separated by large boulders, causing the water flow to be divided into two waterfalls. The sight of the waterfalls, which runs 210m long, surrounded by vivid autumn leaves is very photogenic.

To travel to Ryuzu Falls from Nikko Toshogu Shrine, please use the bus. The fare will be 1300 yen. Take the bus bound for Yumoto Onsen from the Sacred Bridge bus stop and you will arrive at the Ryuzu Falls bus stop in approximately one hour.

14:30 Enjoy Autumn Leaves on a Lake Chuzenji Cruise

Lake Chuzenji Cruise

Photo courtesy of Nikko City Tourism Association

At Lake Chuzenji, you can enjoy a cruise that circles around the entire lake once.

The D Course, which travels to the most scenic sites, is 55 minutes for 1250 yen (plus tax) and is operated in one hour intervals (the last boat is at 15:30). There is also an irregular Autumn Leaf Travel Course (1500 yen plus tax for 60 minutes). If you are interested, please try contacting the company directly about the course. This may be a rare opportunity for you to appreciate mountain autumn leaves from a lake.

Take the bus bound for Nikko to travel to Lake Chuzenji from Ryuzu Falls. It will take approximately ten minutes to Boat Terminal Chuzenji and is 420 yen.

16:30 Autumn Leaves by the Kegon Falls

Kegon Falls

Photo courtesy of Nikko City Tourism Association

After enjoying your cruise, ride the bus bound for Nikko Station for approximately ten minutes once more and you will arrive at the Kegon Falls Entrance. The fare will be 150 yen. Kegon Falls, one of Japan’s Three Great Falls, can be reached up close by using the elevator at the entrance.

The water as it runs without stopping at a height of 97m is stunning. The contrast with the autumn leaves that decorate both ends of the falls also cannot be overlooked.

18:00 Arriving at Tobu Nikko Station

Tobu Nikko Station

From “How To Travel From Asakusa To Nikko”.

Ride the bus once more to travel to Nikko and you will arrive at Tobu Nikko Station in approximately 40 minutes. The fare will be 1150 yen.

Although we have provided the typical travel time required, there will be many tourists during the autumn leaves season so delays have been expected. If you are someone who is worried about difficulties in returning home, it may be best to act on your plans an hour in advance. There are also approximately two buses every hour. Please be careful as missing your bus will result in a huge lag in plans.

Please enjoy the autumn of Nikko gazing at the colorful autumn leaves.

* This article was written based on information from September 2017.

Written by


Miho Moriya


MATCHA editor and freelance writer. Born, raised, and currently living in Tokyo. Have visited over 30 countries and lived in four different prefectures. I have traveled to almost all 47 prefectures in Japan! I try to create articles that help convey the charms of a destination through words and pictures. I love forests, temples, and camels.
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