How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa.

Nikko Toshogu shrine is one of the high lights in Nikko.
Nikko Toshogu shrine is one of the high lights in Nikko.

Nikko is one of the popular destinations from Tokyo. You can visit there as day trip. Of course if you stay there, you can visit many places in outside of Nikko city and also can enjoy hot springs in Kinugawa Onsen too.

I have written about access to Nikko by JR Pass before. At that time, I did not expect travellers who want to use other than JR Pass. But since I opened this website, I found many of you are looking for other ways or deals other than JR Pass

There are several ways to get Nikko by train. In this post,I will show you how to get there and compare a few deals.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Route map

Please see the map below:

Nikko access map (click to enlarge)
Nikko access map (click to enlarge)

As you see the map above, there are three ways to get Nikko.

Shinkansen + JR Nikko line — average trip time 2 hours (includes 1 transfer at Utsunomiya)
Limited Express “Nikko” from Shinjuku — average trip time 2 hours (direct access)
Tobu Railway Limited Express “Kegon” from Asakusa — average trip time 2 hours (direct access)

Trip time is not much different among these choices. But you have to transfer at Utsunomiya station to take Shinkansen + Nikko line route.

Tohoku Shinkansen and JR Nikko line route

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If you use JR Pass to visit Nikko, this route is only way that is fully covered by JR Pass. Please see the post below:

How to access to Nikko. Learn about how to get Nikko by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge.

JR East Pass and Kanto Area Pass cover this route fully too. But direct train to Nikko from Shinjuku is available for these passes too. Please see the next chapter.

JR/Tobu Limited Express Nikko from Shinjuku

Refurbished 253 series will be used for Nikko and Kinugawa
Refurbished 253 series will be used for Nikko and Kinugawa

Both JR East and Tobu Railway operate direct train service “Nikko” from Shinjuku to Nikko and “Kinugawa” to Kinugawa Onsen. This train runs on JR East line and Tobu Railway line. So JR Pass does not cover this train fully. It covers between Shinjuku and Omiya only. But both JR East Pass and Kanto Area Pass covers this train fully even though this train runs on non JR line.

Please see the post below to get the details about this train.

Direct access to Nikko from Shinjuku, Limited Express Nikko and Kinugawa

You can find out the timetable at JR East official site.

Tobu Limited Express Spacia Kegon from Asakusa

Limited Express Kegon and Kinu are operated by 100 series. Actually this fleet is much better than JR 253 series.
Limited Express Kegon and Kinu are operated by 100 series. Actually this fleet is much better than JR 253 series.

Tobu Railway is more popular to visit Nikko for local tourists. Tobu Railway’s terminal station is Asakusa. Asakusa is not very convenient place for everybody. But trains run more frequently, especially to Kinugawa Onsen.

If you use Tobu Railway, you can use some Tobu Railway’s deals, 2 day Nikko Pass, Kinugawa Theme Park pass and All Nikko Pass.

Tobu Railway’s Pass site

Especially 2 day Nikko Pass at 2670 yen is cheaper than round trip fare from Asakusa to Nikko at 2720 yen. This pass includes local bus in Nikko too. If you go to Nikko as day trip, this pass is still cheaper.

I mentioned only limited express train service above. But Tobu Railway operates Rapid Train service too. These above deals do not include limited express surcharge. But you can take Rapid train service without any extra on the pass.

The interior of Rapid train. It is not luxury but good enough for a few hours trip.
The interior of Rapid train. It is not luxury but good enough for a few hours trip.

If you take Rapid train, trip time is 2 hours 15 minutes to get Nikko. It is not much different from limited express.

You can find the timetable for both limited express and rapid at the link below:

Tobu Railway’s timetable

Nikko stations

Tobu-Nikko station
Tobu-Nikko station

In Nikko, Tobu-Nikko station is the core place. JR Nikko station is a few minutes away from Tobu-Nikko station. Most of bus services stop at both stations. Please see my post to see more about Nikko stations.

Trip to Aizu, Nikko and Hakone in 2014 winter – Part 10, sightseeing in Nikko

64 thoughts on “How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa.”

  1. Hi,

    I am wondering about the most affordable way to get around Japan. I will be there for three weeks and plan to visit these cities:
    -Tokyo
    -Nikko
    -Hakone
    -Matsumoto
    -Kanazawa
    -Shirakawa-go
    -Takayama
    -Kyoto
    -Hiroshima
    -Nara

    Then back to Tokyo for my flight. Would advice buying individual train passes to each city or a 7 day JR pass? Thank you for your valuable time and hope to hear back.

    -Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      It depends on how you spend your time at each cities. But I don’t think 7 days is enough to cover cities other than Tokyo, Hakone and Nikko. There are lots of deals for Tokyo, Hakone and Nikko. But you have to use JR pass for other places. If you can make remaining places in 7 days, 7 days pass is a good deal. But in my opinion, 7 days is too short. 14 days pass is still cheaper than regular fare to visit these cities. You don’t need to include Hakone but Nikko can be accessed by JR pass. You can save your cost if you can include Nikko in 14 days period.

      At this point, your itinerary has not been fixed yet. I recommend you to build the detailed itinerary first. And then you can pick the deal that is most suitable for your trip.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hello,

    I am actually pondering on how should I spend my days in Tokyo. It is a total of 6 days, excluding the last day since I am taking plane on 10am. I reach Tokyo Narita around 7.30am morning, so there’s some time for me to go other district for a visit. And I am going with my girlfriend.

    My current itinerary are as follow;
    Day 1 – Shinjuku & Shibuya ku (Shibuya crossing, Hachiko,
    Day 2 – Lake Kawaguchi (Mt Fuji view)
    Day 3 – Nikko (See snow, no plans on here yet since it was just added into itinerary)
    Day 4 – Kamakura & Enoshima (Some temple visit and shopping)
    Day 5 – DisneySea
    Day 6 – Tsukiji Market, Akibahara, Ueno Park, Sensoji, Tokyo Skytree (Last day walkabout)

    I would like to ask if I were to stick with this itinerary, is JR Wide Pass is the best option for me? As I know Wide Pass can cover a partial of my trip to Lake Kawaguchi, Nikko and Kamakura area. Thinking of getting 72 hour pass.

    Day 2 and 3, any recommendation places to go after Nikko and Lake Kawaguchi? I don’t think I will be spending whole day there, probably will be back before 5pm – 7pm. Any idea where I can visit?

    Days that I do not need pass is Day 5, Day 1 and Day 6 since I going to spend whole day there, figured no point of having day pass on that day. The first and last day I am planning to get Pasmo/Suica card to walk around Ginza and Shinjuku/Shibuya area. I am staying in Shinjuku area.

    Budget wise, I already have ¥110,000 for transport and food, exclude DisneySea entrance ticket. Is it enough?

    Any suggestions for me to refine my itinerary?

    1. Hi Darren,

      You may use Tokyo Wide Pass for day 2 to 4 as you think. For arrival and departure day, I recommend you to use NEX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket.
      http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/nex_round.html

      Narita Express is most reliable way to get Shinjuku from Narita. You can take Narita Express to Narita from Shinjuku on departure day too.

      Pasmo or Suica is okay but Tokyo Subway Ticket is very good deal too. It gives you unlimited subway ride for 24 hours.
      http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/travel/index.html

      Yokohama and Kawagoe are very accessible from Tokyo. Yokohama is okay to visit after dusk.
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2156.html
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6500.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    Sorry for being confused. Does this mean that I use the Tokyo Wide Pass for the Tobu Ltd express trains on either Asakusa or Shinjuku station to Tobu-Nikko/JR Nikko station without any additional cost? Or do I need to pay additional fees? Also, do I have to reserve a train seat and is this free with the pass? Thanks

    1. Hi Kaytee,

      Tokyo Wide Pass covers Tobu Limited Express train from Shinjuku only. It does not cover the trip from Asakusa.
      Reservation is not required but recommended. The pass covers reserved seat fee. Please see the link below about the difference between reserved and non reserved.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/reserved-seat-vs-non-reserved-seat-how-to-get-a-seat-on-non-reserved-car.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    Can you advise me on the local buses in Nikko? I will be spending most of the time taking the local buses to the attractions. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find information online on the local bus services from the Nikko-Kinugawa line to the various attractions in central Nikko. I realised that Nikko is divided into Tobu-Nikko and Nikko-Kinugawa and it seems that all the local buses operate to the attractions via the main Tobu Nikko station. Are there local buses from the Nikko-Kinugawa line to central Nikko?

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