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

Nikko Toshogu shrine is one of the highlights in Nikko.
Nikko Toshogu shrine is one of the highlights in Nikko.

Nikko (日光) is very popular destination for the tourist from the foreign countries because it is World Heritage site. You can see lots of very historical temples and shrines.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.
Take Tohoku Shinkanse from Tokyo or Ueno to Utsunomiya.
Take Tohoku Shinkanse from Tokyo or Ueno to Utsunomiya.

You can get Nikko by Japan Rail Pass. If you access there from Tokyo, take Tohoku Shinkansen to get Utsunomiya. “Hayate” does not stop at Utusnomiya station. Take “Yamabiko” or “Nasuno” to get Utsunomiya.

You need to take the local train on Nikko line.
You need to take the local train on Nikko line.

You will transfer to Nikko line at Utsunomiya station. After you get off Shinkansen, move to platform #5. Mostly the train to Nikko depart there. Nikko is the last station. It takes about 40 minutes from Utsunomiya to Nikko.

If you need more info about transfer at Utsunonmiya, please see the post, Utsunomiya station guide. How to transfer to Nikko train.

This is the typical interior of the local train.
This is the typical interior of the local train.

Nikko line is used for not sightseeing but commuting. We do not have the luxury express train. You need to get the local train. And also these trains are not operated very often. We have 24 round trips a day. We mostly have once train a hour. Please check the time table before you go.

View Nikko Line in a larger map

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Turtle Inn Nikko Tochigi Foreign traveller friendly Guesthouse
Annex Turtle Hotori-An-Hotel Tochigi Foreign traveller friendly Guesthouse

23 thoughts on “How to access to Nikko. Learn about how to get Nikko by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge.”

  1. Hi, what a fantastic and informative site! I have some questions I hope you can help. I have a JR 7 day Pass and I intend to use it to go from Narita to Nikko via Tokyo/Ueno – Utsunomiya. Do I need to reserve seats on the Yamabiko Shinkansen or can I just enter it and sit anywhere? If I need to reserve seats, how do I go about doing so?

    For the return leg, Nikko to Tokyo with the JR Pass, are there trains in the late evenings around 7pm? I checked hyperdia but am not sure how accurate that is. Since I travel on weekday, I worry about rush hour crowded trains so prefer to travel later in the evening and spend the day exploring Nikko, I will be in nikko for 2 days 1 night. Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Joo,

      You can take a seat in non reserved seat car anytime. But JR Pass covers reserved seat fare. I recommend you to book all trains that you will take.

      You can book it when you exchange JR pass. I think you will exchange it at Narita. You can complete all bookings for trains when you stay in Japan if you want. I usually do it when I use JR Pass.

      Both Nikko line and Shinkansen runs until around 22:00. In Tokyo, train runs between 5:30 to midnight.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Hi Mr Takeshi, im a bit confuse the train system whether should i buy the “JR 7 day travel pass” or i should just buy “All Nikko Pass”? Im going visit my friend in Tokyo for 9 days, and in between I plan to stay at Nikko for 3 days 2night by myself. My plan as below;

    Journey start from 22 March – 30 March.
    22 March – 25 March – Tokyo
    25 March – 27 March – Nikko (3days 2night)
    27 March – 30 March – Tokyo

    Since, i will be around at Nikko for 3 days, i assume that “All Nikko Pass” is useful to travel around Nikko, but the problem is im not that sure the transportation’s fees around Tokyo. What should i do?

      1. Thanks ^^, I will arrive at Haneda Airport. So I might just get the Tokyo Subway 3-Day Ticket for my first 3 days in Tokyo (
        ) and All Nikko Pass when im at Nikko, and i will just continue pay single fees for the rest of my time at Tokyo.

        By the way, it seem some temple and shrines is not include in All Nikko Pass but i don’t mind pay for the entrances fees. Any recommend places that is a “must go” when im at Nikko?

        PS: I know my question is out of topic, but it will help people like me that travel to the places alone XD. Thanks in advance ^^

  3. Hi
    We will be skiing in the Nagano area in Jan 2015.. How do we best get from Shiga Kogen to Nikko by bus or train?
    Thank you

  4. Hi. My family plan to visit NIKKO ski resort for a day trip in Mid Dec 13. Will be staying in Ueno. Can you help by advising me how to get from Ueno to NIKKO Ski Resort ?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Tong,

      Do you mean Nikko Yumoto Onsen? If so, take a bus from Tobu Nikko station for about 60 minutes to get there. I believe bus runs once or twice an hour.
      I don’t have a timetable of the bus. I think hotel where you will stay can let you know.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Hello Takeshi

    How r you?

    I’m planning a second trip for this year. Following is the draft itenerary.
    Day 1: Bkk – Narita
    Day 2: Ueno – Nikko – Lake Chuzenji
    Day 3: Nikko – Hachinohe – Lake Towada
    Day 4: Lake Towada – Hakkodasan – Aomori
    Day 5: Aomori – Hirosaki – Tokyo
    Day 6&7: Tokyo – Bkk

    1. JR pass seems to be more appropriate than JR East pass, doesn’t it?
    2. If I get to Nikko from Shinjuku, how much I have to pay for extra fare for ltd.exp.from Shinjuku?
    3. What if I buy JR East pass + Tobu all nikko pass, compare to JR Pass + Tobu nikko bus(2 day).

    Thanks for your help.


      1. Takeshisan

        Thanks for your comment.

        I plan to stay in Ueno area, therefore JR pass is the answer for this trip.

        Thanks again.

  6. Thank you very much Mr Takeshi for the info. It is indeed a pleasure to know so many things from you about the JR lines. A million thanks.

  7. Mr JR,

    The more I read the more I am confused. Now I cannot think properly with all the names etc. My 24 days in Japan is very confusing indeed with the use of JR Pass. Which train have surcharges and which train do not charge. It is quite expensive when they have surcharges etc and when I travel there it will really cost a bomb. We are going from Kansai Airport to Shin Aomori in the early morning and the seat fee is 12,570yen.
    What if we do not need the seat in some trains

  8. Hi, I am thoroughly confused now. I hold a JR East Pass. Does this pass cover travel on the limited express Nikko 1 ? Must I pay a surcharge ?

    If I do not wish to pay this surcharge, what options are there ?

    Thanks !

  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve.
  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals

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