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.

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


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.

You can find the timetable for limited express from Asakusa in the link below:

Tobu Railway’s timetable

If you use Tobu Railway, you can use some Tobu Railway’s deals. Please see the link below:

Tobu Railway’s Pass site

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. You can take Rapid train service without any extra on the pass.

Rapid train used to run between Asakusa and Tobu-Nikko/Kinugawa-Onsen directly. However this direct rapid train was discontinued in 2017. If you travel by rapid train, you have to change trains at least once at Minami-Kurihashi.

The interior of Rapid train. It is not luxury but good enough for a few hours trip.
The interior of Rapid train which run between Minami-Kurihashi and Tobu-Nikko, Kinugawa-Onsen. It is not luxury but good enough.

If you take Rapid train, trip time is 2.5 hours to get Nikko. It is not very much different from limited express.

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

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

  1. Hi Takeshi, can I check if I can use the JR east tohoku pass to travel between Shimbashi and Kinugawa using Toei Subway Asakusa Line for AOTO and TOBU LTD. EXP REVATY AIZU 111? Thanks!!

  2. Hello Takeshi,
    My wife and I are spending two weeks in Japan in January 2019. Our last touring day is the day prior to flying home. We are planning to go to Nikko using the last day of out JR pass. I have not been able to find a timeyable for the trains in and out of Nikko from Utsunomiya.
    Is it possible to point me to a suitable timetable?

    Thank you

    Robert from Australia

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I plan to visit Nikko in my upcoming trip in November and use the Nikko All Area Pass. I will visit Yunishigawa Onsen on Day 1 and then Nikko on Day 2. My question is will the pass cover the trip from Kinugawa Onsen onwards to Yunishigawa Onsen and the bus to the ryokan? Also, if I take Tobu Ltd Express train between Kinugawa Onsen and Tobu-Nikko, how do I pay for the reserved seat fee, and do I have to reserve the seat for such a short ride?

    Thank you!


    1. Hi Teresa,

      This pass does not cover further than Shin-Fujiwara. Shin-Fujiwara is one station away from Kinugawa onsen. So Yunishigawa onsen is not in the coverage area.
      If you take limited express train, you need to pay and you have to reserve the seat. All seats are reserved seat. You cannot take a train without reservation.


      Takeshi /

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    We wish to know for sure if Spacia Kegon, which leaves from Asakusa, is included in the Tokyo Wide Pass? I’ve seen your note that Spacia Nikko is fully covered by the pass, but no mention if it is the same for Spacia Kegon. Just want to be sure of our options.

    Another thing, we’re planning to get the Tokyo Wide Pass because we’re also visiting Gunma after a day or two in Nikko. Is there by any chance a way to go straight from Nikko to Gunma via train/bus? If so, is it covered by the Tokyo Wide Pass? Or are we better off traveling back from Nikko to Tokyo, and then Tokyo to Gunma? Thanks in advance for your help. Cheers.

    1. Hi Meep,

      Any Tobu train from Asakusa station is not covered by Tokyo Wide Pass. Some Spacia Nikko depart from Shinjuku. These are covered.

      There is no direct ways to get Gumma from Nikko. You don’t need to go back to Tokyo. You can change Shinkansen at Omiya.


      Takeshi /

  5. Hi Takeshi,
    My itinerary for one day in Nikko is: Toshogu Shrine, Akechidaira ropeway, Chuzenji Lake and Kegon Falls.
    My hotel is near Ningyocho Station.
    Should I take Nikko all area pass, or take Nikko city area pass and buy bus pass to chuzenji lake?
    I will go on weekdays, if I take the 07:30 train (Kegon 5), do you think I would be able to see all?
    Also, Is the construction works in Toshogu Shrine already done in May 29-30?
    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Polisis,

      Nikko all area pass is better choice because bus pass is 2000 yen. Bus pass + city area pass is more expensive.

      You can make all places in one day.

      Nikko Toshogu is still under construction until next spring.


      Takeshi /

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