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

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

  1. Takeshi-san,
    Can you please assist me on what JR Rails I can access from my hotel at Super Hotel Lohas, Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo to Nikko Japan? I plan on doing a day trip to Nikko as part of my family vacation and to have my daughter see snow for the first time. My reservations are from Dec. 26, 2018 to Jan. 3, 2019, so if there are other options to see snow that is closer during this time period, can you please recommend? I thank you in advance for all your assistance.

    1. Hi Darryle san,

      If you meant that you will use JR pass or other JR deals, you can take Shinkansen (Tokyo-Utsunomiya) and Nikko line (Utsunomiya-Nikko). You have to take subway to get Tokyo station which is not covered by JR pass.

      I cannot guarantee to see snow in Nikko. If you go to Gala Yuzawa, you can see snow. You can get there as day trip from Tokyo.


      Takeshi /

  2. Dear Takeshi-san,

    Good day !!

    I have a pasmo and suica card with me and my wife and have a good enough balance.

    We plan to go from ASAKUSA(TOBU/SUBWAY) to SHIMO-IMAICHI via rapid train.

    Can pasmo and suica cards balance be used at this line ?

    After that, by buying NIKKO PASS ALL area, can it be used for above rapid train or is it for travelling/transit in Nikko area only ?

    Please advise?

    1. Hi John san,

      You can use Pasmo or Suica to take train from Asakusa to Shimo-Imaichi. But if you use Nikko Pass, it includes Asakusa – Shimo-Imaichi round trip. Suica or Pasmo is not required. If you meant you want to take Limited Express train and want to pay surcharge by Suica or Pasmo, you cannot. Suica or Pasmo can be used for base fare only.


      Takeshi /

Before you leave your comment, please see the conditions below.
  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve. When you submit your comment, the page will be reloaded but nothing happens. Your comment will be shown when I approve. Please click submit only once and wait for my approval.
  • 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.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • I cannot recommend any hotels other than which I have stayed. Basically I cannot talk about hotels in this site. The number of hotels are too many to talk about by my experience.
  • 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.
  • Please do not ask me to reply to your inquiry by email. In this website, I would like to share all information with any readers. I do not communicate with you directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *