Nikko is one of the popular destinations from Tokyo. You can visit there as a day trip. Of course if you stay there, you can visit many places in outside of Nikko city and also can enjoy the hot spring in Kinugawa Onsen too.
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.
Please see the map below:
As you saw the map above, there are three ways to get Nikko.
- The Tohoku Shinkansen + JR Nikko line — the average trip time 2 hours (includes 1 transfer at Utsunomiya)
- The limited express “Nikko” from Shinjuku — the average trip time 2 hours (the direct access)
- Tobu Railway limited express “Kegon” from Asakusa — the average trip time 2 hours (the direct access)
The trip times are not much different among these choices. But you have to transfer at Utsunomiya station to take the route by the Tohoku Shinkansen + JR 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.
JR East Pass and Tokyo Wide Pass cover this route fully too. But the direct train to Nikko from Shinjuku is available for these passes too. Please read the next chapter.
JR/Tobu Limited Express Nikko from Shinjuku
Both JR East and Tobu Railway operate the 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 Tokyo Wide Pass cover this train fully even though this train runs on non JR line.
Please see the post below to get the details about this train.
You can find out the timetable at JR East official site:
Tobu Limited Express Spacia Kegon from Asakusa
Tobu Railway is more popular to visit Nikko for local tourists. Tobu Railway’s terminal station is Asakusa. Asakusa is not very convenient place if you stay in east side of Tokyo, such as Shinjuku. But the train runs more frequently and especially to Kinugawa Onsen.
You can find the timetable of the limited express from Asakusa in the link below:
If you use Tobu Railway, you can use some Tobu Railway’s deals. Please see the link below:
Tobu Railway’s ordinary train
I mentioned only the limited express train service above. But Tobu Railway operates the ordinary train service too. Tobu Railway’s deals do not include the limited express surcharge. If you want to avoid paying any extra on top of Tobu Railway’s deals, you may take the ordinary train. Some ordinary train is called “Rapid” or “Express”. These trains skip many station.
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.
If you take Rapid train, trip time is 2.5 hours to 3 hours to get Nikko. It is not very much different from limited express.
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.
I hope this post helps you to build your trip plan to Nikko.