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

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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.

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

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

  1. Hi! I am visiting Tokyo on 27th this month, evening flight arrival Narita Airport, stay at Asakusa from 27-31 Oct, go to Tobu Nikko from Asakusa station in the morning on 31 Oct to 2 Nov, then take morning train to Fujikawaguchiko from 2-4 Nov. Will leave Japan on 4th Nov night flight in Haneda Airport.

    I am considering to use Tokyo Subway Ticket (valid 72-hours) and then use JR East Tohoku Area Pass (5 flexible days) for round trip to Nikko and Fujikawaguchiko and back to Haneda Airport. Do I need to buy Nikko All Area Pass ? What do you think ?

    Thanks & regards
    Horace

    1. Hi Horace,

      Tokyo Subway Ticket is okay but I recommend you to use two passes, Nikko All Area Pass + Tokyo Wide Pass.
      http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/en/pass/all.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-wide-pass-is-newer-version-of-kanto-area-pass-nikko-fuji-gala-yuzawa-and-odaiba-are-covered-by-this-pass.html

      You will be staying in Asakusa. Tobu railway is more convenient to get Nikko. Nikko All Area Pass does not include limited express fee. But even if you add it, it’s still cheaper than JR East Pass. JR East Pass does not cover Otsuki to Kawaguchiko on Fuji Kyuko line. But Tokyo Wide Pass covers it. You can get Haneda by Monorail by this pass. Total cost of these two passes + Tobu railway limited express surcharge is cheaper than JR East Pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi! We are visiting Tokyo at the end of the month and plan to go on day trip to Nikko. (1) What is the best and most convenient way to go, considering that we have a one year old with us? We are coming from Shin-Urayasu (2) if taking Shinkansen, is it covered by the 1 day Tokyo pass? Is seems that the 3 dayTokyo wide pass will not be worth it if we use only for one day.

    1. Hi Theresa,

      The following route is the easiest:

      Shin-Urayasu (JR Keiyo line) Tokyo (Shinkansen) Utsunomiya (JR Nikko line) Nikko

      1 day pass does not cover Nikko. Tokyo wide pass is your choice. Actually it’s cheaper than single fare (around 12000 yen for round trip).

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshita,
    I am planning to visit Nikko on This October and Will cover Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall. I Will use Tokyo Wide Pass. Is it possible to get to Nikko with Shinkansen and go back to Tokyo with rapid? Thank You.

    1. Hi Lizalman,

      If you meant rapid on Tobo line, it’s not covered by Tokyo Wide Pass.
      Tokyo Wide Pass covers Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Utsunomiya, and Nikko line between Utsunomiya and Nikko only.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi (not Takeshita) / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    Thank you for the resource above, it is the first article which mentions the Rapid train…
    I will visit Tokio in October, so I would like to make an one day trip to Nikko. I want to travel cheap and early in the morning from Asakusa. In Nikko I want to take a bus to Chuzenji onsen and some stops around it.
    I first wanted to go by Rapid train and use my Suica Card for paying. Is this possible and if yes, how is the Rapid train called, so I can find it at the Asakusa Station? Does it has some transfer or is it non-stop to Nikko?
    Besides, is it better to buy one of the passes you mentioned, which already include the bus to Chuzenji? I could buy one by the TOBU Tourist Information Center at Asakusa Station, but they don’t list the 2 day pass you recommend…
    What is the cheapest and best way to travel to Nikko? Should I buy a pass? Or should I use my Suica?

    Thank you very much in advance for your help!
    Christina

    1. Hi Christina,

      I recommend you to use Nikko All area pass.
      http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/en/pass/all.html

      If you pay single fare or using Suica, your cost will be more than 5,000 yen. This pass is cheaper.

      Many of rapid trains go to Tobu-Nikko station from Asakusa directly. But there are many routes from Asakusa. Please make sure the train goes to Asakusa or not. It’s called “Kaisoku (快速)” in Japanese.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you, Takeshi, for your reply.

        So all the local trains to Nikko and from Asakusa are included in the all Area pass? I just have to ensure that I use the direct one called Kaisoku?

        Many thanks,
        Christina

        1. Hi Christina,

          I have just found that this train is no longer available. There is no “Kaisoku” which go to Nikko directly from Asakusa. You must change trains at Minami-Kurihashi on the way to Nikko.

          But as long as you follow the route, you can take any trains to Nikko.
          There are many “Kaisoku”. This is a name of types of trains. There are Kaisoku which go to other destinations too. So you have to make sure that train is Kaisoku to Minami-Kurihashi. And then change trains to Tobu-Nikko. Tobu railways Nikko station is called “Tobu-Nikko”. It’s not just “Nikko”.

          Sorry about it. But this direct train to Nikko was discontinued in this year.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Can you please help me which pass should we purchase for our Nikko day trip as I am quite confuse which is which is the best deal.

    Here is our places to go:

    First to Okunikko area: Ryuzu falls, Kegon falls and Lake Chuzenji
    then next to Central town: Toshogu Shrine, Shinkyo bridge and Kanmangafuchi Abyss

    We will take from Asakusa station. 🙂

    Should we purchase Nikko passes or single purchase is best deal?

    We will be going to Tokyo on November and wanted to visit Nikko, Disneyland, Lake Kawaguchiko, and visit Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara area 🙂

    Thank you so much. 🙂

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Thank you so much for your reply. So this pass is best deal for our day tour in Nikko. 🙂

        Can I ask again, if this Nikko All Area Pass need to reserve in advance?

        And one last as I am confused, this pass includes round trip from Asakusa to Nikko and from Nikko to Tokyo? 🙂

        Thank you so so much and I really appreciate your help and time to reply.

        Cheers,
        Alen

        1. Hi Alen san,

          >Can I ask again, if this Nikko All Area Pass need to reserve in advance?
          You can purchase either online or on the spot. It’s up to you.

          >And one last as I am confused, this pass includes round trip from Asakusa to Nikko and from Nikko to Tokyo?
          It does not cover Nikko to Tokyo. This covers only Asakusa to/from Nikko.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi-san,

            Thank you so so much for your reply.

            Anyway, I mean roundtrip from Asakusa to Nikko and from Nikko back to Asakusa. Is that covers in Nikko All Area Pass? 🙂

            Thank you once again.

            God bless you. 🙂
            Alen

    1. Hi Diane,

      In Tokyo, not only subway station but also most of railway station have elevator and slope.
      However Tokyo is very busy city and there are many passengers all day. It sometimes may be hard to move by these many passengers.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. If starting in Yokohama am I correct in thinking I would go to Tokyo Station, change there and then to Utsunomiya, change there for Nikko?

  7. Hi Takeshi-san

    I am planning to purchase Tokyo Wide Pass & go to Nikko as a day trip. I will be starting from Yokohama & when I check via Hyperdia, the fastest route is using Shinkansen Nasuno from Tokyo to Utsunomiya & then JR Nikko line to reach Nikko station. The shinkansen is covered by the pass? Is there a way to check which Shinkansen is covered by Tokyo Wide Pass? It is so confusing….Cause I don’t see Tohoku Shinkansen in hyperdia.

  8. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I further checked on Hyperdia; there is JR Utsunomiya Line Rapid from Tokyo station as well. It’s unreserved and overall only 30 mins extra it takes compared to Shinkansen. With this return fare for non-JR pass holder will be under JPY 6,000 – I suppose this is more economical than Tokyo Wide pass, as we have no plan to visit other destination apart from Nikko and JR pass will be valid on this route. What do you think?

    Thanks & regards,
    Rupesh

    1. Hi Rupesh san,

      Of course you can take Utsunomiya line. But it’s a sort of commute trains. You and JR pass holders will need to stand up in the trains. Are JR Pass holder happy with it? Trip time is not much different. But accommodation is so much different. Especially if you leave from Tokyo station in the morning on week day, train is very busy.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Takeshi-san,
    Thanks for all the valuable information you’ve provided on various destinations. I am Japan resident so don’t have JR pass, but want to visit Nikko along with some visitors who are having JR pass. What is the most economical way for us to travel ‘together’ to Nikko from Tokyo? Thanks in advance,

    Regards,
    Rupesh

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Many thanks for prompt response. Yes we were considering the Tokyo Wide Area Pass but just felt it to be a bit expensive for visiting only Nikko; for Japan residents seems the Tobu express/pass from Asakusa is more economical (also we stay in Edogawa so access is easier). I guess the trade-off is between traveling together (paying more) vs spending less (travel separately).

        Thanks once again for all your help.

        Warm regards,
        Rupesh

        1. Hi Rupesh san,

          You’re right. Tobu railway is most common way to get Nikko for the residents. As you understand, JR pass user cannot take Tobu railway.
          So please think about which one is the best for you, travel together or save your cost.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

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