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.
Please see the map below:
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:
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
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.
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 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:
If you use Tobu Railway, you can use some Tobu Railway’s deals. Please see the link below:
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.
If you take Rapid train, trip time is 2.5 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.