Utsunomiya station guide. How to transfer to Nikko train.

(C) JR Utsunomiya Station - Tnk3a
(C) JR Utsunomiya Station – Tnk3a

Utsunomiya station is the station to transfer to Nikko line. If you use JR Pass to get Nikko, you take Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo and transfer here at Utsunomiya. Utsunomiya is the major terminal station in Tochigi prefecture. Even though Utsunomiya station is not a mega size terminal, if you are the first time traveller, you really know how to transfer the trains.

In this post, I would like to show you some images and explain about this station. You will find how to transfer the trains here at Utsunomiya station.

Station structure, tracks and platforms

Shinkansen tracks and platforms of Utsunomiya station (C) 宇都宮駅新幹線ホーム-Rsa
Shinkansen tracks and platforms of Utsunomiya station (C) 宇都宮駅新幹線ホーム-Rsa

First of all, please see Utsunomiya station map in JR East official site.

This terminal station is three levels structure. On the ground floor, there are the platforms of conventional train lines. On second level, there are ticket gates/exits and Shinkansen transfer gate. And Shinkansen platforms are located on third floor. In the map above, Shinkansen platforms are track #1 and #4. #2 and #3 are the passing track. There is no platforms. And track #5 to #10 are conventional line’s platforms. Nikko line is track #5. And track #6 is a passing track as well. There is no platforms either.

Tohoku Shinkansen1Sendai, Morioka, Yamagata
4Tokyo, Ueno, Omiya
Nikko line5Nikko
Utsunomiya line
Shonan-Shinjuku line
Karasuyama line
7-10Omiya, Ueno>br />Shinjuku, Yokohama

Ticket gate/Exit

The signage at the ticket gate.
The signage at the ticket gate.

There are two ticket gates/exits, enter/exit Shinkansen platforms and other lines. And there is one Shinkansen transfer gates. Most of you use this station to transfer Shinkansen and Nikko line. So you don’t need to pay attention to gates and exits. Just go through Shinkansen transfer gate.

How to transfer from Shinkansen to Nikko line

I show you several photos and explain step by step. Actually it is quite easy. I have done this transfer in 7 minutes while I was taking the photos on this post.

First of all, when you get off Shinkansen just follow the sign to exit and go down the stairs, escalators or elevators.

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When you get second floor, you will see the ticket gate/exit (left) and Shinansen transfer gate (right). You will find the huge sign that says “Transfer” and “Nikko line” too. You will also find the sigh on the floor. Please follow the sign to Shinkansen transfer gate.

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The stairs to Nikko line on the ground level is very closed to Shinkansen transfer gate. Please see the simple map below:


So you will go round the corner after you go through Shinkansen transfer gate. You will find the stairs to Nikko line very easily.

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At platform, the station name is written by Japanese font. It’s a bit different from other platforms.

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Nikko is one of the biggest names in Japan and one of most famous destinations. Nikko line train is operated by very common commute fleets and not much different from the trains in Tokyo. There is no specialized fleets. Please don’t expect something special.

(C) JR East 205-600 series Nikko Line EMU set Y6 - Rsa
(C) JR East 205-600 series Nikko Line EMU set Y6 – Rsa


Please see the post, How to access to Nikko. Learn about how to get Nikko by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge to get more information about access to Nikko.

14 thoughts on “Utsunomiya station guide. How to transfer to Nikko train.”

  1. Dear Takeshi
    Another “thank you” from me for a very helpful post.

    I have a complementary question…
    On my trip, I will be getting to Utsunomiya via Omiya (by shinkansen). I will get to Omiya from Ikebukuro by the Saiklo line, with 14 minutes to make the transfer from the Saiklo station to the shinkansen station.

    Is this enough time?
    Any tips I should know about the Omiya station?
    (For example, I saw there are a North transfer and a South stransfer… do they lead to the same place?)

  2. Hello Takeshi,
    All your posts are very helpful and I have planned my trip to Japan in the month of May 2018. We are planning to visit Yakushima. We are going to apply for JRpass. I wanted to confirm” can we take the Shinkansen from Hiroshima to Kagoshima-chuo? are there any transfers or is it a direct train to kagoshima?” According to the timetable Kagoshima is the last stop. we are planning to take “shinkansen Sakura 451 ” which will leave from Hiroshima at 6.33am and reach Kagoshima at 9.33 am.
    Please confirm if we have planned the right train.

    1. Hi Seema.V,

      You can use JR pass to get Kagoshima-Chuo by Shinkansen from Hiroshima. Sakura is covered by JR pass fully. You don’t need to change trains. It takes you to Kagoshima directly.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Thank you for the extremely helpful post, it is really appreciated. You are a star. I have one question though, I will be travelling from Tokyo to Nikko I do not have a JR Pass, (I will be travelling with people that do) so guess I cannot use transfer gate from Shinkansen to JR Nikko line. I guess I will need to use exit gate and go buy ticket for JR Nikko line? Do you think I could buy JR Nikko line ticket at Tokyo station?

  4. my plan travel on 20 July 2017
    Narita Airport to Nikko 2 nights
    Nikko to Sendai 2 nights
    Hakodate 1 nights
    Sapporo 3 nights

  5. Hi there

    Great post! So helpful! Thank you!

    I’m visiting Tokyo at the end of March, and have a day trip planned to Nikko.

    I’ll be travelling with a JR rail pass. I’ve got a couple of questions! When you make the transfer between the Shinkansen line and the nikko line, do you tap in to go through barriers to make the transfer, or do you have to show your pass to someone?

    Also, do you have to make reservation in advance for the nikko line part of the trip?

    1. Hi Ravi,

      You cannot tap JR pass. Whenever you go through ticket gate by JR pass, you have to go through man’s gate and show your pass.
      Nikko line is commute line and you cannot book a seat.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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