How to access to Nikko. Learn about how to get Nikko by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge.

Nikko Toshogu shrine is one of the highlights in Nikko.
Nikko Toshogu shrine is one of the highlights in Nikko.

Nikko (日光) is very popular destination for the tourist from the foreign countries because it is World Heritage site. You can see lots of very historical temples and shrines.

I wrote about all train access to Nikko in other post. Please refer the link below to learn more:

How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa

Change trains at Utsunomiya station

Take Tohoku Shinkanse from Tokyo or Ueno to Utsunomiya.
Take Tohoku Shinkanse from Tokyo or Ueno to Utsunomiya.

You can get Nikko by Japan Rail Pass. If you access there from Tokyo, take Tohoku Shinkansen to get Utsunomiya. “Hayabusa” and “Hayate” do not stop at Utusnomiya station. Take “Yamabiko” or “Nasuno” to get Utsunomiya.

Take Nikko line train

You need to take the local train on Nikko line.
You need to take the local train on Nikko line.

You will transfer to Nikko line at Utsunomiya station. After you get off Shinkansen, move to platform #5. Mostly the train to Nikko depart there. Nikko is the last station. It takes about 40 minutes from Utsunomiya to Nikko.

You may learn more about Utsunomiya station in the link below:

Utsunomiya station guide. How to transfer to Nikko train

This is the typical interior of the local train.
This is the typical interior of the local train.

Nikko line is used for not sightseeing but commuting. We do not have the luxury express train. You need to get the local train. And also these trains are not operated very often. We have 24 round trips a day. We mostly have once train a hour. Please check the time table before you go.


View Nikko Line in a larger map

71 thoughts on “How to access to Nikko. Learn about how to get Nikko by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge.”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    Thanks for the info!
    We are planning to go to Ashikaga Park on may 2, but we would like to have a quick tour in Nikko to see the shrines, is that possible?
    Also, coming from Shinjuku, we plan to take the Jr shonan-shinjuku line to Tobu-nikko, with a transfer at Kurihashi, which i believe cost 1940yen. Is that correct? And can we purchase the JR one day pass for that route plus going after to Ashikaga and back to Shinkuju?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Kim,

      It’s not impossible and your calculation is right. I don’t understand which pass you meant “JR one day pass”. There is no one day pass to cover your trip. Only Tokyo Wide Pass covers whole part of your trip.
      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

      This pass is much more expensive than regular fares. However you can take Limited Express and Shinkansen. Your trip time is much shorter by Tokyo Wide Pass and make the extra time in each places.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks you for yor help Takeshi!
        Will definitely use the Tokyo Wide Pass for our trip!

        From your post
        https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/limited-express-nikko-and-kinugawa.html
        If we use the Nikko or Spacia Nikko to Nikko, it will take us around 2 hours right? As long as we dont use the Green Compartment in Spacia Nikko, we won’t have to pay extra?
        Also, we plan to visit Nikko on May2, and it is part of the Golden Week, since the limited express trains require reservation, will we have a hard time getting seats?
        Also from Nikko to ashikaga and ashikaga back to shinjuku do we use the same limited express train thus requiring us to reserve seats?

        Thanks again!!

        1. Hi Kim,

          It takes about 2 hours.
          http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/english/wb/common/timetable/e_lex_tobu_d/index.html

          You can take this train by Tokyo wide pass without any extra.

          Train will be very busy. You may not be able to book a seat. If you cannot, take Shinkansen to Utsunomiya and change Nikko line trains there. You may book it in advance online:
          https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx?_ga=1.4778995.1325107855.1421419524

          You cannot use same train because this train does not stop at any stations between Omiya and Tochigi. Tochigi is on Tobu railway station and you cannot get off there. Your route is the following:

          Nikko (JR Nikko line local train) Utsunomiya
          Utsunomiya (Shinkansen or local train) Oyama
          Oyama (JR Ryomo line local train) Ashikaga Flower Park
          Ashikaga Flower Park (JR Ryomo line local train) Oyama
          Oyama (Shinkansen or JR local train) Omiya
          Omiya (JR Shonan Shinjuku line) Shinjuku

          Shinkansen is faster than local train but local train runs more frequent. In total trip time, local train is sometimes faster. It depends on waiting time to get Shinkansen at Utsunomiya and Omiya.

          You may find the detailed trip plan at Hyperdia:
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Thank you again for your help Takeshi! I understand the routes you gave me back and forth, since those are Jr lines, they are included in the Tokyo Wide Pass right?

            Will try to make the most out of our trip even though its the Golden Week and will follow your day trip to Fuji five lakes!

  2. Hi Takashi,
    Appreciate if you could advise/comment our initial plan as follows:-

    13/03 Arrive in Tokyo and tour in city
    14/03 Tokyo to Nikko – 1 night
    15/03 Nikko to Mito for Plum Festival (overnight in Mito)
    16/03 Mito to Hakone
    17/03 Hakone
    18/03 Hakone to Kamakura for day trip and return Tokyo
    19/03 Leave Tokyo and return home

    1) Is the plan workable or too rush?

    2) Appreciate if you could advise transport or Pass suitable for the plan

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Jess,

      Your plan is feasible. You can use the deal in the link below for arrival and depature days:
      http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/airport_bus/index.html

      For 14th to 16th, you may use Tokyo wide pass:
      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

      This pass covers until you get Odawara on the way to Hakone. You have to add Hakone Free Pass at Odawara:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/how-to-build-the-trip-plan-to-hakone-various-sample-itineraries-of-hakone.html

      Single ticket is your choice for Odawara-Kamakura-Tokyo.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takashi,
        Many thanks for your advise. However, I have changed my plan as follows:-

        13/03 Arrive in Narita airport and depart to Mito for Plum
        Festival (overnight in Mito)
        14/03 Mito to Nikko – 1 night at Nikko
        15/03 Nikko to Fujisawa (2 nights near Fujisawa station)
        16/03 Fujisawa to Kamakura & Enoshima
        17/03 Fujisawa to Yokohama (overnight in Yokohama)
        18/03 Yokohama to Tokyo
        19/03 Leave Tokyo and return home

        1) Is the revised plan feasible?

        2) On our first day, I’m considering to take bus or using JR Tokyo Wide Pass to Mito, appreciate if you could advise.

        Thanks in advance

        1. Hi Jess,

          1. The plan is okay.

          2. You can take a bus if you like. You can get Mito by bus. Train does not go to Mito directly. Bus is better. But you still need Tokyo Wide Pass. Even if you start using on 14th of March, you will not have many chances to use the pass on 16th. If you want to save your cost, you may use the pass for 13th to 15th. This way offers you the best deal. If you start using it on 13th, you can use Enoshima Kamakura pass for 16th.
          http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/kamakura_enoshima.html?src=gnavi

          There is no deals after 17th.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi, I would like to know the 72hr metro/subway pass – is it the same as the Pasmo card ? Can you go to Nikko, Kamakura and Mt Fuji with a 72hr metro/subway pass ?
    Our planning goes like this (staying near Hajima Station):
    15 days in Tokyo (Imperial Palace, Nikko, Kamakura, Mt Fuji)
    3 days in Kyoto-Nara
    1 day in Osaka
    1 day in Himeji (perhaps Okayama)
    1-2 days in Hiroshima
    7 days in Tokyo (downtown, Sumida, Skytree)
    What passes would you recommand to us?

    Thanks for taking your time to answer our questions,
    Fab

    1. Hi Fab,

      First of all, Nikko, Kamakura and Fuji are not in Tokyo. Subway pass covers only downtown Tokyo and these places are far away from subway pass coverage area.

      For trip to Fuji, Nikko and Kamakura, I recommend you to use Tokyo wide pass.
      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 can use subway pass when you are in downtown Tokyo. By the way, Pasmo card is not same as subway pass. Subway pass gives you unlimited ride at fixed price but it covers subway only. Pasmo covers any kinds of train but you can get same worth as cash payment ticket. If you have Pasmo, you don’t need to purchase a ticket one by one but you can get this convenience only.

      For Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, HImeji, Hiroshima, you may use 7 days JR Pass.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      If you cannot complete these places in 7 days, 14 days pass is okay. But if you use 14 days pass, you don’t need to have Tokyo wide pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,
        Thank you so much for you answers! They are much helpful!

        We will be staying near Hajima Station in Tokyo.
        I guess this station is not in the 72 hr metro/subway itinerary?
        We will be doing this distance very frequently when in Tokyo.
        Would a 21 days JR pass pay off for this daily distance (Haijima-downtown Tokyo for about 10 days (with Nikko, Kamakura, Mt Fudji 4 days) and 7 days Kyoto-Nara-Osaka- Himeji- Hiroshima-Tokyo)?

        There will be 9 days in Tokyo left. What is the north east subway station the closest to Haijima station? Perhaps we could buy the metro/subway pass and have a Passmo pass for the outer of Tokyo?

        I am not sure I understood what you wrote about Passmo – It is like a credit card and there is no rebate for multiple trips, is that right?

        Thank you for your precious time,
        Fab

        1. Hi Fab,

          Actually there is no “Hajima” station in Tokyo as far as I know. I guess it’s Heiwajima. If so, you can use Pasmo or Suica to get the nearest station which is Segakuji. Heiwajima is Keihin Kyuko railway station which is not covered by JR Pass. So JR pass does not work for staying in Tokyo. As I mentioned, 7 days+Tokyo wide pass or 14 days JR pass is your choice.

          Pasmo is same type of card as Suica. Please see the link below how it works.
          http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html?src=gnavi

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            Many Thanks ! We’ll probably go for a 14 days pass.

            The station I was talking about is Haijima (near Tachikawa)

            Fab

  4. Hello Takeshi

    Great information here.

    I am not sure of the answer, but I will arrive in Tokyo after travelling 2 weeks from Fukuoka through Matsumoto.

    I am lucky that I will spend 6 days in Tokyo and would like to know how (if) I can buy two 72hr metro/subway passes to cover my 6 days.

    Many thanks
    Kind regards

      1. Hi Takeshi

        Great but I am confused as it says it is not sold in Tokyo prefecture and is only sold with other travel products?

        I assume Bic Camera or the Tourist Info Centres do not need me to buy a travel package as well.

        Also, is it possible to buy two or are we limited to one?

        Sorry to be a pain – many thanks for your assistance.

        Kind regards

        1. Hi Tas,

          You can buy it at Bic Camera, Laox, Tokyo tourist center and other spots without no restrictions. The restriction that you mentioned is applied to travel agency only.
          You can buy it as many as you want.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi,
    I’ m planning a trip to Japan next April and I need advice on jr pass.
    My plan is

    Day 1 Tokyo nikko Tokyo
    Day 2 Tokyo hakone yuomoto
    Day 3 hakone yumoto Kyoto
    Day 4 Kyoto Nara Kyoto
    Day 5/6 Kyoto
    Day 7 Kyoto Kanazawa
    Day 8 Kanazawa takayama
    Day 9 takayama Tokyo

    I’d like to understand if it’s convenient to buy ro and when should I activate?

    Tks

    1. Hi Mirco,

      You can use other deal for Nikko.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/how-to-access-to-nikko-from-tokyo-there-are-three-ways-from-tokyo-shinjuku-and-asakusa.html

      And add single fare to Odawara by Odakyu railway and use Hakone Free pass in Hakone.
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/

      When you leave Odawara, you start using JR pass 7 days. Hakone Yumoto to Odawara is covered by Hakone Feee Pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi,

    I am travelling at the end of the month for 10days to Japan.
    Im spending 5days in Tokyo, visiting Nikko, Matsumoto, Kamamura.

    Then go down to Osaka for 2 days, Nara, and Kyoto another 2days.

    Come back to Tokyo to fly out.

    I have been trying to make a plan but it is so complicated that my head will explode! None of the passes fully covers me in the destinations I want to go in 10days.

    I would really appreciate some help!

    Billy

    1. Hi Billy,

      I recommend you to use JR pass 7 days. You may use it for the last 7 days of your trip. And try to put Nikko, Matsumoto, Kyoto and Osaka in this 7 days.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      For Tokyo and Kamakura, you will make short distance trips only. You don’t need to have JR pass. You can use subway pass for Tokyo.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      For Kamakura, single ticket or Odakyu railway deals can be used.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/yokohama-and-kamakura-access-guide-find-the-right-deal-and-route-from-your-place-to-stay.html

      You may find some info about access from airport at the links below:
      Narita https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html
      Haneda https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/haneda/how-to-access-from-haneda-airport-to-downtown-tokyo.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        I made a plan that I would like to have your opinion on? Does that plan makes sense economically?
        I fly to Tokyo and my planing goes like this:

        24-Nov Osaka Tokyo-Osaka Jrpass 1st day
        25-Nov Osaka Jrpass 2nd day
        26-Nov Nara Jrpass 3rd day
        27-Nov Kyoto Jrpass 4th day
        28-Nov Kyoto Jrpass 5th day
        29-Nov Kyoto-Tokyo Jrpass 6th day
        30-Nov Tokyo-Matsumoto Jrpass 7th day
        1-Dec Tokyo-Kamakura Kamakura-Enoshima Pass ( maybe) + Tokyo Furii Kippu (Ticket) (for the rest of the day in Tokyo
        2-Dec Tokyo-Nikko 2 Day Nikko Pass
        3-Dec Tokyo Tokyo Furii Kippu (Ticket)
        4-Dec Tokyo-Airport

        What do you think?

        I appreciate you time!

        I was looking for hotels today. Osaka as people suggest Namba is the place to be. However price for hotels are extremely expensive! Quality is not great as well. Is there somewhwre else I should be lloking to stay?

        Thanks a lot!

        1. Hi Billy,

          I agree with your planning mostly. I have only one thing to make sure. Do you really need Tokyo Furii Kippu? It costs 1590 yen. Actually it’s so hard to get the worth in one day to use this pass. If you have 7 to 8 trips a day in coverage area, it may work. That means you need to visit 6 to 7 places in one day. And Kamakura is away from this coverage area. I don’t think it’s a good idea to use this pass when you go to Kamakura.

          Tokyo Subway ticket covers only subway but it covers most part of downtown Tokyo. Price is 800 yen for 24 hours and 1200 yen for 48 hours. This deal is valid for not one day but 24 hours. If you start using it on 13:00, it’s valid until 12:59 on next day. Tokyo furii kippu is valid midnight to midnight.
          https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

          I’m not against your plan. I just want to give you another suggestion.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. we plan to travel from Tokyo to nikko, then from nikko to Kyoto, from kyoto to osaka, from osaka to nara.

    what is the best way to do this?

    1. Hi Smita,

      You need to go back to Tokyo after Nikko anyway. You can take Shinkansen to get Kyoto.
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-departure-arrival-stations/stations-in-tokai/nagoya-toyohashi/what-is-shinkansen-bullet-train.html

      After arriving Kyoto, there are many ways. It depends on where you stay. Please see the link below to find more info:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-transfer-among-kyoto-osaka-and-kobe-compare-japan-railway-and-private-lines.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Thanks for your very useful post. So, if I well understood by changing at Utsunomiya station no surcharge will be required and I can reach Nikko just with JR pass. I thought the last part of the trip was on a private railways and a surcharge was required.
    While If I take the LTD. EXP NIKKO 1 from Shinjuku JR station directly to Nikko I have to pay a surcharge. Is it correct ?
    Many thanks and best regards

  9. Hi, thank you for providing good information. Really helps us tourists a lot. I wonder if it is worthwhile for me to get the 7 days JR nationwide pass if I am going to stay in :-
    Tokyo for 4 days then travel to Kyoto for 5 and then back to Tokyo for 2 days before departing at Narita. I would like to take a day trip from Tokyo to Nikko and also day trips from Kyoto to Nara and Miyajima .

    I would appreciate your advice please.

    Thank you.

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