Nikko Autumn Colours

29 10 2009

Nikko is a good day trip destination from Tokyo. It is an extremely popular place to view the famous autumn coloured leaves.

We drove around 2 hours to Nikko, the car rental cost 10,000 yen but the tolls added up to around 10,000 yen too! So, it might be cheaper to take a train. There are 2 options for the train, one costing only 3,600 yen but takes 2 hours and no seat reservation. The other faster train (1 hour 40 minutes) with seat reservation costs 5,800 yen.

If you are going by train, you can take the Limited Express “SPACIA” from Asakusa Station in Tokyo to Tobu Nikko Station. From there, there is a bus to the various sights. The train ticket would also allow free access to all the sights in Nikko (with some exceptions) so it is really quite worth it.

The main sight to see in Nikko is the Toshogu Shrine, which is a UNESCO heritage site. The shrine is famous for its carving of the famous “three monkeys”, which symbolize “See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil”. There is also a craving of the sleeping cat (but this is not covered by the train ticket). If you are a shrine person and would like to visit all the sights in Toshogu shrine, you would need to buy the shrine ticket, which costs 1,300 yen. Otherwise, the train ticket is good enough.

Near to the Toshogu Shrine is the Shinkyo Bridge which offers a good photography spot. Another temple is Rinnoji Temple so if you have lots of time, you can visit it also.

From the Shinkyo bus stop, you can take a bus to Chuzenji Onsen bus stop to view the nice Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls (which is a popular sight to view the autumn leaves). The trip is about 40 minutes provided that there is no traffic jam. For us, we took 2 hours to drive to Lake Chuzenji as the jam was terrible!

After viewing Lake Chujenji, you can take a leisure walk to the Kegon Falls (around 15 minutes walk). Along the way, there are shops where you can stop by to buy food and souvenirs. From the Kegon Falls, you can walk to Chuzenji Temple if you like (around 15 minutes walk).

Die Die Must Do

1) See the 3 monkeys in Toshogu Shrine
2) Visit Lake Chujenji & Kegon Falls in autumn to view the coloured leaves
3) Eat the Nikko yuba (which is made of beancurd skin and eaten together with the ramen, soba or udon)