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How to go to Nikko with JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass)

April 05, 2019

How to go to Nikko with JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass)


Nikko is one of the famous sightseeing areas in Japan. Many Japanese tourists visit Nikko for sightseeing.

And, because it is easy to access Nikko from Tokyo, many international tourists visit Nikko nowadays.

In Nikko area, there are famous sightseeing spots including UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Futarasan jinja, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Popular sightseeing spots in Nikko

  • Shrines and Temples of Nikko (World Heritage Site)
    • Nikko Toshogu
    • Futarasan jinja
    • Rinno-ji
  • Kegon Falls
  • Lake Chuzenji
  • Irohazaka

There are places where you can enjoy historical architecture, such as shrine, as well as natures, such as lake, mountain road, and waterfalls.

Nikko Toshogu

Nikko location

Nikko is a part of Nikko city, located in North-west part of Tochigi prefecture in the northern Kanto.

It is about 120 km direct distance from Tokyo.


How to access Nikko

In Nikko, there are 2 stations, JR Nikko station and Tobu-nikko station, located next to each other.

From Tokyo area, both stations can be accessed by trains.

JR Nikko station

This is a station of JR Nikko line.

From Tokyo to Nikko, the fastest and easiest way is to take Shinkansen from Tokyo (or Ueno) to Utsunomiya.

And, transit to a local train at Utsunomiya station.

It takes approximately 2 hours from Tokyo station to Nikko station.


Tobu-nikko station

This is a station of Tobu Nikko line by Tobu railway.

There are limited express trains from Asakusa station of Tobu railway in Tokyo to Tobu-nikko station.

Limited Express train from Asakusa to Tobu-nikko

  • Rivaty Kegon
  • Kegon
  • Kinu
  • Shimotsuke

There is also a limited express train, Spacia Kinugawa from JR Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Urawa, and Omiya stations to Shimo-imaichi, operated by both JR and Tobu Railway. With this train, you can go to Tobu-nikko station from Shimo-imaichi by local trains of Tobu Nikko line.


How to access to Nikko with JR Pass

If you have JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass), you can take JR lines.

Therefore, it is recommended to take Shinkansen from Tokyo (or Ueno) station to Utsunomiya station. Then, you can take a local JR train from Utsunomiya to Nikko.

If you take Tobu Railway limited express train, you don't need any transit from Asakusa to Tobu-nikko. However, JR Pass does not cover Tobu Railway. Therefore, you have to pay for a ticket.

For limited express train, Spacia Kinugawa, from JR Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Urawa, and Omiya stations, operated by JR and Tobu Railway, you can use JR Pass only for JR line area. Since this train operates on Tobu Railway are, you have to pay extra with JR Pass to go to Tobu-nikko station.

Here is an example schedule of JR line route from Tokyo to Nikko and Nikko to Tokyo (no extra cost with JR pass):

From Tokyo to Nikko

  • Shinkansen Yamabiko No. 125 from Tokyo to Utsunomiya
    • Departure Tokyo at 7:32
    • Arrival Utsunomiya at 8:21
  • JR Nikko line (local train) from Utsunomiya to Nikko
    • Departure Utsunomiya at 8:40
    • Arrival Nikko at 9:23

From Nikko to Tokyo

  • JR Nikko line (local train) from Nikko to Utsunomiya
    • Departure Nikko at 18:54
    • Arrival Utsunomiya at 19:36
  • Shinkansen Yamabiko No. 218
    • Departure Utsunomiya at 19:48
    • Arrival Tokyo at 20:44

The above time schedule, it is possible to visit Nikko for 1 day.

Kegon Falls