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October 15, 2020

One Day In Nikko Japan | 3 Week Japan Road Trip

One day in Nikko Japan with Annie Miller

Nikko Japan was way cooler than we expected. It was our first stop in our 21 day Japanese road trip. We arrived from Tokyo and had one full day of adventuring before taking off for our second location, Takayama.

Before we begin the full day of adventuring (and it was a FULL DAY), let’s lay out some need-to-know details.

Time of year: Spring was the tits (March for us, but April would be better). The only downside was when we drove into the mountains. I bet if we were there two weeks later there would have been some beautiful new growth on the trees. As you’ll see in our photos, everything was pretty brown still. But stunning none-the-less.

Getting to Nikko: Japan’s train system is LEGIT. I am not positive but I believe you can get train tickets to Nikko from Tokyo. But we truly do suggest renting a car and driving. You drive on the left side of the road, but the roads are SO NICE and we found that people followed road safety super well. It was one of the easiest countries we’ve driven in, despite driving on the “opposite” side of the road.

Accommodation: Stay at Nikko Akarinoyado Villa Revage. This was the only hotel we stayed at in Japan that had private Onsen Baths; and it was absolutely amazing. The bath feature definitely made the hotel, as the rooms were VERY basic.

Annie Miller enjoying the private Onsen baths in Nikko Japan

One Day Nikko Adventure

Activities: We split our day in two sections. The first section was exploring Nikko and the World Heritage Site of Nikko National Park. This is the most walking. You’ll see this trend in all of our Japan blogs. ALL. OF. THE. WALKING. You likely walk to every location, and then each location requires more walking. It’s all well and good. Just be warned!

I won’t break each photo down, but this was the first half of our day IN NIKKO before starting the second half (driving into the mountains around Nikko).

The path is well known in Nikko and started just a few blocks from our hotel. Remember, Nikko is TINY.

  • Walk to graveyard
  • See the Red Hat Men
  • The red bridge across from the National Park entrance.
  • Nikko National Park – several temples and shrines

This portion took a few hours and definitely could have taken longer. We were on a tight schedule, so just know that you could easily split this up into several days.

Walking to the graveyard in Nikko, Japan with Annie Miller
exploring the graveyard in Nikko
inside the graveyard in Nikko, Japan
The red hat men statues
Annie Miller with the red hat men in Nikko, Japan
Annie Miller exploring the National Park in Nikko
Visiting the National Park in Nikko Japan
Gorgeous architecture inside the national park
Annie Miller inside the National Park
gold and beautiful colors in the National Park in Nikko
Ornate details inside the buildings in the National park
Entrance to the National park in Nikko, Japan
Red bridge in Nikko

After finishing up in Nikko, we grabbed some local snacks and walked back to the hotel. There, we picked up the car and headed into the mountains.

Then proceeded to drive around to:

  • Akechidaira Ropeway (40 minutes outside of Nikko) 740 yen pp – this looks unimpressive from the bottom, and it’s VERY short, but at the top you see Lake Chuzenji, Kegon Falls, and Mount Nantai. Def worth it.
  • Kegon Falls (which you see from the top of the ropeway but can also go visit)
  • Japanese Alps
views of the mountains outside Nikko Japan by Annie Miller
Exploring the Akechidaira Ropeway outside Nikko, Japan
Annie Miller exploring the mountains outside Nikko, Japan
Visiting waterfalls while exploring the mountains in Japan
Kegon Falls outside Nikko, Japan
Views of the mountains driving back into Nikko by Annie Miller

Then it was back to Nikko so that we could pack up and prep for our VERY eventful drive to Takayama the next day.

We can’t speak to the food in Nikko because we weren’t super impressed but we really only had ONE legit dinner meal here. It’s a small town, so choices are limited. You’ll be fine.

Nikko packed a big punch. As I said, we were pleasantly surprised and definitely suggest venturing here if you’re going to be in Japan. Pin this for later so you don’t forget!

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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