Yesterday I posted about visiting Tōshōgū Shrine, but that’s not all we did during our day trip to Nikkō. We explored Central Nikkō, but also walked a little bit around Okunikko as well.
Here are a few things that we’d recommend checking out!
Ranked as one of Japan’s three finest bridges, the Shinkyo Bridge, and is considered to be sacred. Constructed in 1636, it was restricted from the general public until 1973. After recent renovations in the late 1990’s, it is now open to visitors and can be walked across for a small fee.
In my opinion, this wasn’t the most amazing bridge I’ve ever seen. However, it is amazing that this is the original bridge from 1636, and that tourists now have open access to it. We chose not to pay the fee to cross the bridge, but admired it from afar.
Yuba isn’t a place or World-Heritage Site, but the most popular food item to try in Nikkō. When soy milk is boiled, a film forms on the top of the water, and becomes Yuba. The restaurant we went to wasn’t that great, but there are plenty of restaurants throughout the city that sell Yuba in various dishes.
I ordered Yuba Udon, and it added so much to a somewhat flavorless broth – it was soft, warm, and sweet. If it wasn’t so expensive, I would have ordered another bowl just for the Yuba; it was just that good.
After we ate lunch, we headed out of Central Nikkō and took a bus to Okunikko.
Okunikko, or “Inner Nikkō,” is the part of Nikkō located in the mountains west of the city center. It is a part of the National Park, and is perfect for any tourists that want to experience the more rural side of Tochigi Prefecture.
You can access Okunikko by bus (or by car), and is about a 45 minute ride from Tōshōgū Shrine.
There’s a lot to do in Okunikko, but because we were restricted on time, we only saw one thing – Kegon Waterfall.
At 100 meters tall, Kegon Waterfall is thought to be one of Japan’s three most beautiful waterfalls.
In the fall, the trees around the waterfall become bright with gold and orange hues, but seeing the waterfall surrounded by rich summer greens was beautiful as well.
You can see the waterfall at no cost from a designated viewpoint, but you can also pay to ride an elevator that takes you down to the base of the falls. We chose not to go down to the base, but looking back, that was our biggest regret of the day.
You can also see the Waterfall together with Lake Chuzenki using the Akechidaira Observatory, which can be accessed by a ropeway from the Akechidaira Plateau.
While the waterfall is really beautiful, it didn’t seem that impressive from the free overlook. It seemed small, and compared to waterfalls I’ve seen (and swam in) in Upstate New York, it just didn’t rank that high.
If you’ve visited Kegon Waterfall and had a different experience, let me know in the comments below!
What else is there in Okunikko?
Kegon Waterfall was the only site we visited in Okunikko, but here’s a list of other sites you should check out if you have more time than us!
- Lake Chuzenji: a lake at the foot of Mt. Nantai
- Yumoto Onsen: a hot spring resort in Nikkō National Park
- Senjogahara Marsh: a marshland with various hikes available to travelers
|April – September||October – Mid November||Mid November – March|
|8:00 – 5:00||8:00 – 4:00||9:00 – 4:00|
Open every day, year round
Fees: 300 yen
The Upper Observatory is open all hours, year round.
Hours (Elevator to the Lower Deck) :
|March – November||December – February|
|8:00 – 5:00||9:00 – 4:30|
Fees: 550 yen
How to Get Around:
For our day trip to Nikkō, we bought the Chuzenji Onsen Pass, which allowed us to ride all the way from Central Nikkō to the Chuzenji Onsen Stop, which is where Kegon Waterfall is located.
Visit HERE to see all the bus passes available to you.
Because Nikkō is a popular tourist destination, there are many different tours and packages available for travelers.
Check out Japanican for tours that are reasonably priced, and offer lunch & English guides!
- 1-Day Nikkō World Heritage Tour
- 2-Day Nikko World Heritage Tour with Kinugawa Onsen Hot Spring
- 1-Day Nikko & Ninja Tour