Nikko National Park: The Complete Guide (Part 1)
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Discover everything you need to know when visiting Nikko!
Filled with centuries-old shrines, temples, and areas of exceptional natural beauty, it's hard to know where to start when it comes to Japan's majestic Nikko National Park. The Japanese town of Nikko sits within the park, making it a particularly unique destination in terms of accommodation, shopping, and dining options.
While the trails here are suitable for casual and intermediate hikers, the mountains themselves offer an additional challenge. Oku-Nikko, which translates to deep Nikko, is where the terrain gets rugged and mountainous with lots of waterfalls. Because of this landscape, Nikko National Park is a hot spring hot spot and there are dozens of hot spring resorts to choose from.
Although you can take a day trip from Tokyo to Nikko National Park, to make the most of its offerings, you will need two to three days.
Things to do
In addition to hiking, the Buddhist and Shinto shrines and temples of Nikko National Park are a must-see. Tōshõ-gū, one of the highlights of Nikko, is the final resting place of the first Tokugawa shogun and is a complex of ornate shrines, art, and gates. Of all the gates, Yõmei-mon, with more than five hundred sculptures, is the most impressive and is listed as a National Treasure of Japan.
Nikko is a great area to try local food. The Buddhist temple's vegan cuisine, which is often served in a variety of small seasonal dishes that are naturally seasoned and seasoned, is a great place to start. Don't miss the Yuzawa-ya teahouse, which has been serving since 1804 and offers an excellent selection of traditional homemade teas and desserts. Another great place is Gyoshintei, which has a beautiful traditional interior and views of the Japanese garden.
If you are traveling by car, you can see one of Nikko's most iconic routes - the Iroha-zaka Winding Road, which offers commanding views of the mountains and forty-eight hairpin bends to navigate while taking in the surrounding landscapes. The road also leads to the Ackechi-daira plateau, giving you the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy the views.
Better walks and trails
1. Senjō-ga-har Plains
Perfect for casual hikers, this predominantly flat walkway ride takes you from Ryùzu-no-taki Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the park, through swampy plains, flowers, and grass high from Nikko.
The hike ends in the spa town of Yumoto Onsen, where you can relax and take a dip. This is Nikko's most popular and busiest hike, especially during the fall when the salt marshes dry up and turn red and gold. It's also the perfect hike for those taking a day trip to Nikko as it takes about two and a half hours to complete.
2. Odashirogahara Plateau Nature Trail
This two-hour trail can be done alone or combined with the Senjō-ga-har Plains hike for a longer route. Also through the boardwalks, you can enjoy views of the mountains and more of the local flora and fauna.
One of the three mountains in Nikko National Park and one of the 100 most famous mountains in Japan, this trail is popular for its incredible views of the park and Chūzenji-ko Lake from its top.
This hike is considered intermediate as it is steep and rocky, so it can easily wear you out if you are not used to it; be sure to pack plenty of drinks and snacks to keep going. Along the way, you will pass the torii gates that mark your ascent and also see the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Okumiya Shrine, dedicated to the mountain near the top. This hike takes about six and a half hours in total, so it would be more suitable for those who can spend the night in Nikko.
4. Lake Chuzenji
Formed by the eruption of Mount Nantai about 20,000 years ago, this is one of the highest natural lakes in Japan and can be viewed from an observation deck via the Akechi-daira cable car or by walking the path around the lake, which takes just over five hours.
5. Lake Yunoko
Ideal for the time-conscious, this informal hour-long hike takes you around the circumference of Lake Yunoko and features primary forests, seasonal flora, and native wildlife. Hot springs abound in this area, it even has its own resort town.
6. Takino'o Kodoō
This relaxing half-day trail is ideal for those seeking a more peaceful and spiritual hike through the cedars and the Daiya River. This path, which translates as "Takino'o Ancient Path", is cobbled, passes several small shrines and temples, and leads to the abyss of Kanama-ga-fuchi, flanked
We hope you enjoy watching this video about Nikko National Park Day Trip from Tokyo, Japan
Source: Viator Travel
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