1. Kegon Falls

Location: Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

As a waterfall chaser, this was the #1 reason why I wanted to visit Nikko. With a height of 97 meters, Kegon Falls is one of the tallest in Japan and the most famous of Nikko’s 48 waterfalls. Kegon Falls was indeed very beautiful and worth the trip! An elevator ride takes you down (through 100m of bedrock) to the river at the base of the waterfall. This viewing platform is perfect for photos.

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How to go: The bus to Kegon Falls from Nikko Station takes around 50 minutes. The bus fare is free for holders of the Nikko Pass (All Area Pass). Make sure to get the “All Area Pass” because the more limited “World Heritage Pass” does not include bus routes beyond the main temple area.

To make your trip planning easy, I added links to the locations on Google Maps. Feel free to click/tap on the links posted. Then, use the “save” feature on the Google Maps app for easy reference. I’ve also shared photos from my Instagram feed. Feel free to use Instagram’s save feature for quick access later.

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2. Akechidaira Ropeway (Akechidaira Plateau Viewpoint)

Location: Hosoomachi, Nikko. Save on Google Maps.

Ride the Akechidaira Ropeway up to the observation area, which gives a nice panoramic view of the Nikko region. Looking west, you can see Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji. You also see the lush mountains that surround the Akechidaira Plateau. This is a must-visit especially if you bought a “Nikko All Area Pass” as admission to the Akechidaira Ropeway is included.

3. Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Location: 2301 Sannai, Nikko. Save on Google Maps.

Nikko isn’t only rich in beautiful natural landscapes, it’s also a temple town included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Built during the 17th-century the Toshogu is Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine. This complex features colorful buildings & art, and honors the first shogun (military dictators of medieval Japan).

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4. Shinkyo Bridge

Location: Kamihatsuishimachi, Nikko. Save on Google Maps.

No visit to Nikko is complete without a souvenir photo of the iconic Shinkyo Bridge. This vermillion-colored bridge built during the 1600s can be found at the entrance of Nikko’s temple complex. You can’t miss it!

5. Taiyuin (Iemitsu Mausoleum)

Location: 2300 Sannai, Nikko. Save on Google Maps.

A lavish mausoleum complex dedicated to the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, the grandson of Ieyasu. Like the Toshogu, the Taiyuin or Taiyuimbyo Shrine is composed of many well-decorated buildings in the middle of the peaceful forest. It’s worth spending time to visit when in Nikko.

6. Nikkozan Rinno-ji Temple

Location: 2300 Sannai, Nikko. Save on Google Maps.

Nikko’s most important Buddhist temple. It was founded by the monk, Shodo Shonin, who introduced Buddhism to Nikko. Among the most famous buildings in Rinnō-ji is the Sanbutsudō (Three Buddha Hall). This building features gold-leafed statues of three deities, each a manifestations of Nikko’s three sacred mountains (Mount Nantai, Mount Nyohou, and Mount Tarou).

7. Five-Story Pagoda (Toshogu Gojunoto)

Location: 2301-2 Sannai. Save on Google Maps.

Located outside the entrance of the paid area of the Toshogu. The Five-Story Pagoda offers a great photo opportunity. each story of the 34.3-meter tower represents an element—earth, water, fire, wind and heaven, in ascending order. The first four stories were built in a Japanese style, and the top story in a Chinese style.

8. Nikko Futarasan Shrine (Futarasan Jinja)

Location: 2307 Sannai, Nikko. Save on Google Maps.

The Nikko Futarasan Shrine together with the Toshogu and Rinnoji forms the Shrines and Temples of Nikkō UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although overshadowed by its lavish neighbors, the Nikko Futarasan Shrine is the religious heart of Nikko and is older than the Toshogu. It is in this shrine that the Shinto practice of worshipping mountain deities is preserved.

9. Lake Chuzenji (Chuzenji-ko) Cruise

Location: Chugushi, Nikko. Save on Google Maps.

Lake Chuzenji is a scenic lake found at the foot of Mount Nantai, Nikko’s sacred volcano. We enjoyed a ride aboard the sightseeing boats that go around the lake. These boats depart from Chuzeniko Onsen, the small hot spring town, near Kegon Waterfall. The admission fee is free for Nikko All Area Pass holders.

10. Chuzenji Temple

Location: 2578 Chugushi, Nikko. Save on Google Maps.

A small ancient temple on Lake Chuzenji featuring a large statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy.

What places have you added to your bucketlist? Have you been to beautiful places in Nikko that should be on this list? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Places to visit in Nikko

Nikko tourist spots, things to do in Nikko, where to go in Nikko & more.

Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.

Where to Stay in Nikko

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Book sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms and hotels with high reviews tend to get fully booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons.

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