Explore Nikko to see the best of Japan

Nikko is a truly diverse destination. Ornate shrines coexist with towering peaks, dramatic waterfalls, rejuvenating hot springs and sublime cuisine. It’s no wonder that Nikko’s most historic shrines and temples are designated World Heritage sites and National Treasures of Japan. Their striking architecture is in perfect harmony with the surrounding cedar forests and mountain slopes. Nikko also has an incredible history as it is the location of important Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Enjoy this offbeat attraction as it not only showcases Japan in a completely different manner but also promises an experience of a lifetime.

The British Embassy Villa Memorial Park

One can spend some quality time while enjoying some of the attractions at Nikko like The British Embassy Villa Memorial Park is a garden where you can enjoy the abundant nature on the shores of Lake Chuzenji and experience the history of the area as an international summer resort. The buildings within the ground are reconstructions of the personal summer house built in 1896 for Sir Ernest Mason Satow, a British diplomat who exerted a significant influence on the Meiji revolution and was used for many years afterwards as the official British Embassy Villa. Here one can also experience the cafe “Tea Room Minami Yonban Classic” on the second floor as it serves tea sets with authentic scones, which are supervised by the chef of the British Embassy in Japan. Tobu-Nikko Station is easily accessible from Tokyo’s Asakusa and Shinjuku stations in about two hours. Purchase a NIKKO PASS all area and enjoy not only the shrines and temples of Nikko’s world heritage sites but also other destinations including the Okunikko area and Lake Chuzenji as well as Kinugawa Onsen. 

Talking about the Italian Embassy Villa Memorial Park, which is located near British Embassy Villa Memorial Park, was built as a summer house for the Italian Embassy in 1928, and used by the successive ambassadors until 1997. It is characterized by the modern atmosphere with a blend of Japanese and Western styles with the interior and exterior walls decorated with cedar bark.

While in Japan, one must visit is Tobu World Square a theme park in the Kinugawa Onsen area of Nikko that exhibits 1/25th scale replicas of famous buildings from around the world. The models include ancient monuments, cultural treasures and UNESCO World Heritage Sites which are reproduced with great detail all the way down to cars, trains and miniature people populating the sites, and with gardens that change with the seasons. The park is divided into zones based on regions of the world. The Asia Zone features the most iconic and symbol of love in India The Taj Mahal. The preciseness of the replica building is so delightful to look at and if you love miniatures, you’ll appreciate the details spent in creating the structure.

Yet another interesting site to visit is the Edo Wonderland, there is still a slice of the Edo Period left to find. Step back in time to 17th century Japan and explore the beauty, culture and interesting characters of the Edo Era. Enjoy delicious food, fun activities and a variety of entertaining performances. Explore the village freely and interact with the friendly locals, they love to chat and have their photo taken. Stop by Jiku the kimono rental shop and become the Edo character of your choice! While in town be sure to check out all the theatres, try out Edo-period cuisine and occupations, and before you know it you’ll be a real Edo citizen!

Also, Tochigi is Japan’s leading prefecture when it comes to cultivating delicious strawberries, so there is a variety of widely known strawberry brands, such as Tochiotome, Skyberry, and others.

Every summer, many strawberry-picking farms are swarming with visitors who would like to partake in the delicious and exciting activity of “picking your own strawberries”, so the farms get busy and lively with energetic crowds of people. 

If Shrines attracts you, then Toshogu Shrine is a must-visit with a lavishly decorated shrine complex consisting of more than a dozen buildings set in a beautiful forest. Countless wood carvings and large amounts of gold leaf were used to decorate the buildings in a way not seen elsewhere in Japan, where simplicity has been traditionally stressed in shrine architecture. Visitors may note that Toshogu contains both Shinto and Buddhist elements. It was common for places of worship to contain elements of both religions until the Meiji Period when Shinto was deliberately separated from Buddhism.

In addition to the Nikko Toshogu Shrine and the other World Heritage Sites of Nikko, there are many hidden scenic spots all around in Tochigi prefecture. The local food is also renowned for its delicious taste, making Tochigi a destination that will satisfy everyone! It’s a great place to visit with family or friends, as it offers many fun activities to enjoy, too!

International visitors are eligible for a discount pass that includes round-trip train fare, as well as unlimited rides for bus and train services on trains designated, are in the Nikko area including the World Heritage area (and the Kinugawa-onsen area).


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