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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in nikko
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in nikko, Bed and Breakfast!
Nikko is above all known for the mausoleums of the Tokugawa Shoguns, which have made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. Unlike most Japanese temples and shrines, the buildings here are extremely gaudy and ornate, with multicolored carvings and plenty of gold leaf, and show heavy Chinese influence. Some sense of dignity is restored by a magnificent forest of over 13,000 cedar trees, covering the entire area.
The fastest and most convenient way to access Nikko is on the private T?bu Nikk? Line (?????) from Tokyo's Asakusa station.
Rapid, or Kaisoku (??) trains, which depart from Asakusa each hour, take about 2 hours to reach Nikko and cost ¥1320 each way. You must board one of the first two cars, since the train divides en route. Timetable (http://www.tobuland.com/foreign/timetable.html)
In addition, Tobu runs all-reserved limited express services, known as Tokky? (??) trains, to the area. These trains, which use Tobu's "SPACIA" railroad equipment, have comfortable, reclining seats, with vending machines available on most trains.
One service, called Kegon (???) runs directly from Asakusa to Nikko in the morning, and back to Asakusa in the afternoon. There is one daily departure from Asakusa at 7:30 am, and depending on the season, there may be an additional departure at either 8:30 am or 9:30 am. The other service, Kinu (??), departs from Asakusa more frequently, but branches off to Kinugawa so you will need to transfer at Shimo-Imaichi station (???) to a local shuttle train for the final 10-minute run to Nikko. This train is timed to meet the Kinu arrival.
The Kegon run takes 1 hour 45 minutes; the Kinu run with transfer takes 1 hour 50 minutes.
The drawback is the cost: ¥2720 each way for either service. However, if you purchase a World Heritage Pass (see below), you can "upgrade" to these services at a discounted cost each way.
Travel by JR costs more and takes longer, and isn't really worth considering unless you have a Japan Rail Pass, in which case you can take the Tohoku Shinkansen (Yamabiko, Max Yamabiko, Tsubasa or Nasuno) to Utsunomiya, then connect to the JR Nikko line. The trip from Tokyo Station will take around 2 hours; with a good connection in Utsunomiya, about 1 hour 40 minutes. The JR railway station in Nikko is designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
JR East and Tobu have announced joint plans to offer limited-express service from Shinjuku station to the Nikko area.
This service will begin on March 18, 2006, and will offer one daily round-trip between Shinjuku and Tobu-Nikko station. The Nikko limited express will depart Shinjuku at 7:12, and make stops at Ikebukuro and Omiya, then continue via JR tracks to Kurihashi station, where control of the train is turned over to Tobu. Operating over the Tobu Nikko line, the train will then make three more stops before terminating at Tobu-Nikko at 9:08. The return trip will depart Tobu-Nikko at 17:35, arriving in Shinjuku at 19:18. This is all in addition to Tobu's regularly-scheduled Spacia service into and out of Asakusa.
Seat reservations will be mandatory, and the fare for this journey will be ¥3900 each way. As of this writing, it remains to be seen if all or part of the trip will be covered under the Japan Rail Pass.
Both stations are about two kilometers to the west of the shrine area. You can take a bus, or walk for about 20-30 minutes, following the pedestrian signs along the main road. Halfway between the stations and shrines, you can stop at a Tourist Information Center to get maps, ask questions (some English spoken), and quench your thirst with water from a small, ladle-drawn waterfall.
It's best to buy a combination ticket (???????, ¥1,000) that covers Toshogu, Rinnoji and Futarasan, as separate admissions are ¥600 each. You can buy this at any of the three sites.
Tobu Railways also offers a World Heritage Pass to foreign tourists only for ¥3760. Valid within two days, it includes a round trip from the Asakusa train station to the Nikko train station (Local or Rapid trains only), unlimted rides on Tobu bus from Nikko station to the shrines, and admission to Toshogu, Rinnoji and Futarasan. It also includes Local or Rapid train travel to the Kinugawa Onsen area. The pass must be purchased at Asakusa station.
With the World Heritage Pass, you can optionally reserve seats for travel on the Kegon or Kinu limited express trains (see above) at the discounted fare of between ¥1040 and ¥1120 (sometimes as low as ¥800) each way. If you are travelling with a small group, you can reserve a compartment, which seats 4 people, at a discounted rate.
Another option is the Nikko Kinugawa Pass for ¥5000, which lets you to ride all Tobu trains between Asakusa, Nikko and Kinugawa for four consecutive days and is also valid for all buses in the area, to Chuzenji for instance. It doesn't include admission to the Nikko temples though.
Nikko National Park offers plenty of hiking opportunities.
Yuba, the 'skin' that forms on top when making tofu, seems to be everywhere in Nikko. Even if you're not a fan of tofu, it tastes pretty good, especially with soba (buckwheat noodles in a soup broth).
Nikko can be covered in a busy day trip from Tokyo, but it's also a good place to spend the night, especially in a traditional Japanese ryokan guesthouse. The shrines are quite atmospheric early in the morning and at dusk, when the tour buses are not around.