Nikko, located in northwestern Tochigi Prefecture, is an idyllic, picturesque town teeming with historical sites, breathtaking wilderness, and delectable delicacies. The town flourished as a gateway to the Tosho-gu Shrine, cultivating a unique culture as sightseers flocked to witness these magnificent structures.
While a well-known destination for international travelers to Japan, off the beaten path, lies a wealth of hidden gems, and the full breadth of Nikko remains largely unknown.
In this article, we’ll introduce 20 Nikko recommendations, including sightseeing, experiences, food, and shopping, separated by the four seasons. Read on to discover how to make the most of this one-of-a-kind destination!
Main photo: PIXTA

Things to Do in Nikko All Year

Sightseeing: Explore the Wonders of Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine
Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine is one of Japan’s most prestigious spiritual structures and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site registered as part of the “Shrines and Temples of Nikko.” The shrine is famous for its connection to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate and instigator of the Edo period.
Many of the current Tosho-gu Shrine buildings were erected in 1636 under the third shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, grandson of Ieyasu. Within the complex are eight designated National Treasures and 34 Important Cultural Properties, offering lots to explore. There are also dozens of other historic shrines and temples nearby, including Futarasan Shrine and Rinno-ji Temple, all encompassed by deep wilderness irresistible to the adventurous spirit!

Nikko Tosho-gu
2301, Sannai, Nikko-shi, Tochigi

Nikko Toshogu Shrine: Complete World Heritage Site Guide (Access, Key Sights & More)

Experience: Jump Back in Time at Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
If you’ve ever fantasized about being an Edo-period samurai, Nikko is where dreams become a reality!
Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura is a historical theme park centered around an Edo period (1603-1867) townscape rendered with extraordinary detail. Inside are exciting shows and experiences, including the Oiran Courtesan Procession, Grand Ninja Theater, and even samurai training classes. Combine this with mazes, prisons, temples, and scrumptious retro dining, and you’ve got a day’s worth of fun!

Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
470-2, Karakura, Nikko-shi, Tochigi

Edo Wonderland: 6 Popular Spots in Japan's Cultural Theme Park – Be a Ninja or a Samurai For the Day

Photo: PIXTA

Food: Yuba Tofu
One of the most beloved dishes of Nikko is “yuba,” a type of tofu made from soy milk boiled into a thin skin. While yuba is found across several regions of Japan, Nikko’s rendition is unique for having the skin wrapped up for a more voluminous helping. There are specialty restaurants serving fresh, delicious yuba all throughout Nikko, so definitely give it a try!

Things to Do in Nikko in Spring

Photo: PIXTA


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