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Nikko is also accessible via Tobu Railways from Tokyo. The Tobu terminal station in Tokyo for trains to Nikko is Tobu Asakusa Station, which can be accessed by subway.
There are hourly rapid trains (kaisoku) between Asakusa and Nikko, which take about 125 minutes and cost 1320 Yen one way. In the morning and afternoon, there are also a few limited express trains (all seats reserved) called "Kegon" which only take 105 minutes, but cost 2620 Yen one way.
**All prices subject to change.
Tobu also offers various free passes, which includes the round trip to Nikko (by kaisoku) and unlimited usage of buses in the Nikko area.
Please note, however, the Japan Rail Pass is not valid on Tobu trains.
Updated Feb 22, 2005
Nikko can be reached by Tobu Railways or Japan Railways (JR).
Take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen (from Tokyo or Ueno Station) to Utsunomiya Station, where you transfer to the JR Nikko Line. With a good connection at Utsunomiya, the one way trip takes about 100 minutes and costs around 5000 Yen (subject to change).
We took the JR train because we were travelling on a JR Rail Pass. If you don't have the pass, taking the JR option is more expensive. It is only a good option for those that have the JR Rail Pass. If not, I will recommend taking the Tobu line (see next transport tip)
Updated Feb 27, 2005
It is about two kms from Nikko town railway station to the Tosho-gu shrine area. It is a bit uphill, but it is a pleasant walk, at list early in the morning. The last 500 m (after the bridge) are through the shrine park, with lush vegetation around.
Written Feb 9, 2003
Most people arrive to Nikko by train.
There is a local train line from Tokyo (NOT the national JR) directly to Nikko; trains are a bit old fashioned (nothing to do with the Shinkansen) and slow (about 2 hrs) but it's OK. The other chance is to arrive by regular JR train from Utsunomiya. The railway station is in Nikko town, about 2 kms from the Tosho-gu shrines.
Written Feb 9, 2003
The Tobu train company offers a varieties of train and bus passes that take you from Tokyo (Asakusa) to Nikko and the area beyond. It really is a good deal if you are spending at least a couple of days there. There is so muuh to see in that area, with lots of outdoor activities. With the pass, you can board a Tobu bus and stop anywhere you like. The ride up to Yumoto Onsen, for example, is already over 1000 yen.
Make sure you get into the right car in Asakusa station, with the destination "Nikko" clearly indicated on the side of the train, as well as inside. As they take some cars out beyond a certain point.
If you are planning for a same day return trip, you can buy the one-way ticket, at the station. Or get discounted ticket from the discounted ticket shops. There is a few in front of Shinjuku station.
Updated Mar 16, 2007
The easist way to get to Nikko from Tokyo is an express train of Tobu Railway, named SPACIA. Though the train is narrow gauge despite its name, the seats are comfortable.
SPACIA is a generic name for limited express trains of Tobu. Actual trains are named Kegon or Kinu depending on its destination.
Fare: From Asakusa to Nikko, 1320 yen (transportation fare) + 1300 yen (express fare). Express far is 1400 yen on weekends and 1000 yen at night. A compartment for 4 adults costs extra 3000 yen (3600 yen for weekends).
Written Sep 22, 2005
Took the special express train (1 hour 45 minutes) from Asakusa station, via Utsunomiya to Nikko using Tobu line. Get a bento to eat in the train.
Alternatively, you can take a day bus tour from Tokyo.
Written Sep 12, 2006
Tobu Travel Tokusen No Tabi "Kinugawa Yu-yu Plan" is a package of Tobu Railway express train from Tokyo and a hotel accommodation in Kinugawa Onsen, sold by Tobu Travel.
This includes: 1) Roundtrip by a limited express train from Asakusa, Tokyo, to Kinugawa Onsen with free train rides in Kinugawa and Nikko area, and 2) accommodation at a hotel in Kinugawa Onsen with some benefits such as free use of karaoke room and ping-pong room, etc.
The price ranges from 13,500 yen to 25,600 yen per person depending of season, week of day and number of people per room. We used this plan from Wednesday through Thursday in mid September, before the autumn foliage, by two persons. The price was 16,100 yen for one person.
If you want to go to Nikko / Kinugawa area by train and enjoy onsen, this is a very good plan.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
The Tobu World Heritage Pass seems to be the cheapest way to go there. 3600 Yen for a return trip from Tobu Asakusa Station valid 2 day's including the bus to the tempels, and the entrance fee for Rinno-ji (under renovation at the moments), Toshu-gu, Futarasan-jinja and Taiyuin-byo.
Buy the pass at groundfloor of the Tobu Asakusastation.
The train ticket by itself is 1320 Yen each way, the bus 250 Yen each way and the combined entrance fee is 1000 Yen (the ticket for Toshu-gu is 1350 Yen if bought alone). The Seishun18kippu ticket from JR would be 2300 Yen per day in a 5 day pack unlimited travel on very slow trains in vacation times only. It is a quite interresting ticket but in the case of Nikko only if you walk and avoid paying the entrance fees.
Updated Mar 9, 2012
If you don't have a Japan Rail pass and you're staying in the Asakusa area of Tokyo, you may also take the Tobu railways direct train from Asakusa station to Nikko. At 1hr and 40 minutes, time is pretty much comparable to the JR train combination of Shinkansen and Nikko line, but it is a cheaper option for those without the pass.
Written Aug 18, 2012
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