[Trip] Japan, Tochigi – Half day tour in Nikko

Half day in Nikko is actually a little rush, however, it can still be done.  For me, I have put my top priority as the waterfall and Toshogu shrine, which are the 2 main place I would want to visit and as for the rest I could skip them or visit them next time. In the end, I have carved out a simple itinerary for that day.

Where we went?

Kegon waterfall->Nikko Futarasan Jinja (Photo took only)->Toshogu Shrine-> Shinkyo (Bridge) (Photo only)

Kegon waterfall

The top 3 most beautiful waterfall in Japan, that you shouldn’t miss.


2479-2 Chūgūshi, Nikkō-shi, Tochigi-ken 321-1661, Japan

Getting there?

Hopped onto the bus from Nikko Station and alight at Chuzenji Onsen bus stop. And walk for another 5-10 minutes, you will reach the Kogen waterfall.

For more details: Nikko Bus pass


Adult- 550 Yen

Child- 330 Yen

**This cost is for the elevator that would bring you closer to the waterfall, if you do not want to go down there is an observatory deck at the top too.

Operating Hours:

March – November: 08:00-17:00
December – February: 09:00-16:30
*Operating hours would vary due to unforeseen weather or season

What to see?

This is the view at the top:

The note hanging at the side to tell you that you could get the ticket to go down:

Getting in the elevator:

Inside the elevator:

At the basin of the waterfall, is indeed beautiful:

A photo booth, for family or friends who would like to have a professional photo taken:

Took lots of photos as if there were no tomorrow, only selected ones are here:


It would be good to buy the ticket down to have a look at the basin of the waterfall. However, do note that it might be slippery when you are walking towards the observatory deck. And if the wind is strong you will be a little wet, just prepare a poncho if you want but wouldn’t recommend it because is not that bad.

Getting back to downtown

Board the bus from the Chuzen Onsen bus stop to get back to Nikko station/ downtown:


Nikko Futarasan Jinja & Toshogu Shrine

This is the famous route where most people will do if they are in Nikko. In a day, you could visit the UNESCO Toshogu Shrine, Nikko Futarasan Jinja, and Rinno-Ji.


2301 Sannai, Nikkō-shi, Tochigi-ken 321-1431, Japan

Getting there?

Option 1:

Take the bus from JR Nikko/ Tobu Nikko station that stops at Taiyuin Futarasan Jinja Mae or Nishisandou, that depends on which bus pass you are holding.

Option 2 (My itinerary):

Hopped onto the bus from Chuzenji Onsen bus stop get off at Nishisandou

Walk in here and turn left:

Hike up:

For more details: Nikko Bus pass

We pass by the Futarasan Jinja, took some photos on the outside and went off as we were not really into it.

At Futarasan Jinja:

A wedding ceremony, in progress:


For friend who is interested in visiting the shrine, you would have to pay an entrance fee at the front:

To Toshogu shrine

Continuing our route to the Toshogu shrine:


To note:

Some of the shrine’s building  is currently under renovation, Yomeimon Gate and the Shimojinko (Three Sacred Storehouses)- With huge scaffolding covering estimated completion date would be on the 31st March 2019



Entrance to Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Adult- 1,300 Yen

Child- 450 Yen

*Include all area of the shrine

Operating Hours:

April 1st – October 31st: 08:00-17:00
November 1st- March 31st: 08:00 – 16:00
*Last admission will be 30 minutes before closing

What to see?

Entering Toshugu Shrine

Ticketing counter is at the side:

Entering the shrine:

Gojunoto (Five-Story Pagoda)

Shinkyusha (Sacred Stable) and Sanzaru (Three Wise Monkeys):


Omizuya (Water Purification Building)

Sanjinko (Three Sacred Storehouses)

Walk up the stairs in the front turn to the left before entering Yomeimon leads to the Honjido Hall:

The Honjido Hall:

Little to know:

The crying dragon was originally drawn by Kanou Eishin Yasunobu, but the Nakiryu (Crying Dragon) was burned down in 1961. In 1968,  Katayama Nanpu, the artist restored the drawing.

(Photo taken: my-nikko.com)

To note:

– No photography is allowed

  • The priest will explain in Japanese only

My story

The Crying Dragon(NakiRyu) which is a main highlight of my tour and the most memorable one. Before I step inside the main hall, I felt a tingling sensation on my face( Not sure if everyone will felt the same) and once entered the hall i saw the large painting of a dragon on the ceiling, is so beautiful.

The priest will then explain the history and how the sound works, he will do a demonstration of it by clapping two pieces of wood at the other parts of the dragon body, then directly under its head I could heard a difference in the sound as if it was the dragon crying. Really impressive and then the priest asks all the ladies to move forward to the front so that we hear/ felt it more clearly. I could actually felt the vibration of the sound more stronger when I was closer to the dragon.

Even though you might not understand what the priest is saying, it would be a really good experience if you are visiting Toshogu shrine.

Nemurineko (Sleeping Cat)

Then i went across the Yomeimon to see the Nemurineko (Sleeping Cat):

Painting at the top of the Yomeimon:

Nemurineko (Sleeping Cat)

To the Okumiya (Inner Shrine), a long way up:

To Note: 

Getting up here is not suitable for child trolley.


Haiden (Worship Hall):

Gohoto (Two-Story Pagoda):


It was a great experience for me and the architecture was impressive despite the construction and the amount of visitors that day, after that i had a conversation with my Japanese friend when i meet them for dinner that night, telling them how i felt and they were telling me that this place has a strong aura, when you are inside the shrine or at the inner shrine you could actually felt it and in which i did.  And my friend who are with me did not went in because they felt unwell.


After we leave the Toshogu shrine, we decide to get back to Nikko Station. Hoping that we would be able to see the Shinkyo and get on the schedule bus on time. We were really lucky as we took a short cut and got down to the shinkyo without any time wasted,

To get enter the shinkyo a entrance fee of 300 yen is applicable:


Is not necessary to pay for the entrance fee, which i felt is not worth the money since you could just take photos from here. Walking over here from the Nikko station is quite near too if you have the time.

That end my day in Nikko, and hope that i could come back again after the Toshogu Shrine and Rinno-Ji is fully renovated. Which is maybe 2-3 years later.

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