Nikko Day Trip From Tokyo: Flower in the Mirror, Moon on the Water


An apprentice near a temple will recite the scriptures untaught

For a spiritual reset after the commotion of Tokyo, and a fascinating glimpse into the ancient culture of Japan, I went on an excursion for two nights to the 1200-year-old idyllic Japanese mountain town of Nikko. Nikko is the perfect day or overnight trip from Tokyo, just about a two-hour train ride out of the city. I stayed in a traditional Ryokan hot springs hotel and enjoyed wandering the streets shopping for handcrafted treasures. I stopped in for delicious hot ramen and sake on my way to Shinkyo Bridge.

It was New Years Day, and such a beautiful way to start the year. I spent the afternoon in a meditative wander through centuries-old shrines surrounded by a peaceful forest of thousands of cedar trees. Nikko Tosho-gu, Yomeimon Shinto Shrine, and Toshogu Gojunoto are all close to one another and walkable from town.




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Experiencing a traditional Ryokan hotel with onsen baths is a must do when in Japan. Ryokan hotels are set up for travelers who have journeyed a long way and are looking to rest and enjoy a delicious meal and time in the sauna and baths. Kanaya Hotel Kinugawa is the perfect place to land after the train ride from Tokyo. The hotel serves incredible food, has gorgeous views of the river, and relaxing hot baths.

Eat + Drink

Aside from the amazing food at the hotel, there are manyy delicious places to eat in Nikko. If you walk up and down Nikko-kaido street, the main street in town, you can find ramen, sushi, dumplings, or any other type of Japanese food you’re craving.




My favorite experience in Nikko, and really of our entire trip to Japan, was visiting Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine. A 17th century shrine deep in a cedar forest, there is an ancient wisdom and beautiful peace here. 


Between town and the shrines is the beautiful Shinkyo bridge. Depending on what time of year you visit you may see colorful Autumn leaves, snow, or flowers around the bridge.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the above links are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. 

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