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Tochigi Travel Guide Experience World Heritage Japanese Culture in Tochigi

Explore UNESCO World Heritage temples and museums. Soak away aches in the onsen - hot springs - Japan is famous for. Taste the sublime delights of local cuisine, from the comfortable to the adventurous. Refresh your spirit in the breathtaking beauty of the mountains and rivers of Tochigi. In the center of Japan's main island, Tochigi is within a short 2 hour trip from Tokyo. With over 100 golf courses in the region, you can play your 18 holes, enjoy a morning of golf, or take a day off from playing and head out for adventure.

Photo: Kegon Falls by Reginald Pentinio

Things to Do

We'll begin with Nikko, a wonderland of things to do and see in Tochigi. Play that round of morning golf, then take a trip to Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura. It's a culture and amusement park that gives you a rare glimpse into the Edo era of old Japan. Enjoy workshops, games, and the theatrics of samurai, geisha, ninja and more.

Another can't miss attraction is Tobu World Square, with it's one hundred + 1:25 scale models of the most famous, UNESCO-designated World Cultural and Heritage Sites. This outdoor museum includes 140,000 miniature people. It's a small world after all!

So, you've enjoyed games, tiny Heritage sites and miniature people…who's ready for a jaunt to an actual Heritage site? Explore the Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, including 5 structures at the shrine that are considered National Treasures of Japan. This is a great way to learn more about Japan's history, local religion, and culture.

High up in the mountains above Nikko, the Kegon Falls at Lake Chuzenji are a very popular tourist destination, and for good reason. The main fall is about 318 feet high (about 97 meters), and you can also see about twelve smaller waterfalls in the area. Japan's Ministry of the Environment lists Kegon as one of Japan's 3 most beautiful falls. The Falls offer breathtaking scenery at any time of year, with particularly spectacular autumn views. One you're in Nikko, a tour bus will get you to the Falls in about an hour.

If you travel to Tochigi in the Spring or Fall, and you're interested in Japanese ceramics, you're in for a treat. At a quick 45 minutes by train from Tokyo Station, the town of Mashiko has held a Pottery Fair since 1966. Visitors come from across Japan and around the world to travel to this pottery center and enjoy the 380 different styles of pottery being produced.  You'll see ancient designs, as well as modern options. You can even try your hand at making pottery yourself! Check out the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art for more information.

Photo: Nikko Tosho-Gu By Kanegan

Flavors of Tochigi

Tochigi offers some of the world's freshest and most delicious food and drink, served in a wide variety of atmospheres to suit your sense of adventure, your pallet, and your wallet! Just one example is the Nasu area of Tochigi for local Sake: there are a wide variety of Sake tastings, and you can even tour a Sake brewery and get a glimpse of the production process. While you're in Nasu (maybe before the Sake tasting), go pick - and eat - some premium "Tochi-Otome" or "Skyberry" strawberries! Yes, Tochigi is Japan's largest strawberry producer, and it's easy to find a farm that caters to visitors.  At local restaurants, try simmered Shimotsukare - vegetables, soybeans and more. Or, go for the dumplings - Gyoza - because Tochigi is famous for it. Tochigi is also famous for a special kind of mushroom, called Shiitake, and there is a buckwheat noodle dish called Shiitake Soba that exemplifies the subtle taste.

Photo: Courtesy of Coco Winery


Events & Seasonal Happenings

Take in the fabulous nature, hot springs and sightseeing at Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji at any time of year.

Cherry Blossom Season (varies between late March - mid-May): revel in the beauty of these blossoms all around Tochigi.  

Mashiko Pottery Fair (Golden Week in May, and around November 3)

Coco Winery Harvest Festival (3rd weekend in November): their festival includes wine tasting and live music, with thousands of visitors each year.

Photo:  Kitsuregawa Sakura By taro gen, CC BY 3.0,

What to bring back

In the time-honored tradition of Japanese friends, family and colleagues bringing gifts back from their travels, Tochigi offers a wide range so you can bring smiles to the folks back home.

Coco winery has many great Red and white wines and can ship boxed wine direct from the vineyard. Authentic sake can make a great gift to bring back home. Or, you can buy Sake cups, Sake sweets, and even Sake cosmetics. You'll find famous Tochigi strawberry sweets packaged to take back home. Manju is another wonderful sweet you can take home: steamed flour dough wrapped around sweet adzuki bean paste. If you're looking for other kinds of gifts, Nikko Toshogu Shrine gives you the chance to get handcrafted items with designs of cherry and peony flowers, dragons and more.

Image: Hajime NAKANO

Where to Stay

There are amazing hotel options in Tochigi. Here are just two of the deluxe experiences available:

Nikko Kanaya Hotel

With its founding in 1873, Nikko Kanaya offers Japanese and Western culture blended seamlessly into the hotel experience, so that you’ll enjoy this unique mix of deluxe relaxation and comfort from your golf and sight-seeing outings. Join such distinguished guests as Frank Lloyd Wright, Soseki Natsume, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller and many more, and find your classic, modern Japan at the Nikko Kanaya Hotel.

Okunikko Yunomori

In the heart of the mountains, relax in the exquisite heat of your private open-air bath (onsen). In this inn’s 12 rooms, you can be intoxicated by nature all around you. Enjoy local Japanese breakfast and dinner, including celebrated Tochigi beef, a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner, seasonal tea ceremony and more. Celebrated for its warm, attentive staff, Okunikko Yunomori is a haven for those who need quiet, comfortable enjoyment.

Photo: Kanaya Hotel by hirotomo t


Your trip to be Tochigi will be filled with majestic nature, the stately treasures of old Japan, and chances to take in everything from traditional theme parks to Sake tours. Your palate will thank you no matter how adventurous your tastes, as the fresh air, water and nature of the area produce superb local cuisine.

Getting there

Tochigi is a trip you can make in a day from Tokyo on Japan's superb public transportation. It's about 1 hour from Tokyo Station to Utsunomiya by Shinkansen or 1.5 hours from Asakusa Station taking the Tobu line to reach Ashikaga or further on to Nikko.

While you're in Nikko, there are many forms of public transportation connecting attractions, and you can also rent a car. Keep in mind that it's a very popular area, so you may need to book the car way ahead of your arrival.


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