Heading from the busy city of Tokyo to the beautiful Nikko? Great choice. Nikko is up north of Tokyo and is famous for its amazing shrines and nature. There are  a few different ways to travel from Tokyo to Nikko, depending on your budget and how much time you have. Let’s get into it.

Option 1: Direct Train

Tobu Railways Limited Express Spacia To Nikko

For a straightforward trip, direct trains are your best friend. The Tobu Railway’s Limited Express Spacia runs this service. The train departs from Tokyo’s Asakusa station and gets you to Tobu-Nikko station in about two hours.

A one-way ticket costs around 4,000 yen, but if you plan to travel around the area, consider getting the All Nikko Pass. It includes the round-trip fare from Asakusa to Nikko and unlimited bus rides in the Nikko area for two days, all for 4,520 yen. That’s not a bad deal if you’re out for some serious sightseeing.

See below for more details on the All Nikko Pass.

Option 2: Shinkansen + Local Train

While direct trains offer convenience, there’s another option that brings a different kind of experience: a mix of the Shinkansen and local trains.

The Shinkansen Route

Start your journey by hopping on the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Utsunomiya Station. This leg of the journey will set you back about 4,910 yen for a non-reserved seat, but you’re paying for the unique experience of Japan’s world-renowned high-speed rail service.

If you have a JR rail Pass this is the way to go.

Switch To The Local Train from Utsunomiya to Nikko

Once you arrive in Utsunomiya, you’ll switch to a local train. Take the JR Nikko line to Nikko, a ride that costs 760 yen and takes approximately 45 minutes.

While the total cost is slightly higher than the direct train (if you don’t hold a JR Pass)  , this option offers the added experience of riding the famous Shinkansen, which might be on your Japan bucket list. Plus, the total travel time is quite similar to the direct train, so you’re not sacrificing much time for this unique experience.

Options 3: Highway Buses

Perhaps you’re not in a rush, and you’re looking to save some yen. Highway buses provide a cost-effective if somewhat longer, option to reach Nikko from Tokyo.

The Highway Bus Route

Tobu Bus Central operates highway buses from Tokyo’s Asakusa and Shinjuku areas to Nikko. The journey lasts about 3-3.5 hours depending on traffic conditions. This option might take a bit longer, but it’s a great way to take in the Japanese landscape on your way to Nikko.


A one-way ticket from Asakusa or Shinjuku to Nikko costs around 2,000 yen, making this option less expensive than both the direct train and the Shinkansen + local train combo.

Remember, however, that bus times are subject to traffic conditions, so do factor in some buffer time if you’re planning to catch the bus.

The All Nikko Pass: Your Key to Nikko

Tobu Railways Limited Express Spacia To Nikko

If you plan to travel around Nikko and enjoy its abundant sightseeing spots, the All Nikko Pass can be a cost-effective choice.

What is the All Nikko Pass?

The All Nikko Pass is a tourist pass that offers unlimited rides on designated train and bus routes, discounts at select tourist spots, and other perks. It’s designed to help travelers explore Nikko and its surrounding areas at an affordable price.

What’s Covered?

This pass includes a round-trip fare from Asakusa to Nikko on the Tobu Railway lines, plus unlimited bus rides in the Nikko and Kinugawa-Onsen areas for the duration of its validity. If you want to explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nikko or take a dip in the hot springs of Kinugawa-Onsen, this pass has got you covered.

Pricing and Validity

The All Nikko Pass costs 4,520 yen for adults and 2,290 yen for children. The pass is valid for two days, which should give you plenty of time to enjoy the scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage of the Nikko region.

Where to Buy?

You can purchase the All Nikko Pass at Tobu Tourist Information Center Asakusa, located in Tobu Asakusa Station, where staff members can assist you in multiple languages.

Choosing the All Nikko Pass can significantly streamline your Nikko exploration, especially if you’re planning to visit multiple attractions in the area. Safe and happy travels.

The Sum Up

Tobu Railways Limited Express Spacia To Nikko

Deciding on the best way to get from Tokyo to Nikko ultimately depends on your preferences, budget, and schedule.

For Convenience

If you want a straightforward, no-nonsense journey, the direct Tobu Railway train from Asakusa station is a fantastic option. Although it’s a bit more expensive at around 4,000 yen one way, the convenience and speed are worth it.

For the Shinkansen Experience

For those who want to tick the Shinkansen off their Japan travel bucket list, taking the bullet train to Utsunomiya and then switching to a local train to Nikko can be an exciting option. The cost is slightly higher, but the experience is unique.

For Budget Travelers

Budget-conscious travelers might prefer the highway bus, which costs around 2,000 yen for a one-way trip. Just bear in mind that the journey can be affected by traffic, so it may take longer.

For Independent Explorers

Finally, if you want the freedom to explore on your own schedule and are comfortable with driving in Japan, renting a car is a great choice. Do remember to factor in the cost of rental, fuel, and toll fees, and don’t forget to get your International Driving Permit before your trip.

No matter which option you choose, Nikko’s stunning shrines and beautiful natural surroundings will make your journey worthwhile. Safe travels.

Tokyo Trip Checklist

  • If you’re traveling on the bullet train see our guide on how to reserve and buy Shinkansen tickets online.
  • The Much-loved Japan Rail Pass Surged in Price by a massive 70% in October.
  • We recommend a 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to get around Tokyo cheaply and easily.
  • If you plan on visiting Mt Fuji check out our list of the best Mt Fuji group or private tours from Tokyo
  • You’ll need a prepaid sim or Portable WIFI to stay connected in Japan
  • To ensure you have all the important things covered see our Tokyo travel guide.
  • For more hotel booking help check out the following popular articles:
  • Where To Stay Near Tokyo Station: 10 Best Hotels Close To Tokyo Station
  • 8 Top Luxury Hotels In Tokyo
  • 11 Best Ryokans in Tokyo
  • 13 Best Hotels Near Shibuya Crossing: Where To Stay Near Shibuya Scramble

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