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Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Utsunomiya
Population
2,004,787

Tochigi

Heavyweight cultural heritage with a breathtaking natural landscape

Hear Tochigi, see Tochigi, speak (about) Tochigi.

A worthwhile destination any time of the year, Tochigi encompasses everything you need for a complete “Japan experience,” and it’s only two hours north of Tokyo. There are inexpensive train passes available for tourists that include roundtrip transportation, which can be purchased at Tobu tourist information centers inside Ikebukuro and Asakusa stations.

Beyond shrines and temples, there are remote hot springs towns, gorgeous seasonal parks, traditional crafts and a hardcore dedication to strawberry cultivation. It’s an easy day trip from the capital that offers a different experience with the seasons’ changing.

Nikko

Nikko Futarasan shrine in Tochigi

Nikko Futarasan Shrine

Arguably the most popular destination in Tochigi is Nikko. This town serves as the gateway to the Nikko National Park and is home to the grand Toshogu Shrine, just one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites that make up the area. Founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu is also enshrined here.

Discover Nikko

You can also spot the famous Three Wise Monkeys carving depicting the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” proverb. You’ll likely have to elbow your way through the tourist route as Nikko is enormously popular, especially for autumn leaves viewing. You can also watch painters mastering the art of Hitofude Ryu, using one single stroke to paint the body of a dragon.

For a bit of natural beauty, travel northwest to the Oku-Nikko region to see the Kegon-no-taki waterfall and Lake Chuzenji at the bottom of Mount Nantai. Escape the crowds by heading further to the Nasu highlands, soaking in (relative) silence in one of the hot springs that connect to form the Nasu-onsen-kyo at the base of Mount Nasu.

Ashikaga

Ashikaga Tochigi Japan

A pink wisteria blossom tree in Ashikaga.

In the southwest, mountainous Ashikaga is a beautiful place for viewing the wisteria in spring. Ashikaga Flower Park has more than 350 wisterias, which are lit up in the evening, as well as the usual wisteria-themed food and drinks to ramp up the botanic effect.

Don’t forget to try the soba. It’s a local specialty. The soba’s flavor changes seasonally as the ingredients are kneaded into the dough instead of being used as toppings. If you have any time remaining, try visiting one of the many strawberry farms in the prefecture. Tochigi is also known as the “Strawberry Kingdom.”

Over a November weekend, the Coco Farm and Winery host a huge wine festival to celebrate the harvest and sunshine during the last days before winter.

Check out some of the best spots Tochigi has to offer below.

Trivia

Discover Nikko

Autumn has never looked this good.

More

Places to visit

Lake Chuzenji, Japan at sunrise in autumn

Lake Chuzenji

Beat the Tokyo heat at Lake Chuzenji.

Nikko

Autumn has never looked this good.


Dragon Art Kosyuya

The best souvenirs have dragons.

Nasu

Let these country roads take you home.


Ashikaga

Weeping wisteria, beautiful shrines and a brisk hike up a few mountain trails in lovely Tochigi.

Oyama Honba Yuki Tsumugi Craft Museum

Get your kimono on in style.


Nikko, Japan - November 1, 2012: A shinto priest sweeps under the Yomeimon gate at Tosho-gu Shrine. Founded in 1617, the remains of the first shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu are entombed here.

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Nikko's star attraction.

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