Largest City


Heavyweight cultural heritage with a breathtaking natural landscape

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

A rewarding destination at any time of the year, Tochigi encompasses everything you need for a complete “I’m in Japan” experience just two hours north of Tokyo. Beyond shrines and temples, there’s remote hot springs, gorgeous seasonal parks, traditional crafts, and a hardcore dedication to the production and consumption of gyoza. It’s an easy day trip from the capital but merits much more.

Nikko, Tochigi, Japan - May 05, 2009: Three Wise Monkeys (Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil). Famous wooden carving above the gate to the sacred stables at the Toshogu sanctuary in Nikko.

The Three Wise Monkeys at  Nikko’s Toshogu Shrine are a must-see.

You shouldn’t and couldn’t ignore Nikko as a stop on your Tochigi travels. The grand Toshogu Shrine is just one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that make up the area, part of the Nikko National Park which extends into the surrounding Gunma, Niigata, and Fukushima prefectures. This is where the famous warrior Tokugawa Ieyasu is buried and the grand, gilded buildings provide a suitably stately setting.

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. In Nikko you can also watch painters mastering the art of hitofude ryu, using one single stroke to paint the body of a dragon.

Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Japan

Photo by: Panoramio Ashikaga Flower Park is covered in beautiful wisteria in spring.

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, sinking in (relative) silence in one of the hot springs that connect to form the Nasu-onsen-kyo at the foot of the Nasu volcano.

What other city in Japan is famous for gyoza?

Yaki Gyouza1
Utsunomiya is the prefectural capital, right in the center of Tochigi. This is also Japan’s gyoza capital, with more than 200 specialty stores plying various versions of the delicious Chinese dumpling. You’ll know you’ve arrived by the gyoza statue in front of the main station. The city mostly functions as a well-connected base but while there you can visit the underground Oya-ishi quarry ruins to see the local Oya stone in its other-worldly glory.

In the southwest, mountainous Ashikaga is a beautiful place for witnessing the wisteria in spring. Ashikaga Flower Park has more than 350 wisteria, which are lit up in the evening, as well as the usual wisteria-themed food and drink to ramp up the botanic effect. Over a November weekend, the Coco Farm and Winery hosts a huge wine festival to celebrate the harvest and the last days of sunshine before the winter sets in.

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


Yaki Gyouza1

What other city in Japan is famous for gyoza?

Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture! Check out what other famous foods you have to eat in this coastal prefecture.


Places to visit

Lake Chuzenji, Japan at sunrise in autumn

Lake Chuzenji

Beat the Tokyo heat at Lake Chuzenji.


Autumn has never looked this good.

Dragon Art Kosyuya

The best souvenirs have dragons.


Let these country roads take you home.


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.

Other Destinations in Kanto

Kujukuri Beach Chiba Prefecture


There’s a lot more to Japan’s international gateway than you might expect.

Takaragawa Onsen in Gunma Prefecture Japan


Within toe-dipping distance of Tokyo, Gunma's onsen haven is the perfect bathing escape.

Fukuroda Falls, Ibaraki


Full of interesting sights, Ibaraki prefecture should natto be underestimated.

Yokohama is Tokyo's chic and cosmopolitan neighbor.


Kanagawa offers much more than just a convenient location.

Tunnel of Ema at Hikawa Shrine Saitama 2


If you’re looking for a no-hassle escape from the city life, Saitama is the place to run to.

Tokyo Skyline Japan Tokyo Tower


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Tokyo Skyline Japan Tokyo Tower


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2015: Crowds pass below colorful signs in Akihabara. The well known electronics district specializes in the sales of video games, anime, manga, and computer goods.


Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

Ghibli Museum

A whimsical wonderland that is heartbreakingly charming.