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Nikko National Park

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Nikko National Park is located 77.7 miles (125 km) north of Tokyo in the northern part of Japan. The national park encompasses an area of 443.06 square miles (1,147.53 sq km).  Oze National Park, originally part of Nikko, is an adjacent national park located on the western border of Nikko’s boundaries.

The historical Buddhist shrines and temples combined with the stunning landscapes of nature have earned Nikko a UNESCO World Heritage designation.  A 2-day excursion out of Tokyo enables visitors to experience much of what the park has to offer.  The people of Japan believe this is one of their most beautiful places of nature.

The park is comprised of rivers, lakes, waterfalls, mountains, forests, and plateaus.  Shrines, temples, and bridges are dispersed across the park adding to the cultural and natural landscapes that draw many locals and international guests to the park.

Lake Chuzenii covers 4.49 square miles (11.62 sq km) of the area and offers picturesque lake landscapes.  Kegon Falls reaches a height of 318 feet (97 m) and is one of Japan’s three highest waterfalls.  Ryuzu Falls at 200 feet (60 m) is a sister waterfall worthy of the views.

Mount Nantai, with a summit of 8,156 feet (2,486 m) and Mount Nikko-Shirane, with a peak of 8,458 feet (2,578 m) are beautiful mountains both offering hiking trails up to the summit.  The views out over the valleys and scenic landscapes of the park are worth the challenging endeavor.

The park is also famous for the abundance of plants and tree species.  Maples, firs, white-skunk cabbage, and Japanese cedar are some of the more popular.  Collectively, they also work together to create stunning fall foliage landscapes.  This is one of the best times to visit the park when the colors of the trees change creating spectacular pallets of colors across the forested valleys and mountainsides.

Toshogu is renowned as one of the most breathtakingly decorated shrines.  Along with this stunning work of craftsmanship, travelers can also see the Hall of the Medicine Buddha, statues of the three wise monkeys, and the intricately decorated Yomei-mon Gate.  These cultural and historical features add to the park experience and help make it a destination for everyone.


The abundance of opportunities, both culturally and naturally, is one of the highlights of Nikko National Park.  Kegon, Kirifuri-Kogen, and Ryuzu Falls along with river and lake landscapes all make for highlights for those that get out and hike.

Hiking is probably the most common and pursued activity within the park.  It is a great way to experience the cultural and natural features of the park.  The flowering months of April and May or the colored fall foliage are two of the favorite times to visit.

Nikko National Park Trails

Nikko National Park is a great place to go walking and hiking with numerous trails.  Some are more challenging than others, but there are options for everyone.  Hiking around Nikko National Park is one of the best ways to experience the cultural and natural features of the park.

Nikko Highlights

  • Senjogahara Plateau
  • Lake Chuzenji
  • Senjugahama Beach
  • Kegon Falls and Kirifuri-Kogen
  • Ryuokyo Gorge
  • Setoaikyo Canyon
  • Cultural Heritage (Toshogu shrine, Rinno-ji Buddhist temple)

Park Map