Nikko is a place where history and culture abound. It is famed for the Nikko National Park, Lake Chuzenji, Toshogu (mausoleum of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu), Rinno-ji Temple and other popular attractions. Like most places in Japan, the colors of autumn that paint Nikko is a sight to behold.

Autumn is the time where tourists go to Nikko and enjoy the hiking trails, which leads them to beautiful natural attractions. It is also the time when the lush green forests turn into a wonderland that can take your breath away.

Explore the hidden gems of Nikko and visit these 10 places to see autumn leaves and keep them in your memories.

1. Yumoto Onsen Town

Yumoto Onsen Town is a small and quiet town surrounded by the beauty of nature. As the name suggests, this area has a lot of hotsprings. The source of the hot water is located in the Yunodaira Marsh. You can even see the hot water bubbling from there. To fully enjoy your hotspring experience it would be advisable to stay at any hotel or ryokans that offer outdoor baths. These baths usually have scenic views of the surrounding nature, which makes the experience more memorable.

Address: Yumoto, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture


2. Yudaki Waterfall

Yudaki Waterfall is one of the most popular attractions in Nikko. With a height of 70 meters and a width of 25 meters, this waterfall gives a majestic impression, especially during autumn. For those who love to hike, the waterfall can be accessed by following the Senjogahara Plateau hiking course. For those who prefer to take it easy, a bus ride will solve all your problems. The waterfall surrounded by the colors of autumn is simply amazing.

Address: Yumoto, Nikko-ku, Tochigi Prefecture


3. Ryuzu Waterfall

Ryuzu Waterfall means “Dragon Head Waterfall” in Japanese. It is also one of the three great waterfalls of Nikko. You can get there by car or by riding the bus. The view will certainly be more beautiful when its autumn. There is a nearby restaurant where you can stay and relax. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can explore the scenery that is around the waterfall.

Address: Chugushi, Nikko-ku, Tochigi Prefecture


4. Lake Chuzenji

Lake Chuzenji is located in the mountain above the town of Nikko. It is a beautiful lake, and the views are equally impressive as well. The mountains that surround it including Mt. Nantai is bound to give you a lasting impression. It’s the perfect place to take a stroll and appreciate the marvels of nature. If you want to get up-close and personal, you can join the boat tours that circle around the lake.

Address: Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture


5. Kegon Waterfall

Kegon Waterfall is considered one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. The water from the falls came from Lake Chuzenji. The waterfall is 97 meters high and the sight is breathtaking in Mid-October. There is a special elevator that will allow you to reach the basin and you can truly feel the force of the waterfall from the platform. The view of both Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall can be seen at the Akechidara Observatory (you can access it via the ropeway in the Akechidaira Plateau).

Address: 2479-2 Chugushi, Nikko-ku, Tochigi Prefecture


6. Irohazaka Winding Road

Irohazaka Winding Road serves as an access point that connects to lower elevations in Central Nikko and the higher elevation of Okunikko. Ironically, the winding road is very popular due to the fact that the 48 curves represent the 48 ancient Japanese alphabets. Appreciating the wonderful colors of autumn while driving along these stable yet dangerous looking curves is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Address: Chugushi, Nikko-ku, Tochigi Prefecture


7. Senjogahara Marshland

Senjogahara Marshland is the most popular hiking trail in Nikko. It covers a wide area which includes Lake Chuzenji and Yumoto Onsen. It is a place that is often visited by locals and tourists alike. The trek in the marshland is highly recommended during autumn. Surrounded by the colorful foliage, it creates a picturesque sight that can only be seen at this time of year. All you need to do is follow the hiking trail (wooden trails) and let the sight calm your senses.

Address: Chugushi, Nikko-ku, Tochigi Prefecture


8. Shinkyo Bridge

Shinkyo Bridge has a length of 27.8 meters and a width of 7.4 meters. According to the legend, the high priest and founder of Rinnoji along with his disciples arrived here but was unable to cross due to the strong current of the river. He then prayed, and the god answered his prayer by throwing two serpents that turned into a bridge and connected both ends of the river. Today, the Shinkyo bridge is a famous spot on where crowds of people go just to take pictures of the bridge and the surrounding colors of autumn.

Address: 2307 Sannai, Nikko Futarasann Shrine, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture

Website: (Japanese Only)

9. Kinugawa Onsen Ropeway

Kinugawa Onsen Ropeway offers a 3-minute ride from Kinugara Onsen Sanroku Station to the top of Mt. Maruyama. The height of the ride is 300m, and the view is nice during autumn. If you’re lucky, you might see some monkey here and there. At the top there is an observation deck that allows you to see the surrounding scenery.

Address: 834 Kinugawaonsentaki, Nikko-ku, Tochigi Prefecture

Website: (Japanese Only)

10. Nikkozan Rinnoji Temple and Shouyoen Garden

The Shoyoen Garden is a garden that is right next to the Rinno-ji temple. It is a garden that you can leisurely stroll and admire the beauty that autumn brings. There is also the light illumination that is held on the nights in mid-October to mid-November to enhance the appeal of the season further. A nice place to go after you visit the Rinno-ji Temple grounds.

Address: Rinno-ji Temple, 2300 Sannai, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture



Data is as of December 2018

Thumbnail is from Flickr