Hidden amongst the greenery of Tochigi Prefecture’s largest national park, Nikko and Kinugawa, located north of Tokyo, Japan, known for its abundance of nature and scenery. Sitting only around a 2-hours train ride from central Tokyo by using Tobu Railway, these small towns offer the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, break away from the crowds and really get stuck in some exciting activities that feature the best that nature has to offer.
Here are three unique ways to enjoy nature around the Nikko and Kinugawa area:
Nature trekking in the highland marsh of Senjogahara
Located 1400 metres above sea level at the centre of Nikko National Park, Senjogahara Marshland is one of the largest high-altitude marshes in Honshu (Japan’s main island). The marshland offers a range of nature trails that stretch through the luscious grass and is a perfect way to immerse yourself tranquillity of nature. Marvel the view of the surrounding mountains and the environment that homes a diverse range of flora and fauna.
The trails also offer different experiences throughout the year, with the scenery constantly evolving from season to season. In springtime, the Cotton Edge and Meadowsweet flowers reach full bloom. From October, the grass becomes a reddish yellow and the trees vibrant gold, transforming the marshes into a bouquet of autumn splendour.
Take in the view from onboard a steam locomotive
For a true one-of-a-kind way to enjoy nature, hop aboard the SL Taiju, a steam-locomotive powered train that passes through the Nikko and Kinugawa areas. In 2017, Tobu Railway revived the steam-powered train after it had halted operations in 1966. Now, it provides a rare opportunity for passengers to experience nature and nostalgia in one.
The train currently operates a sightseeing route that transports passengers between the area’s main attractions, a total trip taking around 35 minutes. You can sit back, relax and take in the view of the passing mountains and rural landscapes. Also offered is the ‘SL Taiju Nikko buried treasure bento boxes’, the perfect accompaniment for your scenic trip. The two-tiered bento box includes a mouthwatering chirashi-sushi and Nikko Kogen simmered beef, the highlight, however, being the golden spoon, resembling the shape of a coal shovel!
Rejuvenate with an onsen experience at Kinugawa
Kinugawa Onsen is a hot spring resort town located in a valley along the Kinugawa River. There is an array of onsen in the town to choose from, the foot baths being a great free option for tourists who want to relax after a long day of walking whilst enjoying the natural scenery. There is a free foot bath located right outside of Kinugawa-Onsen station where you can rejuvenate by soaking your feet with warm mineral-rich waters. Many hotels and inns also offer outdoor baths, providing you with a tranquil view of the valley below.
NIKKO PASS ALL AREA
The Tobu Railway also offers special discount passes only for foreign visitors visiting Nikko from Tokyo, which include a round trip from Asakusa in Tokyo to Nikko, as well as unlimited travel on trains and busses in the Nikko area.
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