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enlehman76 Jul 7th, 2013 11:36 AM

Nikko and 3 Waterfalls in the Fall---Planning Help Needed Please
 
My husband and I are planning a trip to Japan in the fall season which will be late October so want to see the "nature" sights of Nikko including both Lake Chuzenjiko and Lake Yunoko; as well as, the three waterfalls of Kegon, Ryuzu, and Yudaki.

I would prefer to do this as a day trip from Tokyo, but after reading many threads about the congestion around Nikko in the fall, I am thinking what could be a busy day trip won't be possible with the traffic on the winding road, etc..

So :),

Question 1) Can we see these things as a day trip from Tokyo?
(We can reserve a taxi if the buses are too crowded to save time.)

Question 2) If we spend the night, is 1 night enough to see all these sites?

Question 3) If staying overnight, where is the best place to base ourselves for the night to avoid the bus traffic on the winding road back and forth?

After reading many threads I couldn't find any information on this so had to post something....thank you! :)

Mara Jul 7th, 2013 12:40 PM

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3800.html

Have you seen the Nikko info on japan-guide? That will give you a lot of info about transportation to the places in which you have interest.

So do you not want to visit the shrines and temples while you are there? Just the waterfalls and the Lake? That will make it a lot quicker visit....possibly doable in one day.

I went in November which was off season and actually stayed two nights as I did not arrive til late afternoon. I only got to Kegon waterfall and then on to the Lake where I took an hour or so boat ride around. I visited many other places in Nikko so I needed my full day and two half days.

I don't believe there is any way to get to those two waterfalls except the Irohazaka winding roads so in the autumn leaf season it will be crowded as you have read...

Enjoy!

hawaiiantraveler Jul 7th, 2013 01:03 PM

Not at my home computer this weekend but you can see taxi prices in Nikko.....better idea to rent a car

http://www.nikko-jp.org/english/access/taxi.html

Spending one night in Nikko is the only way you see the sights you have listed

Aloha!

enlehman76 Jul 7th, 2013 01:10 PM

We do want to see the shrines in Nikko but want to see the lakes and waterfalls too. That's why I was thinking 1-2 nights would be good. The only issue is that we will be going from Kyoto to Nikko and then onward to Tokyo for a few nights before we fly back to the US.

Since the travel time from Kyoto to Nikko is probably going to take 5 hours or so, if we left Kyoto in the morning and checked into a Nikko lake area hotel that evening and stayed 2 nights, then we could see the lakes and waterfalls on our full day, and the shrines the next day as we head back to Tokyo.

I have done extensive research on the japan-guide website and forum searches before I posted these questions and have not been able to find where is the best place to base myself for the lake areas of Nikko outside of Nikko city.

Mara Jul 7th, 2013 02:47 PM

I also came from Kyoto and I stayed in the Annex Turtle Hotori-An which is near the Jizo statues. I don't know about staying near the lake but it seems to me you would be better off staying closer to the Shrine area as you would then only need to make one trip out on the Irohazaka road whereas if you stayed by the lake you would need to go back and forth more than once as well as waste time traveling....

So then your first full day you could get an early start to the furthest waterfall and then work your way back and see what time you had left over for other sites - then your second day you could see the shrines....

enlehman76 Jul 7th, 2013 04:42 PM

Thanks Mara! I have been on the computer the past many hours researching Nikko lake area trails and places to stay...there isn't much information out there at all... is so frustrating!! :( The guide books aren't any good either.

In my readings I have discovered I would like to do the Lake Chuzenji Observation Course (or at least half of it) and the hike from Ryuzu Falls to Yumoto Onsen. Is it possible to do that in one day if we start early? We are looking to go in early November so I am PRAYING that the leaves haven't completely fallen off the trees at that time! :)

Maybe hike from Kegon Falls to Yumoto Onsen (or vice versa) and bus back?

Options would be:
1) Stay in Nikko town, bus to Kegon Waterfall, see Kegon and then hike to Yumoto Onsen and take the bus back to Nikko town?
OR
2) Stay in Chuzenji Onsen or Yumoto Onsen and do the hiking day from there and relax in a hot spring ryokan at night after a long day of hiking, then wake up in the morning and bus with our luggage to Nikko town and see the shrines (hopefully there are luggage storage areas there) and then train to Tokyo?

This is really hard to plan and am really looking forward to this Nikko stay after seeing all the beautiful pics. Some have suggested walking around Lake Yunoko at night if staying there which sounds pretty.

Hmmm...to hike for the day, stay at a ryokan with a nice view, experience hot springs at night, and have a nice lake stroll at night, where do I stay???

Thank You! :)

kja Jul 7th, 2013 04:58 PM

> My husband and I ... want to see the "nature" sights of Nikko including both Lake Chuzenjiko and Lake Yunoko; as well as, the three waterfalls of Kegon, Ryuzu, and Yudaki. ... [and] We do want to see the shrines in Nikko.... Question 1) Can we see these things as a day trip from Tokyo?

Honestly, I find that very hard to imagine.

> If we spend the night, is 1 night enough to see all these sites? ... If staying overnight, where is the best place to base ourselves for the night to avoid the bus traffic on the winding road back and forth?

One night might be enough if you get there early on one day and leave late the next, but I'm not sure you can do that if you are coming from Kyoto. I think you might need 2 nights.

FWIW, I reached Nikko late one evening. I got up early the next morning, took the bus to Chuzenji, with a stop at the viewing platform for Kegon-no-taki (don't skip that!) and then on the next bus. Once at Lake Chuzenji, I took the elevator to Kegon-no-taki's base, came back up, walked a very small bit of the lakefront (I think I spent less than 1/2 hour there), and took a bus back to Nikko. Once there, I visited a few of Nikko's shrines, stopped briefly in the small museum with an exquisite collection of shoji screens, and then continued visiting Nikko's shrines. I did not have time to finish seeing the last of them; it closed shortly after I reached it. I had time to walk a mile or so of the Kanmangafuchi walk before I retrieved my luggage and got a train to Tokyo. It was late when I got to Tokyo; and although I was very glad to have seen everything I saw that day, I was tired and had not eaten since early morning. I was there off-season, and didn't face crowds anywhere. I don't think I wasted a single moment of that very full day -- and you are trying to do much more at a time that will mean facing lines and crowds.

If you try to visit Lake Chuzenji after your trip from Kyoto, be sure you know when the last bus returns to Nikko and remember that many others may be aiming for that same bus. I would stop for the view of Kegon-no-Taki on the way to Lake Chuzenji -- there is a viewing platform that offers magnificent views. (I am a fan of waterfalls and would not have wanted to miss that one!)

One last thought: I'm not sure, but I suspect that lodging will be less expensive in Nikko than in Tokyo. If visiting Nikko and Lake Chuzenji are priorities for you, it might make most sense to plan on an extra night there than rushing to Tokyo where you will pay more.

Enjoy!

hawaiiantraveler Jul 7th, 2013 05:06 PM

Lots of places to stay I Nikko
http://japanican.com/hotels/List.asp...=65&search.y=4

http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/db/nikko/index.htm

http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/db/yumoto/index.htm

enlehman76 Jul 7th, 2013 05:15 PM

OMG I just found the Nikko trail map through a Google search!!! Thank you to whoever scanned it in and posted it!!! :):)

http://www.nikko-jp.org/pamphlets/pdf/hiking_us.pdf

Since we will have a long day of travel to Nikko area, I am thinking it might be best to just continue on with the bus to an onsen (either Chuzenji or yumoto) and hike the whole next day without having to worry about taking the bus/windy road back to Nikko town...that way we can wake up early and take the bus to Nikko town with the hopes that the bus isn't full...where to stay??

enlehman76 Jul 7th, 2013 05:15 PM

OMG I just found the Nikko trail map through a Google search!!! Thank you to whoever scanned it in and posted it!!! :):)

http://www.nikko-jp.org/pamphlets/pdf/hiking_us.pdf

Since we will have a long day of travel to Nikko area, I am thinking it might be best to just continue on with the bus to an onsen (either Chuzenji or yumoto) and hike the whole next day without having to worry about taking the bus/windy road back to Nikko town...that way we can wake up early and take the bus to Nikko town with the hopes that the bus isn't full...where to stay??

hawaiiantraveler Jul 7th, 2013 05:20 PM

Also have you seen this?

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rtg/pdf/pg-302.pdf

hawaiiantraveler Jul 7th, 2013 05:35 PM

Car rental may be a better option for you to maximize your time in Nikko

http://www2.tocoo.jp/?file=rentcar_inbound/main

I have used this company for rentals several times with good outcomes

Aloha!

enlehman76 Jul 7th, 2013 05:47 PM

Thanks hawaiiantraveler! I did see that on this site somewhere but it is kind of hard to understand.

My plans have changed a bit...I am thinking of going to Nikko before Kyoto because the leaves change earlier in Nikko...so what do you think:

*Fly Beijing to Tokyo-Flight gets into Narita at 12:40pm. *Train Narita to Nikko...What train would I take to know what time the train is from Tokyo on the Nikko World Pass?
*Bus from Nikko town to stay 2 nights in Chuzenji or Yumoto Onsen area

Can that be done in one day based on the train and bus times?

hawaiiantraveler Jul 7th, 2013 06:01 PM

Actually Nikko town will see fall colors as late as mid November while Lake Chuzenji will see colors from mid October so your plan to switch Nikko ahead of Kyoto is a good one if seeing the koyo is your goal.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2014_when.html

What do you find confusing about the JNTO PDF?

hawaiiantraveler Jul 7th, 2013 06:05 PM

Hit enter before I was ready.....

All the train times leaving Tokyo(Asakusa station) are on that PDF. Take some time to read the sites we post. All the info you are asking about are within the sites I left you

enlehman76 Jul 7th, 2013 06:13 PM

Seeing the koyo is my goal of this whole trip! :)

I am confused about which trains to take from Narita to Nikko that would be the fastest and least expensive. I am going to buy a JR Rail Pass but am hoping to save it for the latter half of my trip from Nikko to Kyoto and then to Tokyo before I fly home. Do you think I can go from Narita to the Nikko lake area in a day in time for dinner at a ryokan if my flight doesn't get in until 12:40pm?

I really want to see the koyo but want to maximize my time in Nikko and I feel like I am squeezing in 2 heavy travel days before and after Nikko...

One day being the flight from Beijing to Narita and then onward to Nikko.
Two being the day I leave Nikko with a visit to the shrine/Nikko town area before heading on to Kyoto.and then doing a half day of sight seeing in Nikko before heading on to Kyoto. Seems busy for just one full day.

enlehman76 Jul 7th, 2013 06:18 PM

My plans look like this:

*Fly US to Beijing (3 days and 4 nights)
*Fly Beijing to Narita and train to Nikko (1 day and 2 nights)
*Train Nikko to Kyoto (Kyoto 4 days and 5 nights)
*Train Kyoto to Tokyo (Tokyo 4 days and 5 nights)
*Fly home from Tokyo

I was originally going to go Beijing to KIX, stay in Kyoto 5 nights, train to Nikko for 2 nights, and then train to Tokyo for 5 nights but to optimize the fall foliage times in Japan I should see Nikko first???

Thank you so much Hawaiiantraveler...planning this trip has been exhausting!!

kja Jul 7th, 2013 06:19 PM

> Seems busy

Exactly

hawaiiantraveler Jul 8th, 2013 07:02 AM

Wait!!!

I did not realize you were flying in then trying to make a ryokan that same evening in Nikko. Sorry, I sometimes get confused by answering many Japan itineraries here online. NEVER schedule a ryokan on your arrival day. Just too many things that can go wrong. The only exceptions are if your plane arrives earlier than 10 am and your ryokan is no further away from NRT than say Nikko or Hakone. The possibilities of things going wrong are endless and you are putting yourself in the hands of an airline to be on time ..... ha ha ha
You risk loosing the expensive ryokan meals and even the room itself. You cannot cancel a ryokan res that late so your risking everything if you don't make it or are late.
In the threads I left for you above are literally lists of places to stay in and outside of Nikko. Check into a hotel or b/b on the lake if you want for that first night. I remember there being a Prince Hotel on the lake which is full service and has a killer view.

OTOH your original plan looks good because you will not see any fall colors in Kyoto or Tokyo at the times you will be there. you may see some north of Kyoto and in the hills around Tokyo like Mr Takao but you would have to seek them out. In the Nikko region there are changes in elevation from Chuzenjiko to Nikko so you will see colors somewhere in that area either at the lakes or at the lower elevations or somewhere in between, again depending on your timing. Your original plan saves you time and money and saves backtracking.

Aloha!

hawaiiantraveler Jul 8th, 2013 07:04 AM

Mt Takao not Mr ;)


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