Experience Spring in Nikko

Flowers, festivals and bright green foliage herald springtime in Nikko and its mountainous surrounds. Visit the area’s famous World Heritage sites against the backdrop of cherry blossoms (sakura), and explore the lesser-known corners of the Nikko region as the temperatures warm. Watch our Nikko in Spring video for travel inspiration and read on for more details about what to see and do during this invigorating season.


Central Nikko’s blossoms, shrines and temples

Pink and white cherry blossoms dot Nikko's famous UNESCO designated World Heritage shrines and temples from around mid-to-late April. The Yoshino cherry, yama zakura (mountain cherry), and shidare zakura (weeping cherry) are just a few of the varieties that bloom here, and many of the trees are over 200 years old. The weeping cherry tree at Kokuzoson Temple, with its long, graceful branches, is over 350 years old. As you tour the town of Nikko in springtime, you can wear a colorful yukata or kimono and try sakura-themed wagashi (Japanese sweets), or sample locally made dango, a grilled rice dumpling snack on a stick served with a soy sauce glaze. After the blossoms have fallen, spring brings fresh greenery to the town and its famous sites. Celebrate the arrival of the season at ornate Nikko Toshogu Shrine, its path leading up to the entrance lined with cedar trees. For a quieter locale, visit the tranquil Takinoo-jinja Shrine, tucked away amongst spring foliage. Feel rejuvenated as you pass by the refreshing Shiraito-no-Taki Falls on the way to the shrine. The iconic Shinkyo Bridge, with its vermillion lacquered railing, is a lovely spot to take in views of the valley and the Daiya River flowing beneath it.


Nikko’s top spring festivals

The Yayoi Festival celebrates the arrival of spring. Lavish floats from 12 different townships decorated with pink flowers are paraded through town to Nikko Futarasan-jinja Shrine, and visitors can help carry the floats. The festival began over 1,200 years ago and is held every year from April 13 to 17. See the spectacular art of yabusame (horseback archery) during the Nikko Toshogu Shrine Annual Grand Spring Festival (May 17–18), held on the first day of the festival each year. The archers demonstrate their skills, shooting at targets as they gallop along the 220-meter approach to Toshogu Shrine. On the final day, a mikoshi (portable shrine) is carried through town in a grand procession of 1,000 people dressed as samurai, representing the funeral procession of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616). *Both the Yayoi Festival and Nikko Toshogu Shrine Annual Grand Spring Festival are subject to cancellation in 2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Be sure to check the latest information before your visit.


Exploring sites around Nikko

Experience Old Edo against the backdrop of cherry blossoms, from floating under weeping cherry blossoms on a yakatabune (houseboat) to a courtesan procession through the village at Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura. This theme park near Kinugawa-Kawaji Onsen offers an immersive experience of Edo period culture. Take a relaxing ride on the Steam Locomotive Taiju while enjoying fresh blooms and springtime scenery. Trains run from Shimo-Imaichi Station to Kinugawa-Onsen Station. Currently, trains operate on weekends only, but service will be available every day from the summer of 2021. The Ashio Copper Mine was once the most prosperous copper mine in Japan, producing copper tiles for Edo Castle and Zojoji Temple in Tokyo, and Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Processing methods that began in the late 1800s caused extensive environmental damage to the area, but 100 years of revitalization efforts have restored much of its former greenery. Learn about the mine’s 400-year history at the Furukawa Ashio History Museum and experience mining life on a 700-meter trolley ride down the Ashio's mining tunnel.

Areas of Nikko