Last Updated: Oct 5, 2023

From Nikko to Aizu

Uncovering a New Route in Northern Japan

Donny Kimball
6 min readJan 29, 2022

--

One of Tobu Railways’ Kegon Limited Express at Nikko Station

Recently, I took part in what is locally referred to as a “monitor tour” to assess the viability of a new route that the government and railway companies are considering. The other participants and I started in Tokyo’s Taito Ward and then made our way up to the southern part of Fukushima’s Aizu region. Ultimately, the trip ended in the historic town of Nikko where the famed Toshogu Shrine resides. While there were certainly some sections of the itinerary that still need work, this monitor tour got me thinking that Aizu and Nikko really do make a wonderful pair of destinations.

Now, as long time readers already know, I’ve already covered the Nikko and Aizu regions of Japan in depth before. So, rather than dive deep into the metaphorical weeds, I want to instead focus on introducing this new route. Though Nikko and Aizu aren’t all too far away from each other as the crow flies, even seasoned domestic tourists are likely unaware of the fact that the two locations are conveniently interlinked via a number of railways. If you want to experience a rarely traveled itinerary, definitely consider my following suggestions for your next trip to Japan.

Start the Journey in Nikko

The famous Toshogu Shrine is a must-visit if you’re exploring a Nikko-Aizu route

The monitor tour that I participated in did the reverse of what I am going to recommend to you. We first took the Tobu Railways’ Revaty Limited Express to the southern portions of Aizu to check out the Aizu Kogen Takatsue Ski Resort. Given that most overseas tourists prefer to travel in large loops, I think that it is more logistically sound to check out Nikko first then go to Aizu. This will allow you to take JR’s Ban’etsu West Line from Aizu-Wakamatsu over to Koriyama. From there, you can catch a bullet train north or alternatively return to Tokyo.

Should you opt to heed my advice in regards to the Nikko-Aizu route, you’ll want to take Tobu Railways’ Kegon Limited Express from Asakusa to Nikko. To make the most out of the day, you’ll want to get an early start. Once in Nikko, you can either hoof it over to…

--

--

Donny Kimball

I'm a travel writer and freelance digital marketer who blogs about the sides of Japan that you can't find in the mainstream media. https://donnykimball.com/