Tochigi Japan Guide
Tochigi Japan History
In the earlier Japanese times, the place is known best as the Shimotsuke province. It is home to many of the oldest schools in Japan which include the Ashikaga Gakko. Nikko city is one of the most powerful municipalities in the province which had held a place in power even during the Tokugawa period. This is why it was the ancient capital of the province. When the Tokugawa period ended, the capital city was transferred to Utsunomiya and the prefecture was formed into what it is known as today.
Even in the recent years, Tochigi is always on the news. This is the city of Joso from Ibaraki prefecture was in severely deep flood water than hundreds and thousands fled to the neighboring prefecture of Tochigi.
Tochigi Japan Map
The Tochigi prefecture, also known as Tochigi-shi or Tochigiken, is located in the Kanto region on the main island of Honshu in Japan. It has a total land area of about 6,400 square kilometers and a population of over 1.9 Million people. It has a total of 26 cities and 5 districts and many places in Tochigi are just as crowded and popular as Tokyo.
Tochigi is located near the prefectures of Saitama, Ibaraki, Gunma, and Fukushima. It is located on the northernmost side of the Kanto region. It is believed that it is home to the largest open plains in the Kanto region making it the 20th largest prefecture in Japan. Among its most popular cities include the City of Nikko, Utsonomiya, Ashikaga, and Oyama. Small towns include Nakagawa, Nasu, Motegi, and more.
Tochigi Japan Weather
The Tochigi prefecture experiences temperate climates where the common weather is humid. Wintertime is the driest time of the year but summers are experienced with extreme humidity, rain showers, and thunderstorms.
Getting Around Tochigi Japan
For those traveling both international and domestic flights, the nearest airport would be the Ibaraki airport which is roughly 95 kilometers away from the city center of Tochigi. The next nearest international airport would be the Tokyo Haneda Airport which is about 129 kilometers away.
There are two main railways running in Tochigi Japan. The first will be the East Japan Railway Company and the Tobu Line which is served by the Utsunomiya terminal. For those wishing to go around Tochigi, they can take the Mito and Ryomo lines. What is interesting is that it can easily be accessed from Tokyo via the Shinkansen traveling from Tokyo station to Oyama in just 43 minutes.
Must Eat in Tochigi Japan
Home Made Yuba
What is interesting about Tochigi is the fact that they have unique local delicacies in Japan. One of the most popular local delicacies from Tochigi would be the homemade yuba or tofu skins. When soy milk is brought to a boil, there are thin sheets of curdled soy milk collected on top of the pan. These are collected and dried to be called as tofu skins.
More often than not, these are seasons and cut into strips. They are used to wrap sushi and sashimi in place of the normal nori. There are different ways to eat it: it can be eaten raw, dried, and even fermented. These are very commonly served in tea ceremonies of the earlier times. Even in modern times, yuba is a very popular meat alternative for vegans and vegetarians.
Cold Udon or Zaru Soba
This kind of dish is made from thin buckwheat noodles which have been chilled up. It is usually topped with chopped seaweed and sided with a dipping sauce. The dipping sauce is usually garnished with onions, radishes, and wasabi. The sauce is usually made from a thick broth of fish and seaweed enriched with a flavorful amount of soy sauce. It is known as zaru soba because it is served on a bamboo plate known as a zaru. This particular dish is the best way to enjoy noodles during the warm seasons.
Tochigi Japan Points of Interest
Tochigi Japan Nissan Plant
The Nissan plant is one of the most famous car manufacturing plants in all of Tochigi. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a great deal of the educational information provided by the plant. First, the museum shall explain and introduce the history of the automobile industry in Japan. They will give a slideshow of all the developments in car manufacturing and automobile production since the beginning of the industrialization age in Japan.
Next, people can take a tour of the manufacturing process where a guide will explain all the steps in detail. This is also the part where they explain how the company is searching for the newest and best technologies in transforming their vehicles into a safer and more environment-friendly.
Kegon Taki or Kegon Falls
This is located in the Nikko National park in Tochigi prefecture. This is one of the most amazing natural tourist spots in all of Nikko National Park. What makes this falls special is that the main falls have a height of about 97 meters. Then surrounding it are about twelve smaller waterfalls. This place is great to visit during the autumn season because the surroundings of Kegon falls change majestically from green to warm oranges and red. The Kegon falls is listed as one of the Eight Views of Japan which feature the most scenic landscapes in the entire country. It is also considered as one of the top 100 waterfalls of Japan.
Travelers who enjoy going atop mountains to simply appreciate nature and its beauty can go to the Ohira Mountain observatory. There is a shrine on top of the mountain known as the Ohirasan Jinja shrine and it is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing, and calm vacation experience. Outside of the temple are souvenir shops and restaurants where people can enjoy the beautiful mountain view while dining.
What people love most about the Ohira mountain is the fact that there is a large forest up the mountain filled with beautiful trees that change color with the season. People walk up during the early morning to enjoy the sunrise and some people also enjoy watching the sunset.
The Futarasan shrine is located in Nikko prefecture and was known to be established in the early 7th century. This is one of the oldest shrines in the region and is highly visited by pilgrims on a yearly basis. It is said that this shrine was built when a monk introduced Buddhism to Nikko and Tochigi-shi.
The entire shrine dedicates its worship to the deities of the three sacred mountains such as Mount Nantai, Mount Nyoho, and Mount Taro. The base of the mountain is the starting point of the pilgrimage but there are more shrines up the mountain. People who wish to fully explore the area can go up.
There used to be a 1,000 yen entry fee to the shrine however it has been suspended indefinitely due to some internal issues among shrine maintenance organizations. Entry to this shrine is free of charge and it could be accessed via a 40-minute walk from JR Nikk station. It is usually opened between 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on a daily ticket.
Nakagawa Aquatic Park
The Nakagawa Aquatic park is a favorite go-to place for families with children in Tochigi. There are fish ponds, aquariums, and museums with impressive collections of sea creatures from different parts of Japan. However, most of these are from the local areas and districts of Nikko, Tochigi, and Fukushima. Some of these exhibits are for freshwater animals that come from rivers and lakes all over the different city and district of Tochigi.
Every summer in the months of July and August, visitors can bring with them swimwear and towels because the outdoor pools are open for use. It is best to visit the park on Thursdays and Fridays because these are the days when the queues are shortest. This is why a lot of people enjoy a short travel to this place every summer.
Nasu Highland Park
This place is a favorite go-to place in Japan because of its awesome attractions. They have over 40 rides which include 10 amazing roller coasters. For cold and rainy seasons, there are indoor roller coasters that can be enjoyed.
People love this place because the lines are much shorter and all the rides are very enjoyable. On the way to the park, a lot of wildlife can be seen as well. The problem with this place is that it is not easily accessible since it is high up the mountain. There are direct buses which go to the Nasu theme park on schedule and on a daily basis.
This is a zoo located in the Tochigi Prefecture of Japan which features safari animals such as elephants and giraffes. They also have petting zones where young children can enjoy interacting with rabbits and sheep. What makes this zoo special is that there are an amusement park and an outdoor pool which is accessible during the summer time. Visitors can enjoy the attractions after a quiet walk around the enclosures.
The zoo can be accessed via the Kanto Bus from the Nikko area line, and Ishinata line. It is best to get off at the Lower Kanai Bus stop and walk from there. Entry tickets usually cost about 600 yen for young children and 1,200 yen for adults. They are open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM on a daily basis.
Kinugawa is a small hot spring resort town in Tochigi prefecture. There are a number of onsen hotels and ryokans in the area which offer both modernized and traditional hot spring baths. Most ryokans are located near the riverbank, which is a good landmark for people looking for good onsen hotels. There are some inns that are generations old but extensive land development in the recent decades paved the way for newer and younger facilities.
Ashikaga Flower Park
The Ashikaga flower park is a favorite tourist destination in Tochigi. The park is a popular destination for nature lovers all over the world. One main feature of the Ashikaga Flower park would be the large fuji tree that is over a hundred years old. This tree gives a large blue fuji flower umbrella which is a romantic and enchanting scene.
The park also features other flowers that bloom in the summer months of August and autumn months of September. The Ashikaga flower park is also a great place to visit during the winter season because of their massive winter illumination annual display. These are LED lights which are choreographed to change with the background music.
Nikko National Park
This is one of the largest national parks in all of Japan. It is considered as a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the amazing historical data which can be collected from sites all over the national park. One of the reasons why this park is famous to tourists is the fact that there are 400-year-old cedars along Cedar Avenue of Nikko City, the Futarasn Shrine is a large milestone in Japanese Buddhism, and the Kegon falls is an enchanting place to visit. Because of the value of Nikko in the tourism of Japan and Asia, it is considered as the 10th World Heritage Site in 1999 under UNESCO.
Other popular places to visit in Nikko park would be the Chuzenji Temple famous for its majestic mountain views. It is also famous for the winding Irohazaka road whose twists and turns are sure to rock anyone’s world. It is also famous for the Lake Chuzenji which is a great camping site for those who love the outdoors.