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Planning Your Trip

Hiking, snowshoeing, cycling, fishing, and paddleboarding are just some of the outdoor adventures that await in Nikko, and cultural inspiration abounds at its temples and shrines. Pack what you would for any highland vacation: comfortable activewear that you can layer according to the weather and season. Here are a few extra tips.

Spa - Onsen

SPA RETREAT

After a day spent in nature on the trails or at the lake, ease into a blissful soak. The hot-spring baths in our luxury spa are the only authentic Onsen experience offered by a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

 

 

  • Workout clothes for morning zazen and the fitness studio.
  • Yoginis, bring yoga wear. A mat is provided in your room for sessions on your balcony or lakeside, as you wish.
Toshogu Shrine Oharai

RESORT ESSENTIALS

You won’t want to miss the splendid architecture and décor of the UNESCO World Heritage shrines and temples, nor the unique flora and fauna of the Senjogahara marshlands, a Ramsar Convention wetland. 

 

  • Footgear that’s easy to slip on and off when entering shrines and temples
  • Hiking boots or trail shoes
  • Binoculars for the birdlife
  • A scarf, fleece or sweater for the cooler temps even in summer
Snowshoe on Oku-Nikko

WINTER VACATION

Skiers, snowboarders, and sledders alike can float down slopes of fresh powder snow here in Nikko. Other winter woodland adventures include fat-bike, snowshoe, and ice-climbing excursions.

 

 

  • Snow boots and thick socks
  • Gloves, a hat, and a waterproof coat
  • Warm layers for outdoor fun
  • Studless snow tires if arriving by car

Don't Forget:

You’ll have complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, but in the Deep Nikko highlands of OkuNikko there are plenty of blind spots out on the trails and throughout the National Park. Don’t fret over that pocket Wi-Fi or spare SIM card—instead, take advantage of the digital detox and let Mother Nature ease you into the bliss of just being here, now.


To arrive at The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko on the eastern shore of Lake Chuzenji is to find yourself in a place where nature, traditional culture, and spirituality meet. Immerse yourself in the area’s charms by trying one of our many curated guest experiences. To reserve, stop by the front desk by 4 p.m. on the day prior to your desired outing.

TOURS

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Stroll the precincts of UNESCO World Heritage sites Rinnoji Temple and the Toshogu and Futarasan Shrines on a four-hour excursion accompanied by a member of our guest experiences team. At Toshogu, enjoy a guided tour of the complex led by a shrine maiden, and experience a purification ritual in an ornately decorated room once reserved for use by the Tokugawa shoguns. Included in this outing is a visit to Kanmangafuchi, a riverside footpath lined with 70 stone statues of Jizo, the patron saint of travelers. Back at the hotel, try your hand at the Nikko-bori style of ornate woodcarving that adorns Toshogu. In this two-hour class taught by local artisans, you’ll use the hikkaki chisel, a tool unique to the Nikko carving tradition. Be sure to reserve these and other guest activities by 4 p.m. on the prior day

AFTERNOON TEA/TEA CEREMONIES

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Enjoying a cup of tea is an occasion for ceremony in Japan, where tradition shines in beautiful presentation and serenity is found in the simple act of enjoying a perfectly brewed cup. This cultural reverence for green tea is celebrated daily at the Lobby Lounge from noon to 4 p.m. in the Japanese Tea Experience. From our selection of a dozen or so green teas from different regions in Japan, select two to enjoy with a traditional wagashi sweet. Reserve this in advance for the opportunity to try hand-rolled and other premium teas of limited availability, chosen expressly for the season. As you relax with your cup, enjoy the views that extend out to our lush garden with Lake Chuzenji and the mountains beyond.

Spa Appointments

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The Ritz-Carlton Spa unites the luxurious indoor and open-air hot-spring baths of our Onsen facility with holistic treatments offered in spacious private rooms. And while the Onsen hot-spring baths are open to all staying guests, those who have made a spa appointment have the option to reserve a private outdoor pool. The geothermal water is rich with hydrogen sulfide, which aids circulation and the skin’s natural healing. For your Spa appointment, consider locally inspired treatments such as the Restorative Rock Ritual, which utilizes purifying natural salt from nearby Futarasan Shrine along with volcanic basalt stones; or Sake Revive & Renew, which unites the health benefits of vitamin-rich sake lees and rice-bran oil with modern-day deep-cleansing methods. When combined with a tension-melting soak nestled in nature, either choice will leave you with a restored sense of harmony.

SPECIAL EVENTS

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Schedule your Nikko visit to coincide with the Spring (May 17–18) or Fall (October 16–17) Grand Festivals of Toshogu Shrine, two spectacles of local color you will not soon forget. Horseback archery, thrilling to watch, is conducted along the main promenade on the first day of each. The second day climaxes with a grand procession of 1,000 or more people dressed as samurai warriors, a re-enactment of the ceremonial procession when shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu was enshrined here after his death in 1616. Classic scenes from this grand parade feature in the vintage hand-painted art panels displayed in the arrival lobby of The Ritz-Carlton. At both times of year the festivities conclude with performances of classical gagaku music and a kagura shrine dance.

Cycle in protected wetlands, stroll the precincts of centuries-old sanctuaries, sit zazen with a monk, meditate under a waterfall, try your hand at woodcarving with a temple artisan. All these experiences await in Nikko National Park, a destination known for its scenic beauty and the splendid architecture of UNESCO-designated shrines and temples.

Nikko Cedar Avenue

Cultural Treasures

Nikko is home to fragrant forests, ancient sanctuaries and deep-rooted traditions. Even a short stay will let you brush up close to its splendid history and natural beauty.

 

 

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Lake Yunoko

Eco Adventures

Nikko is equally suited to vigorous outdoor fun and restorative experiences that invite relaxation. Fly-fish in Japan’s highest freshwater lake by day, immerse yourself in the Milky Way at night.

 

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