Iroha Slopes

Planning Your Trip

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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.

Cycrusing in Okunikko
Cycrusing in Okunikko
What To Pack

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. 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.

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.
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
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
Senjogahara Marshland
Senjogahara Marshland
What To Reserve

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nikko Cedar Avenue
Nikko Cedar Avenue

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.


Walk Amid Giants. Stroll Cedar Avenue, a stretch of the mighty trees planted four centuries ago in tribute to shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Rising 30 meters (100 feet) in height, they are a fitting introduction to the stately shrines and temples nearby.


Bird’s-Eye View. Get your bearings from Akechidaira, a lookout with phenomenal views of Lake Chuzenji, Kegon Falls and Mount Nantai. It stands on the winding Irohazaka road, named for its 48 hairpin turns. You may meet a macaque or two on the way.


Savor Some Sushi. Enjoy a multicourse kaiseki dinner at The Japanese Restaurant, including classic Edomae sushi served on local Mashiko ware.


Meditations. Pull back the curtains, grab the yoga mat provided in your room, and head to a zazen session led by a monk from nearby Chuzenji Temple. After breakfast, stroll to the temple for a purifying fire ceremony and sutra-copying practice.


Fit for a King. Tuck into a lunch featuring tempura, barley-rice, and red-miso soup. The healthy repast is inspired by the favorite dishes of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542–1616), who lived to a ripe age twice the average of his time.


Outdoor Adventure or Indoor Craft? Head out to the Kirifuri highlands for the ascetic practice of standing beneath a waterfall to purify the body-mind. Or stay in and try your hand at the Nikko style of woodcarving in a class led by local artisans. 


Luxuriate in the Spa. Unwind before dinner with a blissful soak in our Onsen, then indulge in the Restorative Rock Ritual, a body exfoliation and hot-stone massage that uses volcanic basalt stones and natural salt from Futarasan Shrine.

A Feast for All Senses. Revel in the tastes, scents, and colors of the season transformed into a multicourse feast at The Japanese Restaurant. From sashimi to simmered and grilled delights and dessert, each dish is art on a plate.


Sun Salute. Greet the day as the sun rises over sacred Mount Nantai. After a farm-fresh breakfast, meet your guide for fly-fishing, a sport introduced to Japan right here in these mountains by Scotsman Thomas Glover in 1902.


Hike Protected Wetlands. See the pristine watershed of the Lake Yuno area, including Yudaki Falls and the wetlands of Senjogahara. Footpaths make it easy to enjoy the plentiful birdlife, gurgling streams, and majestic views of sacred Mount Nantai

Blissful Soak. It wouldn’t be a vacation in Japan without bath hopping. Try the atmospheric Onsen located within an affiliate temple of the UNESCO-designated Rinnoji. The guardian deity here is Yakushi, the buddha of medicine and healing.


Grilled Delights. Relax at The Japanese Restaurant over a teppanyaki feast of Tochigi’s farmland bounty. Umami-rich yuba steak, made of fresh tofu skin, is at the ready for our vegetarian guests.

Nightcap. Toast the day at The Bar with an original cocktail or mocktail made with all-natural Nikko spring water.


Japanese, or Western? Our farm-fresh “breakfast box” changes daily, and arrives with a hearty salad and oven-fresh breads. Select your preference for Japanese or Western style and dig in.

Scenic Rides (Spring, Summer, Fall). Cycle to the roots of this destination with visits to Chuzenji Temple and the former villas of the British and Italian embassies. Or, hop on a mountain bike to ride the Lake Chuzenji Skyline for panoramic views.

Snow Cycling & Trek (Winter). Take in the crisp air of the oak and larch forest of Odashirogahara on a fat bike, and add on either a fun snowshoe romp or a deeper trek to see the frozen cascade of Iori Falls.


Outdoor Picnic. Weather permitting, take a lunch break on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, then board a speedboat to cruise back to the hotel.


Take It Easy. Pamper yourself at our spa with the deeply cleansing Sake Revive & Renew treatment. A foam made of sake lees softens and brightens the skin; rice-bran oil nourishes it. Reserve the adjoining open-air bath for a private soak.


Holiday Boathouse. Enjoy the front-row views of Lake Chuzenji and Mount Nantai over dinner and a cozy fire at the Lakehouse.

Stargazing. Our highland setting is a superb canvas for the night sky. Take in the spectacle that unfolds after dusk with a powerful telescope that shows even the craters on the moon.