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At an altitude of 1400 meters above sea level, the Senjogahara Marshland (ꃖ, Senjōgahara) covers the plateau between Lake Chuzenji and Yumoto Onsen. It offers some of the best hiking in the Nikko National Park and is particularly beautiful during the autumn leaf season in October when the marshland's grasses turn into a reddish yellow and the larch trees into a shiny gold.

The Senjogahara Plateau Nature Trail follows Yukawa River during most of its course between Yumoto Onsen and Ryuzu Waterfall near the shores of Lake Chuzenji. The hiking trail offers excellent views of the marshland and surrounding mountains, and it takes around 2.5 to 3 hours to complete. Not far from Senjogahara lies Odashirogahara, a smaller but equally idyllic marshland, which is worth a detour or separate visit.

During winter, the marshland is usually covered by several centimeters of snow typically between December and March, during which the hiking trails may not be passable. But when enough snow accumulates, visitors can see a different side of the marshland by walking along the hiking trails on snowshoes. There is also a course network for cross-country skiing north of the Sanbonmatsu parking lot.

A couple of rest houses at the Sanbonmatsu parking lot offer snowshoe rentals for around 500 yen for two hours or 1000 yen per day. Cross-country ski rentals go for 1800 to 2000 yen per day. There are also guided half-day tours available, but advance reservations are required, and English instructions may be limited.

Getting there and around

Senjogahara is connected with central Nikko by Tobu bus. Buses leave from Tobu Nikko Station (many also serve JR Nikko Station) and are bound for Yumoto Onsen. There are one or two buses per hour. The one way trip from Tobu Nikko Station to Senjogahara takes about 70 minutes, costs around 1550 yen and is covered by the Nikko All Area Pass.

A 2-day pass for unlimited bus rides between Nikko and Senjogahara (as far as Sanbonmatsu bus stop) is available for 2650 yen at Tobu Nikko Station, while a 2-day pass for unlimited bus rides between Nikko and Yumoto Onsen is available for 3000 yen.

For walking the entire Senjogahara Plateau Nature Trail, get off at either Yumoto Onsen or Ryuzu no taki bus stop. The hiking trails can also be joined from Akanuma bus stop, while Sanbonmatsu bus stop offers a small observation deck with views over the marshland, but no access to the hiking trails.

A separate bus travels between the parking lot near the Akanuma Shako bus stop at the southeastern end of Senjogahara Marshland and Senjugahama bus stop at the western bank of Lake Chuzenji, stopping at Odashirogahara Marshland and Lake Sainoko along the way. The entire one way trip takes approximately 30 minutes and costs 300 yen. Buses operate from late April through November about once per hour. More frequently on weekends and during busy seasons. These buses are also covered by the Nikko All Area Pass.

Note that during the autumn leaf season in October, traffic between central Nikko and Senjogahara can be very heavy, and buses can incur heavy delays, especially on weekends. If possible, try to visit during the week and not on weekends.

How to get to and around Nikko

Hotels around Nikko

Top rated in Nikko
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    • B&B Izumi Nikko
      Budget-friendly
      B&B Izumi Nikko features river views, free WiFi and free private parking, located in Nikko, 2.4 km from Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Fitted with a balcony, the units offer air conditioning and feature a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with bidet and a hairdryer. A fridge and kettle are also featured. Guests at the bed and breakfast can enjoy a ? la carte or an American breakfast. A terrace can be found at B&B Izumi Nikko, along with a garden. Kegon Falls is 18 km from the accommodation, while Rinno-ji Temple is 1.7 km away.
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    • Stay Nikko Guesthouse
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring free WiFi, Stay Nikko Guesthouse offers accommodation in Nikko. Nikko Station on the Tobu and JR lines can be reached within a 13-minute walk. Free private parking is available on site. Every room at this guest house is air conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV. Views of the mountains, river or garden are featured in certain rooms. Guests will find a microwave, toaster and kettle on site. Nikko Toshogu Shrine is a 20-minute stroll from Stay Nikko Guesthouse, while Kegon Falls is a 50-minute bus ride from the property.
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    • sumica apartments
      Budget-friendly
      Sumica apartmens offers accommodation in Nikko, 900 metres from Nikko Toshogu Shrine and 9.3 km from Kegon Falls. The property features views of the city and is 18 km from Nikko Yumoto Hot Spring. The accommodation is only a 2-minute stroll to Shinkyo Bridge, known as the entrance to the Shrines and Temples of Nikko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The kitchenette is fitted with a microwave. Towels and bed linen are offered at sumica apartmens. Nikk?-kokuritsu-k?en is 22 km from sumica apartmens, while Rinnoji Temple is 600 metres from the property.
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    • Rindou No Ie
      Budget-friendly
      A 5-minute ride from Tobu Nikko Train Station on the hotelfs free shuttle, the family-run Rindou No Ie offers Japanese rooms with tatami (woven-straw) floors and futon beds. Free WiFi is available throughout. The air-conditioned rooms at Rindou No Ie Ryokan include a flat-screen TV and tea set. Bathrooms are shared. The Nikko Toshogu World Heritage Area is 2 km away. JR Nikko Train Station is 1.2 km from the hotel. Tobu Nikko Train Station is 900 metres away. On-site parking is free. A free-use internet terminal, microwave and fridge are provided in the common area. The hotelfs washer can be used free of charge, and a dryer is available for a fee.
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    • Guest House Koundo
      Budget-friendly
      Guest House Koundo offers a private accommodation in Nikko. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. All rooms have air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and a shared bathroom. For your comfort, you will find a hairdryer, slippers and towels. Free toiletries including shampoo, conditioner and body soap are provided. You will find luggage storage space at the property. There are several restaurants, cafes and convenience stores within a 5-minute walk from Guest House Koundo. Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa Memorial Park is a 10-minute walk from the property, while Nikko Toshogu Shrine is a 15-minute walk away. Guests can reach Kanmangafuchi Abyss in 10 minutes on foot.
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    • Midorian
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring a garden, Midorian is located within Nikko National Park. The property is around 1.5 km from Nikko Toshogu Shrine, 8 km from Kegon Falls and a 16-minute walk from Futarasan Shrine. The guest house features mountain views, a terrace, and free WiFi is available throughout the property. On-site parking is available free of charge. Guest rooms in the guest house are fitted with a kettle. A shared kitchen comes with a microwave, a toaster and a fridge. At Midorian, every room comes with a shared bathroom with a hair dryer. Cycling and hiking are among the activities that guests of the accommodation can find nearby. Rinnoji Temple is 1.6 km from Midorian.
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    • Sanga Nikko
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Nikko, 2.1 km from Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Sanga Nikko provides a garden and rooms with free WiFi access. The property is set 10 km from Kegon Falls and 22 km from Nikk?-kokuritsu-k?en. Nikko Station and Tobu-Nikko Station are within a 5-minute walk from the property. On-site staff will assist guests in planning their trip. Each room is equipped with a shared bathroom. The kitchen is shared between guests. A range of activities are offered in the area, such as cycling and fishing. Rental bicycles are available for an additional fee. A supermarket is situated within a 5-minute walk from the property. This property is situated a short distance from attractions such as Rinnoji Temple and Shinkyo Bridge. Futarasan Shrine is 2.2 km from the guest house, while Chuzenji Lake is 12 km away.
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    • Nikko Guesthouse Sumica
      Budget-friendly
      Just a 3-minute walk from JR Nikko Train Station, Guesthouse Sumica offers beds in dormitory rooms, as well as Japanese-style private rooms. It features a shared kitchen and free tea and coffee. Free Wi-Fi is provided in the whole building. The Sumica Guesthouse is a 5-minute drive from the Nikko Tosho-gu shrine, and a 30-minute drive from both Lake Chuzenji-ko and historical theme park village Edo Wonderland (Nikko Edomura). JR Nikko Train Station is a 3-minute walk away. Nikko Guesthouse Sumica is a completely non-smoking hotel. It offers luggage storage, and it has a curfew at 23:00.
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    • Nikko Akarinoyado Villa Revage
      Mid-range
      Homely rooms with mountain views, free Wi-Fi and a private bath await guests at Villa Revage, 350 metres from Nikko Botanical Garden. It is completely non-smoking, and free private parking is available on site. Rooms at Nikko Akarinoyado Villa Revage are heated and come with simple furnishings and art on the walls. An LCD satellite TV is included. Both a hairdryer and toiletries are provided. You can relax on the sun terrace, enjoy the garden or unwind in one of the private reservable baths. A Western breakfast is served at the dining room, which boasts a high ceiling and forest views. The hotel is 4 km from JR Nikko Train Station and Tobu Nikko Train Station. Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa is 800 metres away, and Nikko Toshogu Shrine is 2 km away.
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    • Okunoin Hotel Tokugawa
      Luxury
      Located in Nikko, Hotel Tokugawa is a traditional Japanese-style ryokan featuring a hot spring bath. It offers Japanese-style and Western rooms with free WiFi access, and provides free pick up service from Nikko Train Station. Guests at Tokugawa Hotel can unwind in the public hot spring bath, savour a massage treatment or go hiking in the area. Guests can also take full advantage of the hotelfs shuttle service from Toshogu Shrine. Free luggage storage and valet parking is also offered by the hotel. With a garden view, each air-conditioned room here will provide you with a refrigerator, an electric kettle and a yukata (Japanese bathrobe). The private bathroom comes with a bathtub, free toiletries and a hairdryer. The ryokan is a 6-minute drive from Nikko Toshogu Shrine, and a 10-minute drive from Nikko Train Station. The on-site dining area is open from 08:00 to 09:00 for breakfast. An authentic Japanese dinner will be prepared for guests with meal plans.
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