Home
Back

Irohazaka (いろは坂) is a pair of winding roads that connect the lower elevations near central Nikko to the higher elevations of the mountainous Okunikko region. "Iroha" are the first three of 48 syllables of the formerly used Japanese alphabet (which is now known as "aiueo"), and "zaka" means "slope" - the Irohazaka Winding Roads were so named because together they consist of 48 hairpin turns.

The two roads were respectively built in 1954 and 1965 as some of Japan's first toll roads, but were later turned toll free. Today, the older road is only open to downward traffic and includes a pit stop from where you can see two waterfalls. The newer road, meanwhile, is only open to upward traffic as far as the Akechidaira Plateau near the top of the road. The plateau offers an observation deck with views over the Irohazaka and the valley below.

Spectacular autumn colors along Irohazaka can usually be enjoyed from late October to early November. Due to the autumnal popularity of Nikko, traffic can get very bad along the Irohazaka, causing delays to both cars and buses. Visitors are advised to avoid weekends and national holidays and to try to go as early as possible.

Getting there and around

From JR or Tobu Nikko Station, take a Tobu bus bound for Chuzenjiko Onsen or Yumoto Onsen and get off at the Akechidaira bus stop. The bus ride takes about 35 minutes and costs 1100 yen one way. Note that buses in the opposite direction do not stop at Akechidaira.

How to get to and around Nikko

Hotels around Nikko

Top rated in Nikko
Budget:
    • 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.
      View on Booking.com
      9.8Booking.com
    • 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.
      View on Booking.com
      9.6Booking.com
    • 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.
      View on Booking.com
      9.6Booking.com
    • Rindou No Ie
      Budget-friendly
      A 5-minute ride from Tobu Nikko Train Station on the hotel’s 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 hotel’s washer can be used free of charge, and a dryer is available for a fee.
      View on Booking.com
      9.5Booking.com
    • 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.
      View on Booking.com
      9.4Booking.com
    • Sanga Nikko
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Nikko, 2.1 km from Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Sanga Nikko provides 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. The property is equipped with two private bathrooms. A range of activities are offered in the area, such as cycling and fishing. 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 property, while Chuzenji Lake is 12 km away.
      View on Booking.com
      9.3Booking.com
    • 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.
      View on Booking.com
      9.2Booking.com
    • 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.
      View on Booking.com
      9.1Booking.com
    • Nikkorisou Backpackers
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring free WiFi, Nikkorisou Backpackers offers accommodation in Nikko, 800 metres from Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine. Free private parking is available on site. Rooms are fitted with a shared bathroom. There is a shared kitchen at the property. The area is popular for cycling. Kegon Falls is 9 km from the property.
      View on Booking.com
      9.0Booking.com
    • 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 hotel’s 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.
      View on Booking.com
      9.0Booking.com