JR Nikko Station is one of two railway stations serving Nikko, the other being Tobu Nikko Station which is just a 3-minute walk to the west. Tobu Nikko Station is a much busier station as it receives all the limited express services from Tokyo. By contrast, JR Nikko Station receives only one or two local train services each hour from Utsunomiya. Even so, if you are using a Japan Rail Pass you may find it more economical to travel from Tokyo to Nikko via Utsunomiya and in that case, you will arrive at JR Nikko Station.
Although it is a small station, JR Nikko Station is well equipped with facilities which include a Tourist Information Center. And because this station is quieter you may prefer to use the Tourist Information Center here, instead of the busy one at Tobu Nikko Station.
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JR Nikko Station has just one entrance. When you enter through the entrance you will see all the main station facilities directly ahead of you. These include the ticket machines, a ticket office, and ticket gates. To the right of the ticket gates are more general facilities such as coin lockers, a waiting room, and the Tourist Information Center. There is also a preserved historic room on the 2nd floor of the station which is mainly used as a gallery.
If you arrive here by train and exit through the ticket gates you will find a lot of information about local bus services directly outside the ticket gates. This includes timetables, and information about which bus stops to use for different sightseeing locations. Bus stops for all the main tourist sites are located directly outside the station along with a taxi rank. There is also a display inside the station showing the current status of upcoming bus departures. For more information on local bus and taxi services in please see our articles Taking a Bus in Nikko and Taxis in Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen.
If you need assistance from the police, there is a large police box (called a “Koban” in Japanese) outside the station. This police box is located directly to the west of the JR Nikko Station building on the road that leads to Tobu Nikko Station.
Public toilets are located outside the station building on its east side.
If you enter the station through the station entrance then you will see automatic ticket machines on your left. There are just two machines, the one on the right is for local train tickets and the one on the left is for reserved seats on shinkansen trains. You would use the shinkansen ticket machine if you plan to transfer to a shinkansen service at another location.
At the local train ticket machine you can also buy commuter passes and buy or recharge Suica prepaid IC cards. Both machines are operated with touch screens, have English language guidance, accept a variety of coins and bills, and are very easy to use. A fare chart above the machines shows the fares for all possible destinations.
Directly to the right of the ticket machines is the Ticket Office. Here you can make inquiries and buy rail tickets. It is also possible to buy local bus passes here. The Ticket Office is open from 8.00 to 18.00 each day.
Directly to the right of the Ticket Office are the ticket gates.
A sign above the ticket gates shows the times and platforms for upcoming departures.
Platforms & Trains
JR Nikko Station has just two platforms which are connected by a footbridge.
All trains stopping at this station are local services on the JR Nikko Line. Because JR Nikko Station is the last stop on the JR Nikko Line, all trains that leave this station are bound for Utsunomiya. There are just one or two services on this line each hour.
The journey time from JR Nikko Station to Utsunomiya Station is around 40 minutes. At Utsunomiya Station you can then transfer to southbound Tohoku Shinkansen services for Tokyo or northbound services for Sendai, Morioka and Aomori. You can also transfer at Utsunomiya Station to the Shonan-Shinjuku Line for services bound for Shinjuku in Tokyo.
If you enter the station via the station entrance all the general facilities are located on the right side of the building. Coin lockers can be found directly to the right of the ticket gates. These come in four sizes priced at 400 yen, 500 yen, 600 yen, and 900 yen. For more details of how to use these lockers and lockers at the other Nikko stations please see our article Lockers and Baggage Storage at the Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen Stations.
Directly across from the coin lockers at JR Nikko Station there is a waiting room. This room has plenty of seating and soft drink vending machines.
Further to the right of the coin lockers is the Tourist Information Center. The Tourist Information Center is open from 9.00 to 17.30 and has English speaking staff. Here you can pick up maps and brochures, use free Wi-Fi, and ask about local bus services. However, to buy bus passes you should ask at the station Ticket Office. The Tourist Information Center also has touch screen tablets that you can use to access online information.
Just inside the station entrance there is also a flight of stairs that leads up to the 2nd floor. Here you can find the historic White Room, which was the waiting room for 1st class passengers during the early part of the 20th century. This room with its elegant curtains and chandeliers is now used as a gallery and you can see some old black-and-white photographs here showing the station over a 100 years ago when rickshaws waited outside the station instead of taxis.
Back on the 1st floor, just under the stairs that lead to the White Room is a JCB ATM that accepts a number of major international bank cards.
The ATM has English language guidance and accepts VISA, MasterCard, Maestro, Plus, and UnionPay, as well as JCB cards.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.