[Kanto Touring Spot] [Tochigi Prefecture] Bike trip to Nikko Cedar Avenue! Solo Harley trip around special historical sites and special natural monuments

Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta.
This time, I toured by motorcycle from central Tokyo to Nikko Cedar Avenue.
Nikko Cedar Avenue is Japan’s oldest tree-lined road located in Nikko City, with more than 12,000 cedar trees lining the road for approximately 37 km.
It is a historic site where Ieyasu’s loyal retainer Matsudaira Masatsuna spent over 20 years planting trees as the approach to Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
It has been designated as a special historic site and a special natural monument, and is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest tree-lined avenue in the world.
I would like to share with you my impressions after riding my beloved Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide along the Nikko Cedar Avenue.


What is Nikko Cedar Avenue?


Nikko Cedar Avenue straddles three roads in Nikko City (Nikko Kaido, Reiheishi Kaido, and Aizu Nishi Kaido).
Among them, Nikko Kaido was developed as a main road connecting Edo and Nikko during the Edo period, and is currently National Route 119.
Reiheishi Kaido was used by the Edo Shogunate to dedicate heihaku to Nikko Toshogu Shrine every year, and is now National Route 121.
Aizu Nishi Kaido is a mountain route that connects Aizuwakamatsu and Nikko, and is currently National Route 352.
Along these roads, there are cedar trees that are about 30 meters tall, creating a landscape that looks like a tunnel in the sky.
The cedar trees change their appearance with each season, with dazzling fresh greenery in spring and cool scenery in summer.
The autumn leaves are beautiful, and in the winter you can see them covered in snow.

Route to Nikko Cedar Avenue

For this tour, we departed from central Tokyo using the Metropolitan Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Line.
The Shuto Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Line is a route that crosses the Sumida River and Arakawa River, allowing you to go straight from the city center to the suburbs.
I moved from the Shuto Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Line to the Shuto Expressway Chuo Loop Line, and from Kosuge JCT I entered the Shuto Expressway Kawaguchi Line.
The Shuto Expressway Kawaguchi Line is a route that runs through Saitama Prefecture, passing through areas such as Omiya and Angyo.
I transferred from the Metropolitan Expressway Kawaguchi Line to the Tohoku Expressway and drove all the way to Utsunomiya IC.
The Tohoku Expressway is a major expressway that runs from the Kanto region to the Tohoku region, and there are many service areas and parking areas along the way.
From Utsunomiya IC, take Nikko Utsunomiya Road and get off at Imaichi IC.
Nikko Utsunomiya Road is an expressway that runs through Tochigi Prefecture, providing convenient access to tourist spots such as Nikko City and Kinugawa Onsen.
From Imaichi IC, exit onto National Route 121 and turn left onto Nikko Kaido (National Route 119).
Nikko Kaido is part of the Nikko Cedar Avenue and runs through Nikko City.
From Nikko Kaido, we turned right onto Old Nikko Kaido and arrived at the entrance to Nikko Cedar Avenue.
The entire trip was about 200km and took about 3 hours.

Highlights of Nikko Cedar Avenue


As you enter Nikko Suginamiki Kaido, you will immediately find Suginamiki Park.
This is a park near Kamimaichi Station on the Tobu Nikko Line, where you can see Tobu Railway’s steam locomotives and trains.
There are watermills and waterways in the park, and there is an exhibition corner called The World of Watermills.
Here, the process of manufacturing cedar incense that was carried out along the cedar-lined road during the Edo period is being recreated.
Sugi joss incense is made by grinding cedar wood into powder, kneading it in a water wheel, forming it into a stick, and drying it.It was used at Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan Shrine, and other places.
In the world of waterwheels, you can watch how cedar incense is made using a waterwheel.

After passing through Suginamiki Park, the authentic Nikko Suginamiki Road begins.
From here onwards, there is a line of cedar trees for about 35km.
There are various attractions along the way.
For example, there is a rare tree called Sakurasugi in the Moritomo area.
This is a symbiotic relationship between cherry blossom branches and parasitic cedar trunks, and the cherry blossoms bloom in spring.
There is also a cedar tree with a large hollow named Namiki Hotel in this area.
This cave is large enough to accommodate about four adults, and it is said that travelers used to take a break or stay overnight there in the past.

There is also a shrine called Kokura Shrine in the Kokura area.
This is the place where the Reiheishi visited during the Edo period, and there is a building called the Reiheishikan within the precincts.
The Reiheishikan exhibits the history and costumes of the Reiheishi.
Reiheishi is a messenger sent by the Edo Shogunate every year to Nikko Toshogu Shrine to offer offerings such as cloth and paper called heihaku.
The Reihei envoys formed a colorful procession and passed along the Nikko Highway.

Proceeding further, you will arrive at the Osawa Chaya ruins in the Osawa district.
This area prospered as a post town on the Nikko Highway during the Edo period, and was lined with teahouses and inns.
Currently, there is a restaurant called Suginamiki Chaya on the site of the teahouse.
Here you can enjoy local cuisine such as Nikko’s famous yuba and konnyaku.
This area also has the oldest cedar tree on the Nikko Cedar Avenue.
This cedar tree is about 400 years old and has a trunk circumference of about 7 meters.
This cedar tree is said to have the rare phenomenon of blooming on April 17th, the anniversary of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s death.

As you approach the end of Nikko Cedar Avenue, you will enter the city of Nikko.
Here you can enjoy world heritage sites such as Nikko Toshogu Shrine and Futarasan Shrine, as well as natural scenery such as Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji.
There are also facilities in Nikko City that display materials related to the Nikko Cedar Avenue.
For example, the Nikko City Museum of History introduces the history and culture of the Nikko Cedar Avenue.
Additionally, the Nikko City Museum of Art exhibits paintings and prints depicting the Nikko Cedar Avenue.

Motorcycle parking lot on Nikko Cedar Avenue


If you are riding a motorcycle along Nikko Cedar Avenue, you may be interested in information about motorcycle parking.
Therefore, we will introduce some motorcycle parking lots along Nikko Cedar Avenue.

  • Suginamiki Park: There is a free motorcycle parking lot in the park in front of Kamimaichi Station.
    There is space for approximately 20 cars.
  • Kokura Shrine: There is a free motorcycle parking lot inside the shrine next to the Reiheishikan.
    There is space for approximately 10 cars.
  • Nikko City Hall: Free motorcycle parking is available at City Hall in downtown Nikko.
    There is space for approximately 50 cars.


This time, I toured by motorcycle from central Tokyo to Nikko Cedar Avenue.
Nikko Cedar Avenue is a historical site and a wonderful route where you can enjoy beautiful natural scenery.
When I rode my Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide, the wind, scent, and sounds coming from the cedar trees were soothing, and it was a truly relaxing experience.
Sightseeing spots such as Nikko Toshogu Shrine and Kegon Falls are also nearby, so it’s a place you’ll want to visit at least once.
If you want to ride a motorcycle along the Nikko Cedar Avenue, please refer to this guide.

At the end of the article, we will add the English translation of Nikko Cedar Avenue.