15 Things To Do in Utsunomiya

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Source: Happy Come

Utsunomiya has been called “Jazz Town” primarily because it’s the birthplace of jazz legend Sadao Watanabe. This beautiful city has long lines chestnut trees and believed to having the most in Tochigi Prefecture. There are many different things you can do in Utsunomiya and we would like to share these activities with you to make your travels in Japan more interesting.

1. Walk around and Sightseeing

Utsunomiya city
Source: kimishowota

There’s no better way to experience the sights and sounds of Utsunomiya than to walk around and see the major streets lined with grocery stores, shops, and other structures. You should walk around in the morning to get a feel of the vibe and ambiance of the town. The activity is free, but of course, you can try some food delicacies along the way.

2. Futarayama Shrine

One of the most renowned shrines in Utsunomiya, it has a mighty stairway that is a couple of stories high leading to the big temple. The area is popular with tourists and has some good spots for taking pictures with your friends and family. It is around ten minutes walk from the station and near Pargo.

3. Hachimanyama Park

In your first day in Utsunomiya, it would be a great idea to walk to Hachimanyama Park from the northwest JR station. This park has been a popular tourist destination for a lot of people who wants to take pictures and just view the dazzling and majestic cherry blossoms. Also, go to Futaarasan Shrine, located on a small hill, right at the center of the city.


  • Availability: Daily
  • Time: Open
  • Activity: Shrine visit
  • Phone: 028-622-6002

4. Utsunomiya Castle

This castle is Utsunomiya’s Japanese Royalty’s home, where the royal members and emperors seek rest a place to reside. Most often, the place is where the royal members would change and take care of their horses before they go to Nikko. A castle is a great place for picnics for your families and friends.

5. Matsugamine Church

This church can be reached from JR Utsunomiya, by taking the Kanto Bus going to Sakushin Gakuin. You get off at the Tobu Utsunomiya Station and walk for five minutes to reach the church. Built as inspired by Romanesque cathedrals, it is made up of Ohya Stones from its interiors up to the exteriors.


  • Availability: Daily
  • Time: Open
  • Activity: Cultural, Religion
  • Phone: 028-635-0405

6. Utsunomiya Zoo

utsunomiya zoo
Source: yoppy

A popular place to visit for families, Utsunomiya Zoo can be reached from the JR Utsunomiya Station by taking an Ishinada bus. You should get off at Shimokanai and by foot, it should take you around five minutes. The zoo is not as large compared to others, but the zoo keepers allow you to feed some of the animals.


  • Availability: Daily
  • Time: 9am to 6pm
  • Phone: 028-665-3257
  • Fee: Call to confirm

7. Motegi Twin Ring Race Circuit

You may also want to visit the Motegi Twin Ring Race Circuit to have an exhilarating and exciting time at the races. A Honda museum can also be seen within the place, where Asimo taking part of the race happenings in the race track. To reach the circuit, take a bus and get off at small station Motegi, then take a short cab ride.

8. La La Square

If your partner and your kids yearn to get some souvenirs or just like to go window shopping, you can reach Lala Square just across from the Easter Exit of JR Utsunomiya Station. You can find a lot of shoe stores, clothing retailers, bookstores, pharmacies, supermarkets and 100 yen store inside the mall. There also gyoza and ramen restaurants if you get hungry.

9. Orion Dori Street

Another popular shopping haven is Orion Dori Street. The area isn’t short of stores and shops of all kinds as it is a very lively shopping street in Utsunomiya. Going by foot is a must, but watch out for bicycles. Of course, you can do your personal shopping as every tourist in Utsunomiya would do. There also open concerts and festivals from time to time.


  • Availability: Daily
  • Directions: Downtown Utsunomiya
  • Activity: Shopping
  • Website: http://www.city.utsunomiya.tochigi.jp/

10. Eat Gyoza Dumplings

Utsunomiya recently took the title of No.1 Dumpling City as it beats its erstwhile rival city Hamamatsu in the consumption of the dumpling specialty called Gyoza. According to some studies, families, households and residents in Utsunomiya spend an average of ¥5,000 annually on Gyoza dumplings. Before you finish your trip to Utsunomiya, make sure to munch some varieties of Gyoza.

11. PON debar HEJIRA

Another place you may want to visit is Pon debar Hejira. The restaurant has a wide range of menus and specialties which they prepare every day. Some of the favorites are Cheese Fondue, Spaghetti ala Puttanesca, Smoked Salmon, Beef Stews, Stir Fried Chicken in chili sauce, and Bacon wrapped cheese special.


  • Local Name: Pon debar Hejira
  • Address: 2F, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi, Japan 320-0027
  • Best Dishes: Smoked Salmon, Beef Stews
  • Phone: 81 083-924-9139
  • Opening Hours: 8am to 9pm

12. Utsunomiya City Forest Park

The Utsunomiya City Forest Park is made up of more than 500 hectares of the park area, open space, and nature. Most of its area is made up of the forest, with the Mount Kogashiyama and Akagawa Dam located inside the park. The national forest has several century old Japanese cedar trees. The park is a great area for camping, picnic, barbecue, cycling and outdoor play for kids.


  • Availability: Daily
  • Address: 1074-1,Fukuoka-machi Utsunomiya-Shi Tochigi-ken
  • Sightseeing, Nature viewing
  • Phone: 028-652-3450

13. Tochigi Drift Festival

The 7th TOCHIGI DRIFT FESTIVAL is held annually for all drift and car enthusiasts. There will be a lot of demo races and drift presentations which you wouldn’t want to miss. For something new in your itinerary, see some heart-pounding acceleration, screeching brakes, and drifting from drift racing professional drivers. Your boys and teens would surely love the sight of cars drifting in the speedway.


  • Date: Month of May
  • Time: 8 AM – 5 PM
  • Activity: Car show
  • Address: 984, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi, Japan 321-0416

14. Utsunomiya Tobu Hotel Grande

In your visit to Utsunomiya, you certainly want the best place to stay. The Utsunomiya Tobu Hotel Grande is one of the best hotel residences you can have if you’re staying in for a week or two. They serve great breakfast and lunch. The place is often fully booked for special events, wedding reservations and holidays in Utsunomiya, so you may want to book and plan your travels early.

15. Tuan Zeng River Island Store

Get some gifts and souvenirs in this merchandise hobby store. They have a lot of collectible toys and games in the shop, some of which you wouldn’t get the chance to see in your regular department stores or toy shops. The best thing about the store is their weekly specials where they provide 20% to 50% on regular priced items like video games, consoles and figure characters.


  • Availability: Mon-Sun
  • Time: 10AM – 10:00PM
  • Phone: +81 28-615-5666
  • Website: http://www.garakan.net/esoshima/

There are many ways to get around Utsunomiya. Some of the major train lines are the Tobu Nikko Line, JR Tohoku Main Line, Tohoku Shinkansen Line and the JR Utsunomiya Line. By bus, Kintetsu operates overnight. If you’re a tourist and you would stay for a couple of days, you may want to walk or go on foot to know Utsunomiya up close.

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan, Kanto Region, Tochigi Prefecture