a VirtualTourist member from New York City
Is it possible to get to Nikko from Narita Airport without going through Tokyo?
Is there, perhaps, a direct bus?
If I rent a car in Narita, how long it will take me to reach Nikko?
Does it make sense to rent a car for a day or two in Nikko instead of going by buses to onsens and places to see? Will I have to pay for parking at each place? How much?
How much does bus cost? Is there such thing as an unlimited day bus pass?
From Narita, Nikko is North of the airport/Tokyo. You could rent a car but it's much less stress to take a train. Also, in one of your other posts, you mentioned you might go to Kamakura. That is south of Narita and Tokyo. I would recommend staying in Tokyo first to enjoy the nightlife (it really is more remarkable in some ways that New York!), then get a fresh start to Nikko in the morning. Getting to Nikko means having to get to Utsunomiya first, and it's better to take a train than to worry about asking for directions to get there by car. Kamakura can be visited in 1/2 day. Nikko to truly enjoy it needs about a full day. Go for the train option. We can help on VT!
Thank you for your answer. It was my understanding that rental cars come with GPS, so there should be no problem with directions.
I don't care much about nightlife - a bar is a bar everywhere and it will be too late to go to some kind of a show. So overnight in Tokyo will be just coming there, sleeping, leaving in the morning. Isn't it better to use evening dark hours that are wasted anyway to travel and start the day in Nikko?
ah, sorry, I meant 'night life' as in, people-watching etc. The plethora of neon lights in this city is phenomenal! A few hours strolling through the districts of Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ueno will set you up plenty for urban life. It gives you a feel for the place if you've never been to Japan before. Quite a culture shock for me. But in a nice way. Then, a train to Utsunomiya which is your transfer spot for Nikko. Utsunomiya is world-famous for its gyoza (potstickers!) of every type. Train station has about 6-10 cafes you can sit in and enjoy. Also, taking the train over the car lets you experience life there more closely, get to know the people. I heard a saying once: to truly understand a country's people and their culture, one must first experience their breakfasts (or something like that! ha ha). Enjoy your stay, whatever you decide!