What surprises tourists the most when they visit Japan is the strong cultural heritage people preserved in their everyday life despite the country's constant modernization. If you have some knowledge about Japanese history, you'll definitely appreciate a lot more of your visit: customs, architecture, fashion, and so on. However, although it's a fascinating topic, it can be really difficult to dive into history books right before going on a trip.
Don't worry: In Nikko, there is a simple way to learn about Japanese History while having fun. Only two hours away from Tokyo in the Tochigi prefecture, easily accessible by JR or Tobu Line from Asakusa station (ranging from ¥1,300 to ¥3,000 a trip), you will find one of the most exciting historic theme parks: Edo Wonderland.
As you may know, the Edo period marked a major turn in Japanese History for being a time of incredible economic, urban and cultural development. Edo Wonderland, or Edo Mura as it's called in Japanese, allow you to immerse yoursef into what Japanese society was three centuries ago. The theme park recreates the atmosphere of a typical Edo period town with very precise details. You will find replicas of houses, temples, busy streets, quiet gardens and lakes, and catch many characters such as villagers or samurais living their daily lives, played by actors who perfectly impersonate them. There is so much to visit and to explore that you won't know where to start! When you'll have some time, let yourself be tempted by the delicious smell of the scrumptious steamed snacks prepared in the main street.
Edo Mura is not only a giant replica of an Edo Town, but also a great spot for quality entertainment. It holds several shows everyday, hosted in one of the numerous buildings. From Ninja performances to water shows, you'll love the great care with which they have been conceived and the effort put into making these scenes seem real. Their quality and special effects are so good that you'll feel like you're in a cinema. There also are a few haunted houses that are a blast to visit if you're with kids or with friends. Many secrets are hidden in this theme park and you won't see time fly!
Entrance fees are quite affordable, ranging from ¥3,900 to ¥4,500 for adults (half-day or full-day pass) and ¥2,000 to ¥2,500 for kids. You may find a discount ticket that gives you 10% off on their website, and you'll also get 10% off with a Nikko pass, which you can buy in Asakusa station before leaving, that allows you to ride express Tobu lines and buses for free and gives you discounts on many attractions for four days, for only ¥4,520.