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Gyozas and the Underground World of Utsunomiya (2-Day Trip)


A bicycle-friendly city, Utsunomiya is notable for its stonework and gyoza. Less than an hour from Tokyo on the Shinkansen.

START: Tokyo Station

↓ JR Tohoku Shinkansen Yamabiko 47
Utsunomiya Station
↓30 min. by bus. get off at Shiryokaniriguchi and then walk 3min.

1.   Oya History Museum (Ohya)

The old underground quarry known as “the unknown space”

The old mining site of Utsunomiya’s specialty, Oya Stone, has now been turned into a historical museum. The exhibition features the long history of the mining since the 17th century, with many documents on display. The underground cavern, covering 20,000 sq. metres, is large enough to fit a baseball field. With a fantastic atmosphere reminding visitors of the ruins of Ancient Rome, the cavern is widely utilized as a location for shooting movies and music videos, as a venue such as concert hall, theatre, Noh theatre, business functions and wedding receptions.
Address 909 Oya-machi, Utsunomiya-city, Tochigi
Telephone Number 028-652-1232
Website http://www.oya909.co.jp/
Business Hours 9:00~16:30
Days Closed for Business Open every day
Price Adult 700yen
DirectionsBy public transport: Take the Kanto bus from JR Utsunomiya station for “Tateiwa” to “Shiryokan Iriguchi” bus stop (approx.30 minutes) and walk about 5 minutes.
By car: approx.15-minute drive from Utsunomiya IC on the Tohoku Expressway

2.   Utsunomiya Futaarayama Shrine

The foundation of the city of Utsunomiya

The history of the Utsunomiya Futaarayama Shrine dates back 1,600 years when the shrine was dedicated to the founder of Utsunomiya, Toyoki-Irihiko-no-Mikoto. Most of the festivals now held in the city are related to this historic shrine. Many citizens come to the shrine on special occasions such as New Year and Shichi-Go-San (the “7-5-3” celebration of children’s growth). The illuminated gate and approach to the shrine are an incredible evening sight. The shrine is also home to some nationally important works of art.
Address 1-1-1 Baba-dori Utsunomiya
Telephone Number 028-622-5271
Website http://www.futaarayamakaikan.jp/
Days Closed for Business Open every day
DirectionsA 10-minute walk from Tobu Utsunomiya station on the Tobu Utsunomiya line
A 5-minute ride on the city bus from JR Utsunomiya station to the Baba-cho (Futaarayama-Jinja-Mae) stop
↓ Bus
Utsunomiya Station
↓ 20 min. on foot (5min. by bus)

3.   Utsunomiya Gyoza Dumpling

The city with the highest gyoza consumption in Japan!

“Utsunomiya Gyoza” is a centre of local culture. The city has over 300 Gyoza restaurants, and people enjoy queuing in front of their particular favourite. These eateries compete in creating unique recipes to be recognised as “one of the best” Gyoza in the city, with all sorts of ingredients and cooking methods. Go from one eatery to another like the local Japanese do, and sample some of the enormous selection! You can even join in hands-on Gyoza-making classes led by veteran lecturers. Takeaway and Gyoza-related goods are also popular as souvenirs.
Address 2-3-12 Baba-dori, Utsunomiya-city, Tochigi
Telephone Number 028-614-5388 (Kirasse (a food park which serves Gyoza from renowned restaurants around the city))
Website http://www.gyozakai.com/tenpo_list/2492.html
Business Hours 11:00-21:00
Price hands-on Gyoza making class: from 1,500yen
DirectionsBy public transport: 10-minute walk from Tobu Utsunomiya station or take a local bus from JR Utsunomiya station to Babacho bus stop (in front of Futaarayama-jinja) and walk a minute

4.   Hotel

You can find accommodations on the websites below.
Bookig.com
agoda

5.   Miya Cycle Station

Tour Utsunomiya by renting bicycles from this station that also offers tourist information.
http://miya-cyclestation.jp/
↓ 2 min. on foot
Utsunomiya Station
↓Bus

6.   Romantic Village and Local Beer

Sample and compare a great variety of local beers!

At this roadside station you can find Onsen, restaurants, local products, a farm and accommodations in a vast space of area. Experience the daily life of the countryside here! Tochigi Prefecture has the highest production volume of two-rowed barley – an ingredient used in the making of beer. From “Mugitaro”, the most popular local beer, to “Gyoza Romance”, the beer perfectly matching to Gyoza, be sure to try a freshly brewed one!
Address 254 Hei, Nissato-machi, Utsunomiya-city, Tochigi
Telephone Number 028-665-8800
Website http://www.romanticmura.com/
Business Hours 08:30-18:00 (depending on the facilities)
Days Closed for Business the second Tuesdays (except Bank holidays, in which case closed the next working day)(temporary closed for the inspection during the winter season)
Price free admission and parking
Charge for Agri Spa, Yudokoro Agri and accommodation at the Villa de Agri: Adult 4,770yen- Child 2,460yen- (room with no meals)
Date Recommended seasons: rape blossoms picking (April to early May), herb picking (June), potato digging (July), sweet corn harvesting (August), herb picking (October), sweet potato digging (late October), strawberry picking (late December to late April)
DirectionsBy public transport: Take the Kanto bus from JR Utsunomiya station to the last stop, Romantic Village (approx.35 minutes)
By car: approx.5-minute ride from Utsunomiya IC on the Tohoku Expressway
↓ Bus
Utsunomiya Station
↓ JR Tohoku Shinkansen Yamabiko 146

GOAL: Tokyo Station

Trip Route