The city of Utsunomiya is the capital of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. The presence of the Futaarayama Shrine and the natural beauty of the region make it a great place for a getaway, not to mention the ideal location of about 60 miles north of Tokyo. But what makes Utsunomiya famous is its nightlife and reputation as “Gyoza Town.” It is not just an idle boast, because they have some 200 specialty shops peddling gyoza all over the town. Get a car for hire in Utsunomiya for a gyoza-tasting expedition and for visiting the tourist attractions.
The most famous attraction in the city is the Futaarayama Shrine founded 1,600 years ago. The iron guardian dog and the helmet at the shrine are national treasures. The illuminated entrance looks especially beautiful after dark. Get a car for rent in Utsunomiya and head for St. John Church, a historic structure made of Ohya Stone, which gives off a luminous greenish tint to the structure. You might also want to drop in at the Matugamine Church. The Bronze Buddha of the Zenganji Temple is a stunning sight, and so are the Iron Stupa at the Seiganji Temple and the Bell of Oyori at Hozoji Temple. The Gamoh Shrine has a monument to legendary sumo wrestler Shiganosuke Akashi.
A gyoza is actually a Chinese peasant dish, where some pork stuffing is wrapped in flour and grilled, fried, or cooked in soup. How famous these dumplings have become in this city and among tourists can be judged from the fact that there is a gyoza statue made of Ohya Stone right outside the JR Utsunomiya station. The city even has an Utsuomiya Gyoza Association, which operates one of the more well-known gyoza eateries known as Kirasse. At this particular restaurant, you can actually sample gyozas from more than 70 eateries all over the city. Other places which are just as famous include Gyoza-kan and Iki Iki Gyoza.
The Richmond Hotel Utsunomiya Ekimae is possibly the most preferred hotel among visitors in Utsunomiya. Another alternative is the Toyoko Inn Utsunomiya Ekimae. The Chisun Hotel in front of JR Utsunomiya Station is highly rated and convenient, while the Hotel Sunshine and Utsunomiya Station Hotel are affordable and accessible.
Nikkō, which has the mausoleum of the Tokugawa Shoguns, is a popular day-trip destination in Utsunomiya. Book your car rental in Utsunomiya and plan for visits to Mashiko and Mito near the coast. The former capital city of Tochigi may also be worth a visit, and so is Sakura.
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