Monday, July 6, 2009

Nikko in a day!

It was an early start (4:20am) as I wanted to beat the traffic thru Tokyo to make navigating the highways easier. As it turned out we nailed it and arrived in Nikko at about 7:30!!

Located north of Tokyo in Tochigi prefecture, Nikko is one of Japan's major tourist attractions. Once a famous training center for Buddhist monks in the mid 8th century, it later became home to the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the warlord that established the shogunate that ruled all Japan for more than 250 years. According to the Lonely Planet "the grandeur of Nikko is intended to inspire awe; it is a display of wealth and power by a family that for nearly three centuries was the supreme arbiter of power in Japan".

I took too many photos to post individually, so I made a little slide show. Enjoy!

In it you can see;
Shin-kyo (bridge at the base of the hill)
Rinno-ji (founded 1200 years ago)
Tosho-gu (the centerpiece with a 5-story Pagoda and the emblematic three-monkeys carving "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil")
Futarasan-jinja (a smaller scale of Tosho-gu)

We did all this by 11am!

There are also pics of Lake Chuzenji and the surrounding area.

What a lot of visitors don't realize is that Nikko is part of the Nikko National Park encompassing extinct volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls and marshlands with hiking trails weaving there way through it all. The area around Chuzenji-ko (lake) really appealed to me when I first went up there with Aiko. There are a lot of resemblances to NZ, but the wildlife is said to include bears, monkeys, foxes and deer. We came across both deer and monkeys as we drove up there on the roadside.

Kegon waterfall looked majestic as it plunged the 97m to the bottom where we saw from an observation platform. Then we grabbed a nice Japanese lunch. Dad had the Shoyu Ramen and I had the Shrimp Tempura Soba. We were back there soon to pick up my cap that Dad left on the table after driving up to the observatory overlooking Lake Chuzenji. Once we had the cap we were off again and spent the rest of the afternoon hiking the various trails across the Senjogahara marshlands and around Lake Yunoko where fly fisherman were catching trout as well as checking a few of the other waterfalls in the area.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Nikko & Lake Chuzenji
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We left Nikko at about 8pm and got back around midnight. Exhausted from all the driving and walking we had done we slept well.

Then on Friday, after sushi for lunch and shaking off a few aches and pains from the previous day, it was off to Narita!!!

An awesome week, with loads of good memories and some good quality father/son time. Until we meet again....

1 comment:

David said...

Hey, a great slide show! We really did take in a lot in the day.

I wonder still how you did all that driving on top of all the other driving that week, and then up to Narita and back on Friday!!

I can't wait to come again - but you might like a little time off first!!