4 Dec 2012 – Nikko Day 1

On Tuesday we travelled up to Nikko, which is about 2 hours north of Tokyo by train. We took the Shinkansen – the bullet train) to Utonomiya, which was amazing, the seats are so comfy, there’s lot’s of leg room and so organised that your seating area is marked out already on the platform – so well organised! Maybe they should send TFL and the transport minister here on an educational trip! We changed to the Nikko line, which was a more old fashioned train that took us to the mountainous town of Nikko.

When we arrived we walked to the tourist centre where they told us how to get to the lodge we had booked. We got on a bus that took us out of the town centre and up in the forest, jumped off and managed to find the mountain lodge we were staying in. We dumped our bags off and headed back out. We walked back into town and headed up towards the Unesco World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikko.

We paid our 1000 yen each for our ticket – well worth your money! But if you will go, I would advise that you give yourself at least 2,5 hours to walk around, as we ran out of time and missed one of the shrines. The first shrine was over 1200 years old, but it was under restoration, so it was covered with a big massive metal building around it. We could still go inside to have a look though and it was impressive to say the least. There are well over 60 shrines, temples, stone statues and side buildings at the site, so it will take a while to walk around and digest it all.

One of my favourites was a temple where a member of staff stopped us as we entered the room, he then clapped two stone sticks together at one end of the room, under the tale of the dragon painted in the ceiling, then repeated the clap, at the other end of the room, under the head of the dragon and the sound was completely different, it gave off a singing echo that lingered, where as the other end the sound fell flat. Read more about the Whining Dragon here.

There was so much beauty to take in and it’s hard not to get swept away with it all. It made us think of how much man made historic beauty there is in the world, but what man made beauty will people of today leave behind?

You are not allowed to photograph inside the temples, so all our photos are from the outside of them.

On our way back to the lodge, we walked passed this house that had the most Christmas lights I’ve ever seen in my life – we thought we had ended up in America all of a sudden and not Japan!

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