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A Weekend in Nikko

A (wet) Winter Wonderland

(click on picture for a larger view)

 

Nikko is only a two hour train ride from Tokyo, but feels like you are visiting a different world.  Unfortunately, we visited the city during its off season - the winter is very cold and wet! 

Shin-kyo (Sacred Bridge), originally built in 1636 for the exclusive use of the Shogun and his envoys.  Considered one of  the three most unusual bridges in all of Japan

Kris standing in front of Tosho-gu shrine.  The Shrine of the Tokugawa regime, was to Japan's Shoguns what the Pyramids were to the Egyptian Pharoahs (so the guide book says).  

The Tosho-gu shrine is utterly overwhelming in its intricate designs and ostentatious use of gold leaf, etc.  Unfortunately, it was pouring rain while we were there!

Since the weather was so bad, I scanned a postcard to show you what one of the buildings looks like in normal weather.  The complex was built during the 17th century and took two years and some 15,000 artisans to build. 

              

Kris and Melissa in front of Kegon Falls. You can see the waterfall on the right side of the previous picture.  We rode up the mountain, and then took an elevator down to the bottom of the waterfall!  

 

 

The city is surrounded by mountains, and forests, so people flock here during the spring and fall to see the cherry blossoms and the changing of the leaves.  

Unfortunately the previous picture is a scanned postcard, as this is what greeted us when we arrived!  The bridge is under renovation until the year 2003!

See-No-Evil, Speak-No-Evil, Hear-No-Evil.  The three wise monkeys of Tosho-gu shrine.....look familiar? These have been here a little longer than the ad campaign, though. 

As you can see, the shrine is a very popular tourist spot.  These people are patiently awaiting their turn to enter the next level of buildings.  

The mountains around Nikko contain some amazing waterfalls, and some beautiful lakes.  But the road to reach them, is anything but straight.  Here is another scan showing you just how curvy (48 hairpin turns - up and down) and how beautiful in Autumn. 

              

                     Kegon Falls, a 100 meter cascade.

 

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