Monday, May 29, 2006

Aaah Nikko.... good to be back

The Nikko area is quite lovely, this is something I kept repeating to myself again and again today as we walked around the Temples and Shrines which dot the hills. We met up this morning and biked down to the station and hopped on the ol' JR Nikko line for the 45 minute train ride. Since this is a Monday and most folks have to work, the train was practically empty save for the gaggle of foreigners and retired folks heading up to Nikko.

Now, excuse me for a second but I've got a mini-rant here. What is it with women and wearing high-heeled shoes to go sightseeing in the mountains? What's up with that? Don't they know they'll be walking a lot, through gravel and dirt and stuff? Duh. There was this German (I think) couple next to me on the train, and she was wearing these white heels... about the common sense of a snail that one...

Anywho, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Upon arriving in Nikko, we stopped by the Information center for the mandatory map and then took a bus to the touristy area. Ends up we shouldn't have bothered, the posted "30-40 minute walk" sign must be for the geriatrics who head up there... we were on the bus all of 4 minutes. The first thing we saw was of course the "famous" Shinkyo bridge.

We walked and checked out a few temples, then as we were walking up to the Toshogu, the main site in Nikko, bells started tolling which set the mood very nicely. Once inside the Toshogu, we did the typical rounds, starting of course with the famous monkey carving.

Everything was nice and green up there, with some trees just recently having grown leaves due to the mountain weather. Even the lanterns were green.

After touring the inner area a bit, we trudged up the side of the mountain and visited the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu. If you want the whole story about Nikko, click here for the post I made when I visited with some students.

After walking around some more, we headed off to the next couple of shrines. I think this is my favourite picture of the day, of the lanterns heading to Futarasan Shrine.

After checking out a couple of other places, we walked on back towards the station in search of a restaurant Lonely Planet said had good Shabu Shabu since I'd never tried it. However the restaurant seemed to have vanished\disappeared and we ended up having tempura and soba instead at a place with this lovely Engrish. I believe they are trying to communicate that the right and left buttons are flippers....

Once we returned to Utsunomiya, we quickly checked out Yodabashi camera, and then I showed Matto around my new neighbourhood before heading on back. Looks like a nice area, cute little vegetable and fruit stand, little markets here and there. I of course have to move the entire contents of my apartment, appliances included, which will make for a busy week. The bike ride back home took all of 5 minutes, so it's not that far away... though it is downhill... maybe 7 minutes to bike from here to there. I'll check it out some other time. For now, I need a shower and something to drink... been a long day.

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Blogger Anskov said...

when you were discussing the "frippers" you spelled buttons, "buton" - lol

Great post. Thanks for hanging out today! (that exclamation point was in honor of Elaine from Seinfeld)

7:54 AM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

You must have misread... Won!derful day though, I must agree.

10:31 AM  
Blogger tatiana said...

Gorgeous photos! I would love to visit Japan one day...My college room mate studie japanese in Osaka for a year & loved it. I am directed to your site in a off beat kind of way... I found an article on when I was reading about Polish world news.. which sent me to another link & so on until I found Kinuks weblog. I always go through people's links to other blogs to find something new & interesting to read & behold - I found your site! I have a few expats blogs that I read... seems I have a bunch of canadians, too! {hew! That was a long explanation..... ok, I'm done typing.... Good luck with your move.....

9:38 AM  
Blogger tatiana said...

One more thing! In response to "frippers" - I bought some candy in Chicagos Chinatown last year & the wrappers would label the flavor of the candies... Guess what lemon was? Yep! You guessed it "Remon" tee hee - it has since melted & the platic disintegrated (way to use easily biodegradable packaging, China!) - but it was sooooo funny!!

9:41 AM  

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