Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A birthday in Nikko

Monday was spent travelling up the Shinkansen lines from Hiroshima all the way up to Utsunomiya and finally to Nikko where we checked in to the great little Hotori An. Really nice place and we've had a great stay here so far.

On Tuesday, we headed on up the road to visit Nikko's World Heritage temples and shrines. Yoshiko's father had once more pulled some strings and we found ourselves in the possession of some passes, always good to save some money when travelling. Our first stop was of course the grandiose Toshogu where everyone was in awe over the detail and color of the decorations which adorn the various buildings and gates. It was nice to be able to connect this visit all the way back to the first day of our visit since Tokugawa Ieyasu, who built Nijo-jo in Tokyo, is the one buried here. We then moved on to the mini version of the Toshogu which serves as a burial site for Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Shogun who built up this area for his grandfather Ieyasu. This scary guy was standing guard at the gate.

Here is one of the towers in front of the main building, I believe a drum tower, surrounded by the lovely trees which make this area a great place to visit.

After finishing up the Toshogu area, we each picked up a fortune at Rinno-ji and had Yoshiko translate for us. Interestingly enough, all of us pulled either good or really good fortunes from the box, a rare stroke of luck since we were 7 picking from the same box.

We then made our way into town where we had a ramen lunch and a nice birthday cheese cake at the Meiji no Yakata outlet by the station. Did I mention it was my birthday? The view from Nikko really is lovely when the mountains are covered in snow.

I also like this shot I got of the Asakusa bound Tobu line train waiting across from a deserted platform.

For dinner, Yoshiko was kind enough to ferry us all down to the station area by car, where we enjoyed a great meal of Indian, a first for my parents and brothers I believe. We then retired to our hotel for a good night's rest with a trip up into the mountains in store for the next day.


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