Nikko

Hi all!

I’m finally down to my last post from my Japan trip in Mar/Apr. My last full day in Japan was spent at Nikko. If you do not have a JR pass, you can get a day pass from the tourist information centre located right outside Asakusa station. However, my JR pass did cover the JR ride down to JR Nikko, so I bought the chuzenjiko onsen pass (2000 yen) from the local Nikko train station (right beside the JR station) instead. This made it cheaper and I could enjoy unlimited bus rides to/fro to the places I wanted to visit. Side track, my first and only picture with the Shinkansen, just for memory sake πŸ™‚

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I actually dropped off at the wrong stop and ended up at taking the ropeway (600 yen/adult) to a viewing platform. It is actually quite pretty to see the water flowing from Lake Chuzenji to form the Kegon waterfall. This was not in my initial plan because it was slightly pricey and my money was stretching slightly thin by then. But as I mentioned, I blindly followed the majority of locals who got off the bus, wrongly assuming it would lead to the observation deck to see the waterfall up close. It turned out to be an unorthodox hiking point of sorts for the locals as they started climbing up an unmarked path with warnings of bears into the forest. I was slightly befuddled and lost at this point and headed back down to the carpark to await for the bus. Spent some time looking at the bus stops led me to realise I got off 1 stop early. Silly me!

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Finally at the correct place! The elevator ride (return) costs 550 yen and it gives you the opportunity to witness the falls up close. In my opinion, this is truly the best way to enjoy and capture the beauty of the falls.
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Had suiton (vegetarian dumpling soup) at this store below – located right outside the Kegon falls elevator. It totally hit the spot in this cold weather. Topped it up with a yuba croquette (fried tofu skin) and a cup of amazake.

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From here, headed down to Toshogu shrine (1380 yen/adult) which I was hesitant to visit because of mixed reviews about how overrated it was. But I genuinely enjoyed my time here even though part of the main shrine building was under construction.

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The “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” monkeys are located here and they are honestly quite small (though not the smallest of the iconic wood carvings).

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Right opposite the monkeys are the Sonozono elephants.

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The tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

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The super small wood carving of the sleeping cat (nemurineko) of the Sakashitamon gate that leads to a flight of stairs to the tomb.Β IMG_1875

Beautiful paintings of the dragon on the ceiling.

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Aside from that, there’s the Honjido hall that house the “crying dragon”. This is due to the acoustics of the ceiling (where a dragon is painted). Only when one stands under the dragon’s head, can a ringing sound be heard when 2 blocks of wood are clapped together. This is performed by a priest and it is pretty cool to witness it. Unfortunately, no photography/videography was allowed in the hall.

Ended the day by popping by Shinkyo bridge which was located in the middle of the road. You can pay a fee to get on the bridge, but I think it is best seen at a distance (and free). Nikko can be fairly expensive to visit as a day trip, but it was worth it. Till the next post, bye!

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Tokyo II

Hi all!

Since I ended my visit to Kamakura & Enoshima early, I decided to further explore Tokyo (while checking out the ticket purchase for Nikko the next day). I headed to Asakusa because that’s where the tourist information centre is located.

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Passing by all the stalls en route to the iconic Sensoji temple in Asakusa.

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(Old) Tokyo station. I literally stepped out of the station just for this. Although, I did get more snacks within the station itself as souvenirs for friends and family back home.

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Cute little koinobori (carp streamers) that is used to celebrate children’s day and Tango no Sekku at Tokyo Dome. They simply reminded me of a scene in one of crayon shin-chan’s episode. Also, the wind in Japan are really strong. Me (& almost everybody else) were being blown away (literally!) by the wind. Each time the wind passes, we are forced to move forwards a few steps. There’s no denying the force of the wind (or face toppling over).

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Ended the day with a meal a shake shack. Been wanting to try this place ever since I’ve heard about it. There’s no shops opened in Singapore when I visited, so I had the shrooms burger and it was fantastic. Super juicy and flavourful (albeit pricey for just an Γ  la carte burger).

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Walked over to the nearby mall for a cup of soy green tea latte at Starbucks and further discovered the Japanese attention to details. They literally hand you a tag that says soy to ensure that when you get your cup, it’s made with soy and not milk. So appreciative, especially because I’m allergic to lactose and have experience my drink being made with milk a couple of times. So I actually do a little sip each time to ensure it is soy before stepping out of the shop. Also found a supermarket (unfortunately nearing the end of stay) and it was life-changing. Japanese supermarkets are really very fun. I did went a little overboard with soy milk tasting and purchase. Rounded off the day with more snacks shopping atΒ Don Quijote. Fortunately I brought a spare (huge) foldable bag to stuff it to the brim with all more snack loots. Would have totally failed in packing if I didn’t have that bag with me. Till the next post, bye!

 

Kamakura & Enoshima

Hi all!

Got a day pass (600 yen/adult) and explored Kamakura and Enoshima as a day trip from Tokyo. Both are small places so it is pretty limited in the things you can do/see. At Kamakura, it was pretty coincidental that I arrived at the Great Buddha temple just as the ticket sales begun (200 yen/adult). I was the first person that day and I literally had the whole place to myself. It is a pretty small temple and one round later, I exited the place just as a group of Chinese tourists entered. What good timing!

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A cute little cafe by the road.

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From Kamakura, I took the train to Enoshima island. The weather was pretty gloomy that day.

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The wind and waves were really strong and 3 people who were hanging by the platform (that extended into the sea) fell off the edge into the waters. Only 1 of their friend was left. He had to run to get help as the platform was fairly isolated and it was still pretty early (~ 9 am) so not many people were in the area. Fortunately, help arrived and all 3 were rescued (1 male and 2 female). A shocking start to my morning.

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Continuing on my journey, many of the shops/restuarants/attractions are located on a slope/hill. So lots of stairs were involved, although they did strangely built a one-way escalator up to view the attractions. But it’s really pricey. I took the steps up and saw temples, little garden and a good view of the city along the way.

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I arrived at Samuel Cocking garden and headed within to view the Sea Candle (500 yen/adult for both attractions). The people were also really helpful and they refunded my extra ticket which I purchased from the machine (it was only available in Japanese). The garden is really small and pretty sparse as I think there was some relocating works going on for the plants. There was also a number of Chinese influences like the pavilion below in the garden. As I headed up the Sea Candle, it started to rain and the view from the top was pretty hindered.

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I quickly left the garden and headed back down to town as the rain started to beat down even more. It left me soaking wet when I was back to the town area and I headed to have some shirasu don for lunch. Shirasu is a white fish (eaten raw in my case), that looks and taste like ikan bills – slightly salty. After lunch, I headed back to Tokyo as there was nothing much that was of interest to me left to see. Iwaya caves was closed for repair so there was not much point to headed further up beyond the garden. Till the next post, bye!

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