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 🙂
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
Right opposite the monkeys are the Sonozono elephants.
The tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The super small wood carving of the sleeping cat (nemurineko) of the Sakashitamon gate that leads to a flight of stairs to the tomb.
Beautiful paintings of the dragon on the ceiling.
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!