Monday, November 19, 2012

One Rainy Day In Nikko

I remained loyal to the suggested itinerary of Japan Guide and proceeded to Nikko. I wanted to try a daytrip from Tokyo. Other suggested choices would be Yokohama or Kamakura. I didn’t feel like doing Tokyo Disneyland alone – and Tripadvisor says Disney parks are all the same. The autumn leaves of Nikko lured me. I was eager to experience autumn again.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as enthusiastic as I was, it was a dark and gloomy day when I set out for the JR Ueno station. It was the first day of using my JR Pass - the most expensive transportation pass that I've purchased so far.

 Ueno Station was so ....modern, it looked like an airport. 

Going to Nikko means I have to ride the Tohoku train and get off at Utsonomiya Station. The ride was spacious. More spacious than the economy class of a plane. The reserved and unreserved seat are in different carts. Although the JR pass allows me to reserve a free seat, I didn’t bother to try. I ended up having a good seat anyway. I think I actually boarded the wrong cart because I was with a bunch of people in a Chinese tour group. Nobody evicted me from my seat, I did get some friendly nods during the one hour ride.
Transferring to Nikko Line

I was very attentive to the stops of the train station. After one hour, I bid my seatmates goodbye.The Nikko train runs every hour. I was lucky that I caught the train just a few minutes before the doors closed for its departure.

I bought the bus pass that would allow me to go around Nikko – JPY 500. You just have to show this to the conductor when you go down the bus. You can also take a leisurely walk going to the tour spots but that would take a while and I would be soaking wet by the time I get there.

I got off the station of the some shrine - where everyone seemed to get off. When I got there, I learned that the ticket to the shrine was sold down the hill. Eeeeeep! Had to walk back to reach the ticket booth. 

This is where you buy tix

The combination ticket costs JPY 1,000 which covers Rin-noji Temple (Taiyuin), Rin-no-ji Temple (Sanbutsudo), Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan Shrine and Iemitsu Mausoleum (Taiyuinbyo). The ticket has a very basic map of the area.

I didn’t cover a lot of ground here. The weather wasn’t very cooperative. I was sniffling and sneezing in between smiley shots. I was warm enough, but the damp weather dampened by mood too.  And because it was raining, I was a bit shy to ask strangers to take my picture.

Still all smiles here

The shrines have these... wishing papers where you write your intentions.

The reason why I chose Nikko: Autumn leaves.

Autumn wasn’t quite in Nikko yet.

Autumn is approaching Nikko

Toshogu Shrine was a blockbuster hit among the tourist. Lavishly decorated. Heavily ornamented. It is wonderful, but I find the details too overwhelming to appreciate. *shrugs*

Toshogu Shrine is the mausoleum of Ieyasu Tokugawa. Sounds familiar? Rurouni Kenshin the Movie occurs after the Tokugawa Era. This is also mentioned occasionally in the Anime series.

Ah, those were the days.

There is a five-story pagoda outside the shrine. Lavish too.

Lots of umbrellas. Lots of tourists even though it was raining.

I didn't stay too long there. There were too many groups and I just didn't appreciate the shrine enough I guess. Shower that with a gloomy rainy weather and you a have an irritated traveler shivering in the cold.

Walked down the path towards Rin-noji temple.
Rin-noji Temple  was an eyesore for me. The temple facade was covered by this huge tarp to cover the ongoing renovations. Can't take pics inside also. The museum mostly exhibits golden statues and other expensive looking ornamental items. I just browsed them. 

The highlight of Rin-noji temple was this orange tree!

At around 3pm, I was already already riding the bus back to Nikko station. I didn’t catch the train at that hour so I bought some bread and drinks in the nearby shop. Pizza bread, sugar break stick plus Yakult lime drink for JPY 310. 

I wasn't able to fully utilize the bus pass and I wasn't able to explore the whole area, but there can always be part 2, right? :)


  1. And your part 2 skips Nikko. Hahaha. Okay lang, Kansai naman! :D

  2. Then in Part 3! Hopefully with more Amigas! I still have that vision.


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