Monday, 19 October 2015

Nikko in Tochigi

My branch was renovating over the weekend and was therefore shut, so I took this opportunity to go to Nikko with a friend of mine who's only free over the weekends.

We booked a hotel last month. There weren't many vacancies so we wound up with an expensive one. But it was really convenient and actually close to both Tobu Nikko and Nikko station. It's called 'Nikko Park Lodge' and we got half board. The hotel was lovely and included hot springs. So I tried it for the first time. It's a bit uncomfortable for me to go naked in front of people but this is the Japanese culture. And I actually think bodies are not something we should be ashamed of. But still! Although I liked my hot spring experience, I got bored after about 10 minutes.
The hotel had a small salad bar with beans for dinner. And the breakfast menu had hash browns and fruit salad. So the hotel worked for me.   

I did find one vegan place. It's in between Nikko station and Shinkyo bridge. Their coffee and persimmon cakes are amazing!! But... it stops serving proper meals at 2pm and before then, they only serve 25 people (first come first serve). It's called 'Yasai Cafe Meguri'. I didn't expect to find any vegan places so I brought a couple of bags of scroggin (trail mix). I now see on 'Happy Cow' that there were actually a few restaurants. Still, bring snacks! Even my carnist friend ended up eating scroggin as we couldn't find food.

We winged most of this trip. We met up at Asakusa at around 10.30am and then bought tickets to Tobu Nikko for 11am. It was about 1500yen. Then we went on the Tobu line I think? Anyway, got to Tobu Nikko station about 2 hours later.


We wandered around and basically had a shrine/temple day.

Outside the station is a bus stop. Take the 'World Heritage Bus' to get to the shrines. You can use your suica or pasmo card (which you just put it on the scanner when you get in and then once more when you get off). Make sure you have loads of money on it. I ran out and then winged it with cash and made the bus driver mad. I found out if you don't use the card, then you need to grab a tiny ticket when you get on, and it tells you what number you got on and it makes things easier. The numbers are on a screen at the front of the bus, and below each number has the total fare from that stop (I didn't know this until today). Then when you get off, you pay at the front of the bus.  I spent more than 5000yen this weekend on bussing around.

You'll basically go in a straight line until you see this statue of a man across the road to the right, then you get off at that stop.












According to a Nikko booklet, legends are woven into these but the booklet didn't go into any details as to what legends they were. 







I have a thing for paper dolls. They're so cute!! This one is actually about love and I got average luck. Apparently someone has a crush on me or admires me from a distance (my Japanese isn't good so I've had others translate it for me) and I shouldn't hold back and I'll have a deep love xD right. I love fortunes even if I don't really believe in them. It's the same with star signs, I'm interested in them and I love reading them but I don't really believe them. It's just fun.  


So cute.


She is my new friend. Lives in my wallet now.


I love the colours!!



A man walking his ferret. Got to touch it but it shot off on another adventure. 







Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. 


Chelsea!

I are snaaaake. I think they have it around a flower because many people are scared of snakes or at least don't think they're cute xD 





Such intricate details. 









Chelsea wanted to steal everything. We joked that one day her boyfriend/partner will get a knock on the door. It'll be the police and the police will ask him to return the National treasures. Then he'll convince them he has no idea what they're talking about and that he doesn't have anything of the sort. And then Chelsea will come home, and he'll tell her of the events. And then she'll open a wardrobe and reveal the items to him. 


Spot the cat.





Another fortune. But but but it's so cute!


Good luck charms




Abandoned fortunes.


Shinkyo Bridge. 

We actually stopped by at Yasai Cafe Meguri before we saw this manekineko (lucky cat), hence the sudden disappearance of daylight. It closes at 6pm.



Nikko Nikko Nikko 

The next day


We had this genius plan to rent bikes. The information desk clerk sent us to Nishisando to rent bikes. When we asked a kind convenient store worker, she was surprised we wanted to bike to Kegon falls. She said it's very far and she didn't recommend it. It takes 30 minutes by bus as it is. So we waited for the Tobu bus (which you can catch at Tobu Nikko station heading towards Yumoto Onsen).


So here we are. Two overly optimistic idiots waiting for the bus.

On the bus, we had to stand because there were no seats. And near the railway/cable car/gondola, it got really busy and we ended up stuck in traffic. I saw the kanji (Chinese character) for Kegon Falls 華厳の滝 and thought it was the best place to get off. So we did and then discovered that's not how you get to Kegon Falls. The bus stop number you want is 24 for Chuzenji onsen 中禅寺温泉 (Chuzenji hot springs).  



Waiting for the bus....

It's a 5 minute walk and it turns out they have an announcement for Kegon Falls anyway. 








We paid 550 yen to use the lift and went down. It wasn't busy when we went but we saw an area where people could line up for when it got too busy. 


Stunning. The weather kind of turned sour. So the skies weren't blue. But on a clear day, people have been able to take pictures of a rainbow in front of Kegon Falls. So jealous. 


Cute, right?


There was someone here that showed you where to go. We wanted to go to Ryuzu Falls next so we waited here (basically continuing on to Yumoto Onsen).


On the bus. The lake is beautiful!


At Ryuzu. So Ryuzu is number 35 竜頭の滝 I've seen the old kanji for dragon here too 竜 = 龍


Stunning. 


Looks cute.


Almost as cute as Chelsea but not quite. She got really into the spirituality of it all. 



We headed back to Tobu Nikko and the traffic was slow moving. Before and after the waterfalls, there are to infamously windy roads. We went on one on the way, and went on the other on the way back. We managed to get seats but some people weren't as lucky. I saw someone looking like he was going to puke, poor thing. It took like 2 or 3 hours to get back because of the traffic. It was 6.30 when we got back. We bought tickets from a ticket centre rather than the ticket machine. We wanted the express, which took 2 hours and cost just over 2000 yen.  

And that was our weekend! Go to Nikko in autumn, it's beautiful!

 

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