Nikko is a beautiful town, everywhere you go you can hear the sound of running water! I spent 2 days in summer here during my trip in June 2008, 3 days in winter 2010 and another 2 days in autumn 2011. I would love to return again, as I still haven’t explored everywhere.
Although the shrines and temples are very popular with tourists and school children, they are certainly worth it – spectacular! Tamozawa Imperial villa, is also worth a visit, if you are then when it is open to the public. On the other side of the river from Tamozawa, the Jizo statues lining the Kanmangafuchi abyss are very peaceful and worth the short walk to visit them.
The large number of beautiful waterfalls surrounding Nikko are peaceful in summer, although Kegon and Yudaki falls are always crowded with school groups and tourists.
Winter in Nikko is also very beautiful – frozen waterfalls, cross country skiing in the Senjogahara, and fewer tourists. Plus you can relax in the collection of onsen at Lake Yuno and Lake Chuzenji, surrounded by snow!
over 4 years ago
Yesterday, we went to Nikko, driving north toward the mountains and through “tunnels” of trees. The first thing we saw was the red Shinkyo bridge. Around the curve is the rest of Nikko town. We stopped and saw the Tamozawa Imperial Villa Park, freezing our toes off in the process! then we walked back down and stopped for lunch in a little restaurant. As we looked at the plastic food in the display case, the proprietress came running out calling, “Irrashaimase!” and “Dozo!” ushering us in and urging us to point to which meal we wanted. Todd chose curry, I had a rice bowl with some chicken and Sophie had spaghetti. Will had pb&j from home but he did try some curry and chicken and spaghetti.
over 5 years ago
This restaurant was also an omiyage shop, selling little wooden carvings of the “hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil, see-no-evil” monkeys and another one of a cat that was annoyingly familiar. I finally realized that my grandmother’s cousin had had one just like it, now in my sister’s possession. So Marion must either have been to Nikko once or someone brought it to her!
After we ate, we climbed the hill to Tosho-gu shrine and saw all these things in person. The carvings and structures are miraculous but it was really, really cold and we made the mistake of bringing a 6 year old and a 3 year old (actually, what else were we going to do with them?) who were tired and cold and hungry so after that shrine, we made our way back down the hill, stopping in a little restaurant/shop for coffees and warmth. We have to go back when it’s warmer and we get an earlier start. We missed the other shrines, museums and waterfalls not to mention more gardens and a National Park with monkeys.
Nikko is worth this visit and probably more!
Lovely, place. Mountains (reminiscent of US NorthWest). The air felt a little thin to me as well. The famous bridge was under construction when I was there. But this former capital of Japan, has a Legend of three monkeys and I consider Nikko an auspicious experience as I came across the path of a family of three, frisky monkeys dodging cars and running back and forth across the street, hanging out in front of the 7/11 at one point as one ate from a cup of yogurt or pudding. Those three monkeys were quite mischievous, smart and very precise.
I stayed at the Turtle Annex Hattori An in Nikko. A very cheerful woman is the owner. The hotel had a beautiful private indoor onsen with a gorgeous view of clear aqua -blue river running past.
There are many shrines in Nikko of wonderful historical significance and construction. One of the many that I went to had a wonderful garden and pond, which gave off this amazing mystical feel. It was beautiful.
over 5 years ago
Went back for a 2-day stint this time. You really need 2 days, what with all that travel time from Tokyo. Saw the sleeping cat (so not worth it) and went to the lake this time, but didn’t get to see Kegon Falls due to the mist. Although the mist was very atmospheric. Very spiritual kind of place. An saw monkeys this time.
over 5 years ago
After a relaxing afternoon/evening the day before, we got up pretty early from our “mountain lodge” and dumped all our luggage at the train station coin-op locker. The station attendent was clearly relieved that the foreigner:s only question was “where are the lockers?”, and in Japanese.
We then purchased a two-day unlimited bus pass for the Nikko area, and took the bus up to a Shingon Buddhist temple. This temple was built 1200 years ago, by the person who brought this sect (which is basically the Tibetan form of Buddhism) to Japan. Since it was relatively early in the morning, and it was lightly drizzing, the place was both nearly deserted and had a sort of misty romantic atmosphere. We enjoyed walking around this peaceful complex.
After that we walked to the famous Nikko shrine to the first Tokugawa Shogun. This was a mad house, with many tour groups and packs of school children, quite a contrast the quiet serenity of the place we had just left. The shrine was built by 14,000 artisans in the 1600s, and I feel it is a bit overdone, as if it was trying too hard to convince us of the power and greatness of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Still, we saw the famous hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkey wood carvings, and we can say we went there.
over 5 years ago
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