Where are we going? Off to Nikko!
A close friend of mine had told me to go to Nikko when we go to Tokyo, if we have no other things to do. We want to explore the whole country little by little and since we already have a JR pass, I included it in our itinerary. Our bullet train tickets are already booked and off we go!
From Tokyo, it will take you about 1.5 hours to get to Nikko. There, you can either ride a bus using the discounted bus passes or walk to where you want to go. Since we have dinner date with a friend that day, he advised us that Nikko sometimes get traffic because of the tourist buses and the stoplights. We heed his advise and decided to walk towards our destination.
We are only planning on going to the Toshogu Shrine and Shinkyo Bridge because we have a time limit. It was about 20 minute walk but since we are doing it at a leisure pace, it took us about 45 minutes.
Nikko itself is pretty cold because it’s near a mountain range and pretty scenic. When taking a picture of the roads, the glorious mountain becomes its background — makes me think of the time when I was playing Skyrim.
We arrived first at the Shinkyo Bridge and in order for you to access the actual bride you have to pay a fee. Since we are making sure that we don’t spend too much (except for food), we opted to just have pictures from afar. The bright red bridge contrasts the orange and yellows backdrop of the mountain. The rushing river below makes it more ethereal, as if you are stepping off to a magical lala land.
To access the Toshogu Shrine, we have to either take the uphill pathway or the stairs. Since I want it to be over and done with, we decided to choose the stairs. It was hard but we made it — and there’s more uphill! Where will it end?! T_T
As we walk along the path, we saw red orange trees and colorful scenery, just like the scene by the bridge. There is an entrance fee to shrine but our main goal is to see the sleeping cat and the three monkeys. There is still construction being done in some of the buildings inside, but the intricate carvings that decorate the vicinity make up for white cloth covers.
By 2PM, we decided to return to the train station as our bullet train leaves at 4PM. Upon exiting the Shrine, we saw a stall that serves a hot vegetable soup called Kenchin. It was wonderful eating that hot meal in 6 degrees celsius.
As we trek back to the train station, we also saw a stall grilling these ping pong size dango sticks by the side of the road. Another stall was selling steamed sweet potatoes which was sweet and melts in your mouth.
Upon return to Tokyo, we met up with our friend and took pictures of the lighted gardens surrounding the area. It made the area ready for the Christmas season. We ended our day shopping in Don Quijote for omiyage as we return back to our country. Don Quijote or Donki for short is one of those shops that carry a lot of discounted items that you can bring back to your country. Please note that the Tax Free cashier is only located on the 2nd floor and the line was unbelievably long that night. But we pushed thru!