Monday, November 18, 2013

Nikko!

This past weekend I went with some friends on a quick weekend trip out to 日光 (Nikko). It's about 2-3 hours outside of Tokyo, and it was so nice to get out of the city. Don't get me wrong, I love Tokyo. I would probably spend the rest of my life here if I didn't have to go back to America and finish my university degree. However, a person can only take so much concrete before you just need to get out into the fresh air and open space. It was also a great time to go since the autumn leaves are still in full color, so we got to see a lot of beautiful trees. Sipping my apple tea, I just want to go back! We stayed at a place called Pension Yummy (don't ask me how they chose that name)and it was so much fun! It was a pretty traditional Japanese hotel and it had a few small hot spring tubs the guests could use. We spent some time our first night and the morning after just soaking in the tubs. I was a little nervous, since at a Japanese hot spring you go in naked, and I didn't know how awkward that would be with my friend Rena. However, once we got our clothes off and into the tub, it wasn't awkward at all! I think the more you think about it the more awkward it gets, but if you just go with it and don't put too much thought into it, it isn't weird at all. 



The hot spring, I can't wait to go to another one!


Some scenes from around the hotel

Gorgeous scenery

The second morning that we were in Nikko, we decided to go see the temples and other things the area has to offer. There is a series of temples, called 東照宮(Toshogu) honoring the first Tokugawa Shogun 家康 (Ieyasu). We spent the morning walking from shrine to shrine and looking at all the beautiful buildings. Since it is so famous, and the shrine area brings in so much money, all the buildings and statues were beautifully maintained. 

This was the largest stone gate during the Edo period






One of the most famous parts of 東照宮 are the 3 Wise Monkeys

Look at all those good-looking people!


Another famous part is the ねむりねこ (sleeping cat)

We walked up 200 steps to see the grave of 家康 (Ieyasu)

The grave of 家康



After lunch we walked around looking for おみやげ (souvenir's) and then went to see the Sacred Bridge. We didn't pay to actually go onto the bridge, but it was still incredible just looking at it!



Our final stop of the day was to go see 華厳滝 (Kegon Waterfall). It was about a 30 minute drive, but it was definitely worth it. 

On the drive to 華厳滝

華厳滝

Close to 華厳滝 there is also this amazing lake called 中禅寺湖 (Chuzenji). The lighting was perfect when we got there!


I would definitely recommend going to 日光 if you are ever in Japan. It's easy to get to, and there is so much to see! Now that I've gone on my first trip out of Tokyo, I'm just itching to go again! Any suggestions of where I should go next?

For your amusement...

Just the boys doing some casual modeling

And taking selfies




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