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Nikko

Nikko Travel Blog

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Sanbutudo

This past weekend I finally made the trip down to Nikko.  I have been planning this trip for like 3 weeks but everytime I was going to go I ended up not for whatever reason.  So i finally went and it was well worth it.

I took the 2 hour train ride from Shimodate to Nikko.  I got there and took the first bus to The temple and shrine area.  Nikko is a very beauitful city, with a lot of nature to offer.  So, I get off and head up to the ticket booth to get my tixs for entry into each of the grounds.  The first building I went into was the Sanbutudo.  It was just a huge building with 3 huge gold leafed buddhas in it.  Not really a prayer temple, I think it was just a place they used during ceremonies and people could come and pray if they wanted.

walk up to toshugo
 

After here I walked up the Yakusido or the entrance area to Toshugo.  It has a huge 5 story pagoda on the left of the entrance that is a remake done in 1818, the orginial was built in 1640.  It was very beautiful, one hell of a way to start the tour.  I then headed up the first of many sets of stairs i would be climbing that day.  It led up to the main area of Toshugo temples.  There was a horse stable with the life cycle of monkeys carved on it.  It also had the famous depiction of the saying "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,"  it was a cool carving.  I walked around here because there were about 5 buildings on this first landing.  Another being a buddhist library that contains about 7000 books and scrolls.

tomb
  Another building had the famous 11 foot long known painting known as the roaring-dragon on the ceiling, it wasn't that impressive, but it was a remake because the original was destroyed in a fire.  The room has very odd acoustics and a monk bangs two wooden sticks together to demonstrate this, it was a cool sound. 

Next was a walk up some more steps and into the Yomei-mon area.  It is a small area with a lot of statues and carvings of animals, flowers and gold leaf statues.  Its funny because when they built this area the Japanese were worried that the beauty of the area would offend the gods so they placed on of the pillars in the entrance way upside down as a deliberate error. 

From here I walked towards Nemuri-Neko where the sleeping cat is.

entrance to Toshugo
  It is a famous carving because of how life like the cat looks.  However, I was not immpressed, I actually initally just walked past the carving because I didn't notice it.  I headed up the 100 steps to the tomb of leyasu.  It was very beautiful walk because you are surrounded by these 75 foot tall cedar trees and it is just a very scenic walk.  The tomb wasn't that impressive but what are you gonna do.  I walked down and out of this area to move onto the next area.

The next area is Futarasan-jinja which is basically a smaller version of Toshugo.  It had a lot of little temples and buildings, nothing too exciting.  There was some musicians there playing the famous japanese drums.  It was a good show, very loud and they were good.

bottom of pagoda
 

The next was an even smaller version of Toshugo called Taiyuin-byo.  It had fewer buildings but again it was very beautiful surrounded by these huge cedars and more stairs that I was so sick of climbing so i sprinted up...i almost passed out at the top.  This area has the tomb of leysau's grandson. 
So, this has so far been about 2 hours of walking and I didn't have any lunch because their just wasn't any food in the area I was.  So, instead of stopping, I kept going.

The next hike was off to the Gamman-Ga-Fuchi Abyss.  It is about a 30 minute walk from the area I was so I decided to walk it.  I started off and noticed there was a little concrete wall next to the river, so I decided to go down to the river and walk along it.

5-story pagoda rebuilt in 1818 original-1640
  Needless to say that concrete walk last about 30 meters and I found myself jumping from rock to rock to stay out of the river.  It was a lot of fun.  I hiked up most of the river and found a small waterfall where a guy was fishing from.  He hadn't caught anything when I arrived but he was nice.  I spoke a little Japanese with him and he was nice, spoke a little english too.  So, I set off up the river and I fell in the water a few times so my shoes were soaked and my feet were quite cold.  I arrived to the Gamman-Ga-Fuchi and it is a collection of statues of Jizo, the patron saint of the souls of departed children, set midway along is known as the Bake-jizo, who mocks travellers foolish enough to try to count all the Jizo (evidently they're said to be uncountable, so i didn't bother).
where the dragon is painted on the ceiling
  This was all set in the middle of the woods, from there it was a short walk to a stone-tomb area, nothing special just some tombs with some interesting stones.  I continued on with my walk and headed up stream, but this time on the path along the river.  I walked and walked and then came to some stone bridge, it was nice.  I then decided to head back to town for some grub and much needed rest. 

I started walking back when I came upon the Tamozawa Imperial Villa where the emperor of Japan spent most of his time during WWII.  I didn't get to go inside because it was closed but the grounds where very nice, however I later learned that most of it was rebuilt so, the original building has been replaced, it was still really nice area.

library with 7000 scrolls and books
  NOW i finally decided to head back, so I started to walk towards Toshogu to catch the bus back to town...I walked and walked and walked and couldn't find any bus stop.  So I walked and walked and walked some more until I ended back up in the main area of Nikko where I orginally caught the bus to go up to Toshugo.  So, all in all I walked about 15 - 20km all day and I got back on the train, fell asleep on the train and took a long hot soak in my bath tub, it was glorious.

Nikko was beautiful, I can't wait to plan my next trip!
Chris

Junko says:
I am happy that you enjoyed it! Follow my travelplaces if you do not have specific places to go. I am wondering if you had a chance to stop by a museum about float for festival in kanuma(鹿沼). Maybe I did not write about it on my travelblog yet, in that case I will update it in near future so can track the place!
Posted on: Jun 16, 2007
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Sanbutudo
Sanbutudo
walk up to toshugo
walk up to toshugo
tomb
tomb
entrance to Toshugo
entrance to Toshugo
bottom of pagoda
bottom of pagoda
5-story pagoda rebuilt in 1818 ori…
5-story pagoda rebuilt in 1818 or…
where the dragon is painted on the…
where the dragon is painted on th…
library with 7000 scrolls and books
library with 7000 scrolls and books
horse stable with the monkey life …
horse stable with the monkey life…
i see no evil, speak no evil, hea…
'i see no evil, speak no evil, he…
nice statue
nice statue
portable tomb storage
portable tomb storage
cool carving
cool carving
The famous wooden cat
The famous wooden cat
Walk up to leyasu tomb
Walk up to leyasu tomb
Leyasu Tomb
Leyasu Tomb
everyone else took a picture, so i…
everyone else took a picture, so …
Chinese lanterns
Chinese lanterns
chinese lanterns
chinese lanterns
Futaarasan shrine
Futaarasan shrine
cool protector god
cool protector god
river i hiked up
river i hiked up
guy fishin in the river i hiked up
guy fishin in the river i hiked up
the Jizo statues
the Jizo statues
me being silly
me being silly
stairs up to random temple
stairs up to random temple
random temple on side of road
random temple on side of road
stone bridge
stone bridge
beautiful me
beautiful me
ditto
ditto
ditto
ditto
Tamozawa Imperial Villa
Tamozawa Imperial Villa
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photo by: Shakar81