Today was the first day I could use my 14 day ordinary JR pass.
I went to Ueno station excited about finally being able to ride the famed Japanese bullet train called the shinkansen.I went up to the platform, and when the train arrived I said to myself, “What the hell, that don’t look like any bullet train I’ve seen, what’s up with that.”But it was bound for Utsunomiya, one of the stops you have to go through before arriving at Nikko station.Well according to my itinerary, the train leaves at 733 am, I figured that was the shinkansen.Apparently it wasn’t, it was a local train that stopped at all stations along the way to Utsunomiya.Another train, the Shinkansen tsubasa also left at 733 am, the same time as the local train.Well I was disappointed that I didn’t get to ride the shinkansen. I switched trains in Utsunomiya, and took the JR line for Nikko station.
Entrance to Toshogu
At the station I obtained a map of the area, and decided to walk all the way to the Shinkyo bridge.The walk itself wasn’t too bad at all, I really enjoyed the surrounding scenery.Just across the bridge is the entrance to Nikko’s shrines and temples.I decided to buy the 1000 yen Nikko combination ticket at the foot of the entrance to Toshogu shrine.From there I made my trek to see the sites allowed by the ticket.To tell you the truth I didn’t really read much of the history of Japan, therefore I don’t really know the details of the historical figures that the shrines were dedicated for and whatnot.Nevertheless I still enjoyed and appreciated the beauty of it all. I met so many foreign tourists like myself in Nikko, as well as ton of students taking their school field trip.
After a wonderful time going to the shrines and temples, I only had Rinno-ji left, I decided to make my way down to that area, but I was feeling hungry and it was already past noon, so I decided to go eat at one of the small restaurants around the area and had a hot bowl of udon noodles with chicken and an ice cold coca-cola to drink.
As I made my way around to Rinno-ji, I saw a long group of people standing on the side of the road; apparently they had an event that day where they reenacted a short part of the history of Japan.They had archers riding horses, and 3 wooden target posts 75 yards or so away from each other.The goal was for the archer to ride the horse full speed uphill and hit the designated target area with a bow and arrow.The tip of the arrow was dulled to make it safe, and they had replaceable wooden boards for the target posts.It was such an amazing site to see when the archer was able to hit all 3 wooden posts with his arrow going at full speed.There were some misses, but even the misses themselves were spectacular, especially when the arrow completely misses the mark and flies off to the bushes.
Once I finished seeing Rinno-ji, I walked back down to Shinkyo bridge.Near the bridge is a small bakery shop where I decided to buy something to eat and a small drink on my train ride back to Tokyo.The majority of the items they sold at that bakery were freshly made, and it was delicious.It sort of reminded me of my childhood when I visited the local bakery in the Philippines and ate freshly made bread.
After I took the Nikko train back to Utsunomiya, I looked at the signs much more closely this time around, and boarded the shinkansen for the very first time on my way to Tokyo station.The seat was very comfy and after I settled down ate the snacks I bought from the bakery. Nikko is a daytrip that is definitely worth it, and I really enjoyed this visit.
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