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Memorial Day weekend in Nikko

Four days, a wide angle, a zoom lens and loads of adventures finds me with 5GB of photos and loads of laundry to get through! Excited about the first, not so much about the second.

Nikko is worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage status: it is a beautifully lush area of Japan. Surrounded by green, impossibly high and pointy mountains. Rice paddies: water reflecting the mountains, with green shoots just sprouting up. Large, many roofed Japanese houses with space, lots of space between them and the next.

We visited the Trick Museum and the Dinosaur Museum to satisfy the boy who had patiently sat in the car for the last two hours. The late afternoon, early evening was spent by the suspension bridge in Kinogawa-onsen. Very wobbly in the middle of the bridge, but such lovely views. We were restricted to visiting the onsens due to some permanent ink issues (tattoos forbidden) but we made do with soaking our feet and legs in an outdoor onsen by the train station in Kinogawa-onsen. What a great place for soaking and resting tired tootsies! Very relaxing.

Day two was spent in Edo Wonderland. I highly recommend! We had a fabulous time here. It was almost uncomfortably hot at midday, but sensational weather to be out all day it. I took most of my photos here: I will be using a lot as inspiration for future paintings and drawings.

I think many of us think of traditional Japan within the Edo period (17th-18th century). There were shows and performances throughout the day. Entertainment skits involving the kids, and unwilling adults. Opportunities to dress up as a maiko, or samurai and have your picture taken. You could dress up as a ninja, samurai or geisha for the day. Oiran dochu parades. Ninja shows. Theater and dance. Calligraphy, horse and boat rides. I loved all the housing and living paraphernalia and details. Even our lunch setting had us using wooden cups, bowls and chopsticks, under the shade of hanging lanterns.

We got there within 5 minutes of opening, and left as they closed. It really was a great day out. I would most definitely go again

Day three was cooler; it began with rain, but brightened up by the time we left. A day of temples, pagodas and shrines. Very convenient to have all these within walking distance. We visited Tosho-gu Temple, Shinkyu Bridge, Rinno-ji Temple, and Futarasan Shrine. There was some construction happening on several areas of these temples and shrines, but not enough to overshadow the ornate beauty of the layout. It helped that it was a Monday, so the crowds were less than normal.

This beautiful lush, green prefecture is definitely one we shall be visiting again. I didn't know much about it before going, apart from the fact that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it has the original "Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil" monkeys carving. What a delightful surprise, through Trip Advisor, to discover so many treasures.

Day four was our journey back home, but before leaving Nikko, we stopped at the Tobu World Center or miniature buildings. I was impressed. The details in the scenery 1/25th of actual size were exquisite: electric trains, passengers, cars traveling, planes taxiing. A tiny delight.

Enjoy, and many blessings


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