Sunday, August 13, 2006

Nikko Trip

After a long week of exhausting work, Mike and I went on to our long-planned trip to Nikko (well... mostly just me planning, and Mike "participating" !!)

Though it was only a day trip, it was great. We saw some amazing ornate temples (which was the most famous thing in Nikko). The thing that we liked the best though was actually a waterfall called Kegon, which was a 50 minute bus ride from central Nikko.

Kegon Waterfall (華厳滝)

Kegon waterfall is one of Japan's 3 most famous waterfalls. It is about 100m (351 feet) in height.

It's Mike's first time to see a "real" waterfall like this !!

Even though I have seen other waterfalls before, it is definitely one of the most amazing one. You can feel the water "force" even you are standing a long distance across from it.

The Kegon waterfall is famous not only because of its beautiful view, but also because it used to be a famous place for suicide!!

Apparently, some 18-year old Japanese dude was tired of life. He left a very "philosophical" suicide note behind and then jumped into the waterfall. From then on, the Kegon waterfall had become a popular place for lovers who have no future and chose to die together here. (kinda destroy the spirit of the amazing waterfall, in my opinion!!)

Shinkyo (神橋) - Bridge of God

Shinkyo is a symbol for Nikko - a much photographed red bridge separates the shrines from the town of Nikko. I read somewhere that in feudal times, only the shogun was allowed to crossed it.

And of course, even today, us - the common peasants people are NOT allowed to "go through" it either. What you can do instead is to pay a 500 yen fee to go on and then turn back exit on the same side (Yea, they KNOW how to make $$).

The water underneath the bridge is suprisingly clear and clean!! You can totally see through the small stones at the bottom. Crazy!

This bridge is actually the main driving force for us to come to visit Nikko -- Mike insisted that he absolutely wanted to see this pretty bridge. It was pretty, if you take the picture from the right angle ^___^ Otherwise, you might capture the road RIGHT NEXT to it including its ugly traffic jam (to the right of where Mike is standing!~!)

The Temples

Apparently, if you ask any Japanese people about Nikko, the first things they will tell you to see are the two temples and one shrine here. They are Toshogu (東照宮), Rinno-ji Temple (輪王寺) and Futarasan Shrine (二荒山神社). All three of those historical architecture have been listed in some World Heritage List for Japan.

Shady green little road to Toshogu (東照宮).

Toshogu (東照宮)

A cool-looking temple thing at Toshogu. (yea... didn't really bother to look up what the heck it is, but it looks cool though) =p

Of coz there must be some kind of famous carving in every temple. Though this time I am a bit confused - this "sleeping kitten" (nemuri-neko) is the most famous carving in Toshogu. I don't know what is so special about this cat, but people do have to pay an extra 520 yen to see it!!

"Hi, Mike, look over here!" (on our way walking from Toshogu to Futarasan Shrine. The 3 temples are within walking distance to each other - making it very convenient for vistors/tourists)

Futarasan Shrine (二荒山神社)

Futarasan Shrine (二荒山神社) is a rather quiet shrine (comparing to the other two temples). It gave people a very peaceful feeling.

Me in frontFutarasan Shrine

All 3 temples are surrounded by tall green tress. Very "nature".

(to be continued...)

No comments: