Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday the 25th Nikko

Thursday was another train ride and stunning site. We took the train to Nikko well outside of Tokyo in the mountains, in fact at the end of the train line. Nikko is an old site with several hot springs located in, or near, this small town. The major attraction is a group of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines dating back to the 8th century. For the past few hundred years this area has been a tourist attractions as it is where Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate was enshrined in 1617. The Toshogu shrine complex was greatly expanded a few years later employing 15,000 artisans and laborers for two years. The style found here is now unique, other examples that had existed in old Edo were destroyed in fires centuries ago. Steven described the decorative style as Japanese Baroque, and the description matches.

We started at some minor buildings on one side of the complex, this area had few visitors. Then we wandered towards the center where the majority of visitors were found. Numerous tour busses were unloading as others visitors walked in from town. We made a point of going to Nikko on a weekday to avoid the larger crowds of the weekends. Again I won't go into detain on describing this location, there are plenty of good descriptions on the web. If you visit here be prepared to climb a great many stairs as the complex is on a hillside. For the Japanese this is not a problem as they are accustomed to walking, for Americans expect sore legs at the end of the day. Also be respectful, after all this is more than a historical location, it is a religious site.

Oh yes, Cindy and Steven took lots of pictures.

After leaving the shrines, it was getting dark and they were being closed off from tourists, we walked back to the station. At the station we had a meal of rice balls and pickles, very tasty, and caught the train back.

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