From our base in Tokyo, we headed to Nikko. Nikko is home to many famous mausoleums, shrines and temples of the Tokugawa dynasty, including its most revered head and first Shogunate Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nikko is a lush green area with plenty of nature and color.
Nikko is about two hours away from Tokyo. If you have a JR Pass, you can catch a Shinkansen and then the JR Nikko line without having to pay anything extra. In Nikko, you can either take a bus or walk around. Most of the famous places are reachable on foot, but if you want to visit places like Lake Chuzenji, the Kegon Waterfall, Edo Wonderland or even hot springs, you need a bus.
As soon as we arrived at JR Nikko Station, we jumped onto a bus and headed to Lake Chuzenji. The bus ticket is expensive to and from, so be prepared to pay more than 1,000 yen per trip per person. It is worth it in the end. The bus travels around the hilly mountains. Here you can sit back while your driver expertly drifts and turns on some incredibly narrow roads. It looks so incredibly dangerous. In fact, going down is even more precarious.
On arriving at Lake Chuzenji, we walked towards the Kegon Waterfall. We arrived on a misty day and weren’t able to properly capture the waterfall from above. Fortunately, with a small amount of yen, you can pay to use the elevator to travel down and see the waterfall from the base. The tunnel you need to walk through to get to the base of the waterfall is incredibly cold. Better bring a jacket for this adventure.
You get a full view of the waterfall from the base. It is incredible how majestic it looks.
We had some tourists and school kids join us in viewing the waterfall. This allowed us to take some really nice photo, swapping cameras with each other.
After the waterfall, we walked around Lake Chuzenji. It is a huge lake. There are plenty of places to eat along the street, but we didn’t see any that stood out or had great ratings.
Once we had our fill of the area, we headed down the mountain. This was one adrenaline filled trip. The turns were so tight!
We walked to the Kanmangafuchi Abyss. The walk there is behind houses in the area. It’s a long trail. At the end of the trail is the Kanmangafuchi Abyss, which is a water rapid.
Along the riverbed are these statues.
About 20 mins walk from the Kanmangafuchi Abyss is the Taiyuin Mausoleum. This Mausoleum was one of the most spectacular settings in the area. It was long and contained many interesting gates that visitors had to walk through before arriving at the mausoleum of this Tokugawa.
A very picturesque view with lots of beautiful ornaments and gilded frames.
The last gate looking at the mausoleum. You can enter the mausoleum, but you must observe and follow very strict rules inside.
On the other side of the Taiyuin Mausoleum is Ieyasu’s Mausoleum. The colors at Ieyasu’s Mausoleum mostly follow white, black and gold with lots more splashes of gold all over the place.
There were plenty of people willing to help you take pictures or sell souvenirs to you. The Taiyuin Mausoleum is much longer than Ieyasu’s Mausoleum, but Ieyasu’s Mausoleum feels more important and grander.
The Shinkyo Bridge used to serve as the historic entrance to Nikko. It is no longer used as the main entrance as there are now paved roads and paths to use. You can certainly walk on it.
At night, we decided we needed some hot noodles and soup. We decided to visit a Ichiran Ramen joint. At Ichiran Ramen, you get to enjoy your ramen in the privacy of your own booth. When you enter, you just buy a ticket from the machine, hand it to the person at your booth and wait for them to give you some delicious food.
Here is what I ordered. I ordered the ramen and added a soft boiled egg plus some stewed pork.
Next time Day 17 – Tokyo – 4 July 2019 – we head to Gotemba Premium Outlets, the Fuji Five Lakes and see Mt Fuji.