Nikko & Toshogu Shrine - Japan
Nikko is easily accessable from Utsunomiya on the JR Nikko line, or from Asakusa on the Tobu Express line. From Asakusa it's Y2,320 and a 2 hour trip on an older looking shinkansen type thing. From Utsunomiya it's about Y740 and a 40 minute trip on a JR local train. I think it's the only stop.
From either train station you want to walk up hill to the Youth Hostels/ Ryokans, Shrines. The big shrines are at the top of the hill past the bridge (which has been under slow renovation for over a year). The shrines cost Y1300 for a combo ticket, and it's well worth it. There is an additional sleeping cat/ uphill hike which is extra, but I didn't do it.
The shrines also have the famous "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" monkeys carved into one building. I believe this is where the phrase came from. It says somewhere in Nikko one of the American Presidents stayed in Nikko in the 1800's, can't remember who now. If you don't like walking, Nikko is not the place for you. There is a Yakitori place in town that is listed in Lonely Planet. There are hundreds, if not thousands of business cards and notes on the wall from people who have been there since 1993 or before. It was great and cheap food, and the lady that runs it, alone, was super nice and spoke a little English as well. She could say "welcome, hungry, my specialty". I plan to go back in the Fall.
Would have been a better shot if Larry had
moved from the middle of the stairs.
I said "Larry move!". He turned and said Huh?
Nikko is supposed to be the most photographed place in Japan. I totally
believe it. I took
maybe 50 or 60 pics myself. Granted you take more with a digital camera.
I want the entrance to my house to look like this. To me this says "BOOYA".
Something about General Grant coming here and planting something.
Three large Kannon statues were house inside here. You could go right up
beside them, but
no pictures. Technically - DO NOT TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH.
A partial map of maybe 1/4 of the whole shrine grounds.
An Abe Pagoda.
:: more pics