Travel Reports by Villagemayor view profile of Villagemayor

previous post
list all posts
next post

Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.

October 28, 2017 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part Two

In Part One I had highlighted two of the most important religious institutions in Nikko. In this section I will continue the blog on Nikko and places I visited.

In addition to Rinnoji Temple and Toshogu Shrine, I visited two other locations a five minute walk to the west.As you turn right from Toshogu Shrine, you come across a wide gravel path lined with tall coniferous trees. At the end of this path you come across two other religious institutions.

Entrance to Iemitsu Mausoleum (Taiyuinbyo)

The first location is Iemitsu Mausoleum (Taiyuinbyo), which is the larger of the two religious complexes in this area.

First small gate into the Shrine complex

As you pay the admission and walk through a smaller non-descript gate, you are transported to peace and tranquility. There are more greenery here than buildings and the stroll through this area forces you to slow down a tad.

DrumTower and Belfry Tower (not pictured)

As you walk up the steps you have to go through yet another structure that has ongoing restoration plans. A stair landing in between two sets of stairs allows you to admire the garden below.

As you walk up the last of the steps, you are immediately in awe by three structures. Two of them are the large Bell Towers with its sweeping rooflines and tall overpowering presence. The third of course is the temple wall and another impressive gate.

Karamon Gate
Tokugawa Iemitsu's mausoleum

There are some interesting things to see here such as the large Main Hall (Honden) and the Haiden which is behind it. There is also the Tokugawa Iemitsu's mausoleum which is not accessible inside but from the outside the architecture is just as interesting, almost haunting.

A humble gate in front of Futarasan Shrine

After visiting Iemitsu Mausoleum (Taiyuinbyo), the next stop is Futarasan Shrine. This is a smaller and more compact complex consisting of several important temple buildings surrounding a courtyard. At the time of the visit, there appeared to be a small festival with a couple of tents set up.

Main entrance to Futarasan Shrine

It was a rather quick visit and after praying and having my goshu-in stamped, I headed out for lunch.

Hot soba noodles with yuba skin.

Nikko is famous for its yuba skin, which is bean curd rolled up into a cylinder. If you like tofu you will love yuba as it has a very slight nutty flavour and subtle texture. Yuba is served all over Nikko and is originally eaten as part of a vegetarian meal.

The entrance to the Abyss
Nikko has a lot of these drainage channels. Clean water flows into the Nikko River

The next and final stop in the Nikko tour is the Kanmangafuchi Abyss (Š¶–žƒ–•£) . This is pretty out of the way from the main landmarks in town, and because of this, not may tourists venture this far. You must need a good paper map or Google Maps or other mobile device to find your way. In fact when I left, I had a couple from Australia ask me for directions. Thank goodness I was able to help them out.

Along the way you will see these drainage channels on the side of the road. This particular one was next to a small shrine complex. The water is clean but I wouldn't drink it.

Nikko River

I had to hurry this tour because the leading edge of a tropical storm was approaching. You can see the clouds really thickening and the rain started to fall lightly. This river, although it seems shallow, is fast flowing with lots of rocks and boulders.

Entrance to Kanmangafuchi Abyss

After turning right from the bridge that crosses Nikko River, you walk into more quiet residential homes. At the end of the road is a small cafe and a sitting area. The weather was not very conducive to sitting around on the benches. The walk further leads on a gravel path. The atmosphere seems to become more dark and sinister for some reason. In the distance you can hear lots of water, likely from the rapids and cascades of the river.

The shooting rapids of Nikko River
A small of significant waterfall the shape of an oar or paddle

I won't cover much information of the Jizo which lines the entire stretch of the path other than to say the statues themselves are in various levels of erosion. Some of them don't even have heads anymore. One statue seem to have completely disintegrated leaving a knitted hat and scarf on the podium. Overall this tour of the Abyss was one of the most magical.

Overall Nikko was an amazing place to visit and despite the large crowds, there are parts of town where it is predominantly untouched by tourists. Thanks for reading see you in the next travel report.

previous post
list all posts
next post

List of Posts:
2018/10/25 - Tohoku Series: Genbikei Gorge (Œµ”üŒk)
2018/10/24 - Tohoku Series: Hachinohe (”ªŒËŽs)
2018/10/23 - Tohoku Series: Seikan Tunnel Museum (ˆê”ʍà’c–@l Â”Ÿƒgƒ“ƒlƒ‹‹L”OŠÙ)
2018/10/23 - Tohoku Series: Cape Tappi (—³”òè)
2018/10/22 - Tohoku Series: Oirase Gorge (‰œ“ü£Œk—¬) and Towadako (\˜a“cŒÎ)
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya (¯–샊ƒ][ƒg ÂX‰®)
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Mt. Hakkoda (”ªb“cŽR)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Aomori (ÂXŽs)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Seafood Capital, Aomori (ÂXŽs)
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Juniko
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Gono Line
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Tazawako (“c‘òŒÎ)
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Kakunodate (ŠpŠÙ)
2018/10/17 - Tohoku Series: Akita (H“cŽs)
2018/10/16 - The Pokemon Cafe experience
2018/10/16 - Early Morning Meiji stroll
2017/11/11 - Tsukiji's (Truly) Last Breath
2017/10/31 - Yokohama - Western Port City
2017/10/30 - Tateishi Nakamise Shotengai - Stepping into a Time Warp
2017/10/29 - Oya History Museum - A Cavern in Time
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part Two
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part One
2017/10/27 - Aizu - Wakamatsu and Kitakata: Land of Ramen and Red Cows
2017/10/27 - Ouchijuku - Historic Town in Fukushima Prefecture
2017/10/25 - Noboribetsu - The Comforts of Hell!
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part One
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part Two
2017/10/23 - Sapporo - Fresh Seafood and Western History
2017/10/22 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Three
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Two
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part One
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part Two
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part One
2017/10/20 - All aboard the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Gran Class style
2015/12/06 - Tsukiji's Last Breath
2015/12/02 - Kawagoe Day Trip
2015/11/29 - Pokemon Train on the JR Ofunato Line
2015/11/29 - Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
2015/11/28 - Yamadera
2015/11/23 - The Architecture of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium