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Washed out in Nikko


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large_5550_14319921035466.jpgGoj?not?; five-storeyed pagoda.
I had set the alarm for 0640. I downed a simple breakfast with canned coffee, warmed up in a bain marie of boiling water. I was tired but I tried hard not to waste too much time getting ready.

I made my way to Asakusa [Asakusa-travel-guide-1311131] station by metro, which required a walk to the train station of the same name. I hopped on the direct 0810 train to Nikko [Nikko-travel-guide-283488] with two minutes to spare, only to have it leave late by two minutes.

We snaked through the city area passing the Tokyo [Tokyo-travel-guide-285666] Skytree. The high-rises gave way to suburbs which in turn gave way to countryside. There were stops along the way and I had been told to take the last two carriages as the other ones would disconnect for another destination.large_5550_14319921175235.jpgWet day in Nikko.Heeding that, it was a stresses 2+ hour journey to Nikko.It turned out to be my only quiet time in many days to attend to emails, admin, filing and reviewing photos.

It was miserable when I arrived in Nikko. I took a bus to the World Heritage Area which was only 5 minutes away from the station. It would probably have been a 30 minute walk on a nice day. I knew Nikko would be a chore today and I wasn’t wrong.

The rain was heavier than the previous days’ drizzle. It was much colder than the previous days with a single digit maximum. I should have come yesterday as the weather was glorious (and brave the weekend crowd) or tomorrow (when the weather would also be wet but at least warmer).

Nikko was supposed to be beautiful. It was, but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it, holding and umbrella with one hand and keeping the other warm in my pocket.large_5550_14319921118605.jpgWet day in Nikko.I explored the temples and even climbed up to one of the higher ones.

At the end, I visited Rinno-ji’s Hon-do which was being restored. A huge building had been built over the actual temple, and it was being re-built in entirety. This glimpse into the complete re-build was quite unexpectedly the most interesting part of the day - at least I was dry, but it was still cold.

The weather wasn’t suitable for exploring Nikko’s surrounding beauty. I skipped the waterfall and lake and returned to the station area to grab bowl of hot noodle soup before hopping on the train back to Tokyo.

From the station, I headed to a nearby public bath Jakotsu-yu and had a good soak. It was much needed after the day’s cold weather. The water comes from underground springs and was tea-coloured. There was an indoor hot pool, an outdoor hot pool, an outdoor cold pool (which I did try out, the first time I’ve done the alternating hot and cold dips). Most interesting was the electrified water in one corner of the hot pool.

I felt much better after warming my core temperature and grabbed dinner at pedestrian mall. My difficulties ordering were resolved with picture menus and mainland Chinese waitresses.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Japan

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