End of March/ Early April is the best time to travel to Japan because the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) is in full bloom~ Sakura is EVERYWHERE..
We reached Nikko via Shinkansen and their local train..
By then it was almost lunch time!
We had a bowl of really salty Ramen each before departing to visit those World Heritage Shrines and Temples of Nikko..
There are a few main temples and shrines in Nikko.. we only need to pay 1000 Yen to visit all five or six.. if we pay separately.. one of the main temples cost 1300 Yen! So, do get the 1000 Yen all-temples pass! The tourist information centre is very near to the train station (walking distance)..
Rinnoji Temple.. where we bought our 1000 Yen all-temples pass!
Rinnoji is Nikko's most important temple. It was founded by Shodo Shonin, the Buddhist monk who introduced Buddhism to Nikko in the 8th century.
I heard the weather was pretty bad the previous week.. it even snowed!
On the way to Toshogu Shrine, we were distracted by a row of food stalls..
Amazake may look tempting.. but it tasted quite weird.. :P Amazake (甘酒) is a traditional sweet, low-alcoholic Japanese drink made from fermented rice. The one we tried is the pudding version..
The Toshogu is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan for over 250 years until 1868.
The shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Ieyasu and two other of Japan's most influential historical personalities, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Minamoto Yoritomo.
The lavishly decorated shrine complex consists of more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist buildings set in a beautiful forest.
Initially a relatively simple mausoleum, Toshogu was enlarged into the spectacular complex seen today by Ieyasu's grandson Iemitsu during the first half of the 17th century.
We mimicked another couple who photographed themselves trying to push the trees apart :P
Many Japanese couple got married the traditional way at these temples and shrines..
We went to many temples and shrines.. we couldn't keep track of which was which..
We met the local girls in Kimono..
And visited more shrines and temples..
Lastly, we visited Taiyuinbyo..
The Taiyuinbyo is the mausoleum of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, the grandson of Ieyasu.
The Taiyuinbyo resembles the Toshogu in its layout and lavish decorations, but it is intentionally kept more modest than the Toshogu.
We nicknamed this.. the God of.. Bolster? :P
We then took the bus to get away from the shrines and temples.. too many of them in 1 day can be.. stressful :P We visited the Shinkyo Bridge.. The Shinkyo Bridge ("sacred bridge") stands at the entrance to Nikko's shrines and temples, and technically belongs to Futarasan Shrine. It is also listed as another World Heritage site.. To me, it's just another bridge -_-"
At night, we returned to Tokyo and headed to Ameyoko - a narrow shopping street which runs along the tracks from JR Ueno Station to Okachimachi Station.
We met up with our ex-colleague - LF and her friends, who are all studying for their PhD in The University of Tokyo..
LF and SH brought us to a sex shop to look at weird.. toys.. to corrupt our innocent minds :P
We went home after dinner to get some rest before heading to Kawasaki and Kyoto the next day ;)