Visit to Nikko

Today’s big event was a trip to see the famous shrines, temples and forest at Nikko. It’s also where the great Tokugawa Ieyasu—unifier of Japan—is buried. The buildings are spectacular and pretty unusual for Japan because of the incredible ornamentation and color on everything. Interestingly, the JR Train station was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright—obviously a very early work, because it actually seemed a bit ordinary compared with the typical Wright—but it was interesting anyway.

Of course, it picked today to rain, so it was wet and muggy the whole time. It was also filled with about a gazillion elementary school kids on class trips. But I’m SO glad I went this time—I missed it two years ago. I also once again experienced a sense of déja vu during my visit since I’ve seen these sights before through the wonder of anime (in this case from Mirage of Blaze, which has the climactic ending in and around Nikko). It’s pretty fun when that happens, and just because it’s a “cartoon” doesn’t mean there isn’t any value. I’ve learned a lot from anime…

But I digress (I’m such an otaku). The scenery and temples are a LOT to see and I’m sad to report that I actually didn’t visit all of the shrines on my ticket. That, and towards the end of my visit, it absolutely began to pour down torrentially. I made my way back to the station on a very crowded bus, grabbed a sandwich and hopped on the little, 2-car train—which then immediately broke down! Very strange—I seem to be having trouble with Japanese trains this time. Since it’s only a single-track line, after they got it fixed we had to wait for the uphill train to arrive before we left.

But, there was no particular hurry, so I just said “shoganai” (essentially “it can’t be helped”) and made it back to Tokyo a little later. I had a little dinner and relaxed. Only one day left on my rail pass!

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