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Desiree-Rose's HomeTravelling in the Far EastNikko, Japan


Travelling in the Far East

Nikko, Japan |

Up at 6.20 for 6.30 breakfast, left by bus for Nikkō. After driving through thick smog till 9.30, we passed many paddies with most rice being already ripe and drying, with new rice already planted. Then up into the mountains till we reached the Nikkō shrine area.

Beautiful, very tall and very old cryptomeria trees were interspersed with seven parking lots for buses; this place is visited daily by well over 30 000 tourists!!! Mostly Japanese. We walked along a wide gravel path lined by 3m high stone lanterns containing more gravel-stones – throw one in for your wish to come true. At the foot of many stone steps was a torii gate, which all Shinto shrines have. This one was very large, with a very thick rope slung across the top. From this hung white papers and besoms, signifying purification and a non-smoking holy area.

Steps and shrines, steps and shrines – the horse, the sleeping cat, the three monkeys, Toshugu, Golden Gate. Some are 450yrs old. Most are very ornate, painted with gold and an egg-white-with-powdered gems mixture. Some have inlaid gold doors, covered with perspex for protection (!) Many carvings and bizarre statues everywhere.

We continued onward by bus till we came to Lake Chidenzi and had lunch at a lakeside restaurant, then up the so-called “alphabet road”. The Japanese alphabet has 48 characters and there are 48 very tight hairpin bends, all numbered. There were scenic views of Nikkō and the surrounding mountains. We reached the 350m high Ryoku Falls – the dragon falls - and climbed the log steps to about halfway up. The maple leaves were turning and the crimsons, oranges and golds of autumn were really beautiful. Then home again, reaching the hotel at 6.15 p.m.

We left again at 7.30 the following morning, this time travelling to the Narita airport 90km away. Here we said our farewells to Dorothy and boarded Thai airlines. All ladies received a beautiful orchid corsage in the Thai colours of mauve and violet, and the men received a key ring each, with the Thai airways emblem!! Including short stops at Taipei and Hong Kong, we reached Bangkok airport after a 9 hour flight and took another 3 hours to finally reach the Narita Hotel. The no-lane traffic was horrendous! Bangkok’s population is 5 million plus and it seemed as though everyone was going somewhere. And, though it was 10.30 at night, it was hot.

Locations Visited: Nikko

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