A Sunday drive to Nikko

Out travel agent had suggested a full day tour to the old city of Nikko, meaning sunshine or sunlight.  Appropriately it was a bright and sunny Sunday but before long we realised this was going to be a long day as many Tokyoites were escaping town.

Driving out of Tokyo, we finally got a glimpse of Mt Fuji, across town in the distant haze.

Nikko is famous for Toshogu, Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine and the mausoleum of the Japanese shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.

It was a busy place with tourists and weddings and children’s visits to the temples, fully dressed in national costume and looking very cute.

As well as the shrine and temple, our tour included lunch, where we were treated to a duck hotpot, which was disappointing after some amazing meals in the Ryokans.  We had been spoilt.

Following lunch we toured the Nikko Tamazawa imperial villa memorial park.  The villa was formerly an Edo residence of the Kishu Tokugawa clan, moved from Edo (Tokyo) to Nikko.  Extensions and improvements were made over various years in the 19th century and in 1872 it was presented to the Imperial Household.

It is a beautiful building, but the gardens with their autumn colours was beautiful.

Following the villa, it was a mad dash to the Kirifuri Falls before dusk set in.   Kirifuri means “coming down of fog“, as the bottom of the two falls descends into fog at the bottom of the rocks.

We paid for the beautiful, sunny Sunday with a long drive back to Tokyo, mostly in stop-start mode.