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Nikko & Nantaisan

Last week, I played host to Steve, a friend visiting from Australia.  There were some truly Lost in Translation moments during Steve’s visit – but what happens on tour stays on tour.  On the weekend, I decided to give Steve a taste of historical Japan and the countryside, so we headed up to Nikko and nearby Chuzenjiko. 

Last time I was in Nikko was around 12 years ago, and that trip included a rather unwelcome (and a little frightening) intrusion into my minshuku room in the middle of the night by a slightly mind-addled off-duty US soldier who wanted to have a good time.  This time, no such incident to report.

Nikko (and more specifically, at Toshogu) is the resting place of the the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was interred there in the early 1600s.  The temples and shrines in Nikko are protected as UNESCO World Heritage sites.  The intricate carved designs at Toshogu are unlike most other jinja.

Saturday night saw us stay at a minshuku at Chuzenjiko.  It was Steve’s first night on the tatami mats, and his first Japanese bath and traditional breakfast, but I think he coped OK.  After a look at Kegon no Taki (see video below), we climbed up Nantai-san, the local volcano and a sacred Shinto mountain.

I’d head reports from my German friend Stefan of his trip up here some years ago, which resulted in an injured knee climbing down the mountain.  It’s easy to see how that happened – there were some good rocky scrambles when crossing scree slopes.

The weather was starting to cloud in a bit when we got to the top, so distant views of Fuji-san were not to be had.  There was the usual (for Japan) crowd on the mountain, including some little kids and a very sprightly 83 year old heading down by himself.

The famous Nikko three wise monkeys – a carving along part of the facade of a shrine building.

The steps leading up to the main Toshogu buildings.

Don’t go to Nikko to avoid the crowds!

This is Nantaisan, and, in the foreground, the minshuku we stayed in overnight.

Before the hike, we had a look at Kegon no Taki, which the river flows over shortly after leaving Lake Chuzenji.

This is us all fresh at Chuzenji Jinja, the shinto shrine at the bottom of the mountain.

Nantaisan is a shinto sacred mountain, and there are a few small jinja on the hike up.

Lake Chuzenji from the summit.

On the summit, looking across to Nyotaisan in the background.

Although I saw some autumn colours coming through when climbing up Yatsugatake a few weeks ago, we timed it better climbing up Nantaisan.  There was a lot of colour.

2 Comments

  1. Jonno says:

    I was just going to post comment as the text-column formatting on this website went haywire….it fixed itself when I went to post this! Anyway all good. Great to juxtapose your pics with Craig’s (I just checked out his bull horn clipping pics b4).

    all well at this end. We wish we were there.

    love J,K & W

  2. […] down past Yakuoin.  This is a particularly ornate series of temple buildings, which reminded me of Toshogu at Nikko.  My friend told me that they are the same […]

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