Today I made a day trip to Nikko, a city north of Tokyo. Nikko can be easily reached from Tokyo by train, taking you about 2 hours. The city has several attractions, including it’s shrines and temples (world heritage) and many onsen (Japanese hot springs). A one-day visit to Nikko gives you enough time to visit some highlights.
The weather in Tokyo has been really nice the past few days, with last weekend being unusually warm for the time of year, resulting in a few confused sakura trees blossoming early. Today, though, it was cold and raining all day in and around Tokyo. So considering the weather I couldn’t have picked a worse day to make my day trip to Nikko. But being Dutch and therefore used to a little rain I decided to go anyway, hoping it wouldn’t be too crowded because the heavy rain would scare away all other tourists.
I visited the main shrine area, which was not very crowded for such an important tourist attraction, so I guess the rain-theory proved to be true. Despite the rain it was a really nice sight, the beautiful shrine buildings being surrounded by a lot of nature. An interesting fact is that you have to take off your shoes several times during a visit to the shrine buildings. Taking them off isn’t that bad, but putting back on your cold and soggy shoes is less enjoyable.
I originally didn’t plan on going to an onsen (because I have a trip to an onsen planned soon, but more on that later this week). But being soaking wet and cold I thought taking a warm bath would actually be a nice idea. For 700 yen (+150 yen for a rental towel) I enjoyed one of Nikko’s many onsen. Being in an outdoor hot spring, the air being cold and rainy, is really relaxing and definitly something I recommand everyone to try at least once when visiting Japan.
Nikko has more to offer than just it’s highlights, so I definitly want to go back someday, especially to see more of it’s surroundings. Before I went, some people asked me if I was sure about going to Nikko for just one day. But as long as you don’t try to fit everything Nikko has to offer in one day and just be satisfied with some highlights, a one-day visit to Nikko can be a really nice and relaxing trip.
Below are some pictures I took today. No pictures of the onsen though, because it’s a place where no one wears any clothes, so not really the place to be a touristy photographer.