JAPAN | Autumn Rains, a Nikko Temple Run | Lakad Pilipinas

Nikko Temple Run

Without umbrellas, we braved the incessant rains and visited the olden temples of Nikko. It was pouring harder than the previous days and it was incredibly hard to go from one place to the next. The scenery, century-old temples on backdrops of pre-autumn foliage was nothing short of poetic. But taking photographs was out of the question as our lenses quickly filled with droplets the moment we train them on anything. One thing was for sure, we needed umbrellas!

Nikko Temple Run Gojunoto Pagoda
USING THE NIKKO TRAVEL PASS

As with our one day Hakone Free Pass Tour, we booked our Nikko Travel Pass from Klook right after booking our cheap flight from Manila to Tokyo via Cebu Pacific. We got it the same day we booked our previous tour via the easy-to-use app on our phone—easy breezy. The pass can be used for two to four days in Nikko and Kinugawa—including transfers from Tokyo and back—and it is unlimited. As a bonus, you can also utilize it for discounts on selected tourism facilities and souvenirs shops in Nikko, Kinugawa, and even Asakusa!

Nikko Autumn Rain
RAINY AUTUMN DAY IN NIKKO

And as always the case with us, we only have limited time so instead of traveling slow and taking in all of Nikko’s old Japan vibe, we only got to visit for a day. Such a shame, I know, but what can we do?

Nikko Temple Run
VISITING NIKKO FOR THE TEMPLES

Nikko is located in the Tochigi Prefecture, about two hours away from Tokyo and it boasts of historical temples and structures stamped as National Treasures of Japan, Important Cultural Properties, and most importantly, UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Nikko Travel Pass
TAKING THE TOBU LINE TO NIKKO

To get there, we redeemed our Klook vouchers at the Tobu Asakusa Station which was just a few minutes away from Wired Hotel Asakusa where we were staying, then used that to ride the Tobu line to the Shimo-imaichi Station. It was raining cats in dogs in Tokyo, the situation in Nikko was worst. A two-stop bus ride later and we were scrambling up through wet stone steps leading up to the temples.

Nikko Temple Run Tourists
WE FORGOT TO BRING OUR UMBRELLAS

We passed throngs of tourists, each one holding an umbrella, unlike us. We were extremely wet by the time we reached Rinnoji, Nikko’s most important temple. We thought it was a warehouse of sort, being covered in sheets painted with an image of a temple, before realizing that there’s actually a huge temple inside it. It turns out it’s being renovated until March next year. The temple was founded by Shodo Shonin, an 8th-century Buddhist monk who introduced the religion to Nikko.

Nikko Temple Run Gojunoto
THE GOJUNOTO PAGODA IN NIKKO

Following the bob of umbrellas, we were led to the Gojunoto Pagoda, a graceful five-storey structure built in 1818. Each of its five levels represents an element—earth, fire, water, wind, and ether or void.

Nikko Temple Run Tosho-gu Shrine
BEHIND THIS WALL IS THE NIKKO TOSHO-GU SHRINE

It stands perpendicular to the Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine, the main draw of the Nikko temple tour. The shrine, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate which reigned over Japan for over 250 years until 1868. The temple was built in 1617 and houses the actual remains of Ieyasu.

Nikko Temple Run Tosho-gu Shrine Fence
LOOKING FOR UMBRELLAS AT NIKKO

There is an entrance fee to enter the temple, and while JPY1,300.00 (USD11.55 | PHP581.50) is reasonable enough to access a UNESCO Site, the line of tourists leading up to the gate changed our minds. So, instead, we headed towards a gravel path lined with towering cedar trees and Japanese toro stone lanterns.

Nikko Temple Run Tosho-gu Shrine Pathway
THE TREE-LINED PATH TO FUTARASAN SHRINE

The scenic path leads to a copper torii, built in 1799, marking the entrance to the Futarasan Shrine. Founded in 782, it is one of the older shrines this side of Japan. Surprisingly, it isn’t dedicated to gods, but to mountains, three to be exact—Mount Nantai, Mount Nyoho, and Mount Taro—the sacred mountains of Nikko. And it was here, finally, where we found ourselves some umbrellas!

Nikko Temple Run Futarasan Shrine Torii
A GRACEFUL COPPER TORII BUILT IN 1799

The temples are free to enter except for a small area near the back where you can find a garden forest, some halls, and a gurgling spring surrounded old sacred trees. We took a bit of time in this place, unmindful of the rain, since patches of autumn were already showing on the surrounding trees.

Nikko Temple Run Futarasan Shrine Prayer Hall
FUTARASAN PRAYER HALL

Nikko Temple Run Futarasan Shrine
MOST OF THE AREAS IN FUTARASAN SHRINE CAN BE ACCESSED FOR FREE

Going back down the road, we missed the Iemitsu Mausoleum—the resting place of Iemitsu, Ieyasu’s grandson and the third Tokugawa shogun. It resembles the Toshogu Shrine in both layout and architecture, but on a lesser scale, a gesture made out of respect for his grandfather.

Nikko Temple Run
ON A PARKING LOT SOMEWHERE IN THE TEMPLE COMPLEX

Back on the road, we deliberated whether to take the bus going back to the train station or simply walk, but since there wasn’t any passing bus at the moment, we decided to walk. It led us to a convenience store, which we badly needed since we didn’t have lunch yet and it was almost three in the afternoon.

Nikko Temple Run Shinkyo Sacred Bridge
THE SHINKYO SACRED BRIDGE

After bowls of ramen curry and what-nots, we resumed our walk and passed through the Shinkyo Sacred Bridge. The vermilion lacquered bridge is a part of the Futarasan Shrine and was built in 1904. It crosses the raging Daiya River below with a graceful arch and is considered as one of the three most beautiful bridges in the whole of Japan. It was just too bad that it was closed to the public at the time.

Nikko Temple Run Shinkyo Sacred Bridge
ONE OF THE THREE MOST BEAUTIFUL BRIDGES IN JAPAN

It was already late afternoon when we boarded the bus that would drop us at the Shimo-imaichi Station. The rain was getting worse. But once we arrived at the station that would herd us back to Tokyo, the rain fully stopped. Nice.


KLOOK & CEBU PACIFIC AIR MADE THIS TRIP POSSIBLE. VIEWS & OPINIONS ALL MINE.
FLY TO TOKYO VIA CEBU PACIFIC FOR AS LOW AS PHP6,000++ ROUNDTRIP
BOOK ONLINE FOR DISCOUNTED TOURS IN TOKYO

 

Nikko Travel Pass Tour
Ticket Pick Up Location: TOBU Sightseeing Service Center,
     1st Floor, Central Exit, Tobu Asakusa Station
Opening hours: 7:20AM - 7:00PM
Klook Voucher Rates: 2-Day Pass - PHP1,213.00 | 4-Day Pass - PHP2,055.00






Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Thursday, December 14, 2017

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