Nikko: Temples and More Temples

Posted by on Sep 11, 2004 in Japan | No Comments

I made a day trip from to Tokyo to a smaller town called Nikko. It is very famous for it?s well-preserved temples. Taking the Shikansen train (bullet train) was great because it goes so fast. I normally wouldn?t travel by the expensive train but I bought a Japan Rail Pass before I left home and it covers most of the rail lines and I am legible to ride it unlimited for 14 days.

A lot of walking around the sites was involved and I spent the entire day on the grounds. The most impressive temple contained three large wooden buddahs covered in gold leaf. They sat above the passageway, high above onlookers on their lotus stools. Most of the temples were painted red and much more intricately decorated than traditional Japanese temples or shrines.

A vendor on the grounds was selling what looked like beautiful, round marshmallows on a stick. As soon as I handed him my 250 yen he brushed them with a brown-colored liquid. Unfortunately, when I bit into them I did not taste fluffy marshmallows–it was something else, something that may have been tofu and was definitely covered in something fishy tasting.

Seeing all of the temples was exhausting and I was glad to make my way back to Tokyo. Apparently there?s a beautiful lake and waterfall in the area but most of you know I?m not the hiking type. Overall, Nikko was a good introduction to Japanese temple design but it turned out to be a much different style than everything else I?ve seen since.