Nikko

A while ago, my mother, brother, and maternal grandparents all took a trip to Nikko. Nikko is a historic area of Japan…it is very beautiful, and was very
very
very
very
cold.

Sorry for the lackluster photographs- it was freeezing (LITERALLY. It was below 0 Celcius and we were walking on ice), and after one or two shots I felt like I was going to die if my fingers didn’t take refuge in my pockets to thaw out. Also, it was visually amazing but really hard to photograph because everything was so ornate. The architecture and decorative style in Nikko is heavily borrowed from China, as evidenced by pagodas, color use, and carving styles. Throughout early Japanese history, monks in particular were sent to China to learn about the culture and spread it among the Japanese. Japanese culture was very derivative of Chinese culture until around the 800’s, when “Cokufubunka”, or literally “National Culture” (exclusively Japanese culture) took off.

mon
Nikko was designated a world heritage center by the UN, as it is home to gorgeous waterfalls and some of Japan’s most historically important shrines.

monkey

“The three monkeys (三猿)” (according to this guidebook we bought)

“The three monkeys are part of carvings on the lintels of the sacred stable. The carving is especially popular as monkeys which represent seeing no evil, speaking no evil, and hearing no evil. These three postures are derived from the “three major principles” of the Tendai sect.

water

A very traditional and important part of visiting shrines and temples in Japan is to cleanse yourself by washing your hands and drinking from the “holy water” (I’m sure its not called that but thats basically what it is). It may seem unsanitary to foreigners that we are all drinking from the same ladles, but it is the epitome of purity to us. Temple water is always very very cold, clear and extremely delicious.

tokugawaieyasu

This is the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun (general) of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled from 1600-1868. He was a very important historical figure in Japan and subsequently this memorial is covered in symbolism. I think that all you can see in this photo is a crane…a very important symbol to the Japanese people.

ryoku

HAHAH I just thought that this was very funny- it’s a vending machine that sells only green tea.
After going around the shrine and freezing our limbs off (I literally thought that my fingers and toes were going to fall off, I’m a true San Diego girl), we got some curry and then headed off to the Nikko waterfall.

karei

OH MY GOD they sold these amazing “KAREI PIE” (curry pies), which were so delicious after emerging from the cold. They were made of a super flaky crust and filled with warm, rich curry, kind of like an Indian samosa, but sweeter. I was in heaven.

tsurara

I took like 3 pictures total of the Nikko waterfall, all of which were totally blurry because I guess I was shaking like crazy- SO COLD! (Tokyo itself isn’t all that cold, well by San Diego standards it’s freezing, but Nikkou is in the countryside which is notoriously much much much colder). You can see icicles here.

snowbro

It wasn’t snowing but there was a lot of snow piled up. My brother was excited until he touched it and realized that it was basically unfluffy ice.

nikkou

The picturesque town of Nikko!

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