Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Toshogu Shrine, Nikko

Google Maps: Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan
Toshogu Shrine, deep in the hinterlands of Japan, was a perfect beginning of our first trip abroad in seven years. A spiritual centre in a natural habitat and rich with cultural heritage to be listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites, the shrine near Nikko is a landmark in northern Japan. We started early and thanks to our JR Pass, we reach Nikko without much fuss in no time. A bus would take us to Toshogu from the train station.

Toshugu Shrine, Nikko

Our first impression of the shrine was that of wonderment. Later in our trip to Japan, we would get used to the giant Torii gates, but the one in Toshogu with greenary behind and an elevated gravel path in front, was a beauty to behold. We couldn't resist to see whats beyond. Entry fees across Japan are high but a clean, organized area is ensured. We took our tickets and entered the holy place.

Torii Gate, Toshogu Shrine

Five-story pagoda is the first structure that drew our attention dedicated to the five elements. Next comes the intricately constructed gate famously called Yomeimon. It is a piece of artwork. There is sculpture on the walls with the three monkeys. Main temple is inside where you have to participate in the worshipping ritual. We took some photographs and then moved to the upper levels.

Five Story Pagoda

The upper level is through a staircase on the side of the temple going all the way up to Futarasan Shrine. Possibly due to height, greenary or the wind at the top, this place is colder than the temple area. We settled here for a while enjoying the tranquillity and the structures around. It was time to come down and move to Rennoji, another famous temple.

Steps to Futarasan Shrine

We decided to move back to station on our foot and really enjoyed the walk. En route we crossed the Shinkyo bridge which has a historic importance in Japan. The river below was crystal clear and pleasing to just watch. Moving further we took pictures of Japanese countryside. This felt exotic and we loved every bit of our outing. It took us an hour to reach back to station where we waited for our train to take us back to Tokyo.