June 02, 2015


Tochigi(栃木)prefecture is in the Kanto(関東)region, famous for Nikko(日光)known for its grand temples and shrines.

Went there during my Golden Week Kanto trip in 2014. Spent a day roaming around Central Nikko, which is some bus stops away from Tobu Nikko or JR Nikko stations. It was very crowded then, and time spent at every attraction was doubled, especially for main attraction-- Toshogu Shrine(東照宮).

Toshogu Shrine is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu. His rule of Japan was the start of Edo period. The mausoleum is very grand, thanks to his grandson Iemitsu. A lot of gold leaves and wood carvings were used, which is considered rare for shrines especially.

There are 3 famous wood carvings-- the "see/speak/hear no evil monkeys", the "imagined elephants"(想像の象)and the "sleeping cat"(眠り猫).

There is also Honjido Hall, whereby clapping of 2 pieces of wood below the head of the large dragon painted on the ceiling will cause a loud ringing sound.

The tomb of Ieyasu lies in the forest, on the top of a flight of stairs. There are a few structures in the premise and some are undergoing renovation works till 2019.

Due to the crowd which resulted in more time being spent here than expected, we had to skip the nearby attractions such as Taiyuinbyo (Iemitsu's mausoleum), Rinnoji (temple) and Futarazan Shrine.

We took the bus to Tamozawa Imperial Villa(田母沢御用邸)a few stops down. It is the former summer residence of the Imperial Family. Chose to come here as the architecture is an interesting blend of Edo and Meiji period. (Japanese + Western).

It wasn't so crowded here, so enjoyed our time appreciating the architecture and the ambience (large house surrounded by nature). The many paintings of flowers on sliding doors are so pretty!

We didn't visit the Okunikko(奥日光)area with lots of nature in this trip, but chose to visit Ashikaga(足利)Flower Park whose wisterias were in full bloom! It is the most famous wisteria park in the Kanto region. Went there after going to Hitachi Seaside Park(日立海浜公園)in Ibaraki(茨城)in the morning.

The park is bigger than I had expected, enjoyed going around the sea of purple, pink and white wisterias, though it was quite crowded.

Entrance fee of 1500 yen (after 200 yen discount from a flyer) was quite steep, but worth it I guess. And interestingly, the English brochure actually has more information than the Japanese one!

After visiting the flower park, we headed for Kinugawa Onsen(鬼怒川温泉), popular hot spring resort in the prefecture with a few attractions. Stayed in Kinugawa Plaza Hotel, room and amenities were good but food was average. Though was delighted to see Lupicia tea provided in the room!

Didn't check out the attractions in Kinugawa, such as Grand Maze, Tobu World Square with miniatures of world attractions, and Edo Wonderland, an Edo period theme park, as I have already been to a similar one in Kyoto(京都).


Post a Comment