Tuesday, August 23, 2005

nikko!

today i finally managed to get out of town. after about an hour of struggling to get out of bed. i was/am so tired! it's just crazy.

by 9am i was out of the house, on my way to catch the train bound to nikko from asakusa train station. i got to take the "metro" (one of the major transit companies) for the first time and it felt a lot more "local" than the fancy JR yamanote line. it was good though, to see the underground system.

on the train i slept the entire way. when i would wake up i'd look outside and it was beautiful. but i was too tired to keep my eyes open. i finally got to nikko at around 1:30pm - the trip took longer than i first expected. we arrived in nikko and it was raining pretty hard. but heck, what can you do! i grabbed by umbrella and started walking.

the walk to the main temple center is a ok walk down a store-lined street, a little old but has some cute stuff. and the city is surrounded by mountains, so it is cooler and the view is beautiful. it takes about 20 minutes to get to the first sight, the red shin-kyo bridge. legend has it that two snakes formed a bridge there to help a buddhist priest cross the river. then it's off to the world heritage temples and shrines, all under one ticket at Y1000, which is pretty good.

the first temple, the first stop, the rinno-ji temple, is not a show stopper. although, the 3 great buddha on display inside are very impressive. and it's wonderful to see them from underneath their lotus pedestal, up-close and personal. but the tosho-gue complex is incredible. breathtaking. simply amazing. it is the most beautiful, ornate temple i have seen so far. ever. it is really something else! tons of buildings, crazy carvings, gold and everything. it is excessive but in a good way. lastly, futurasan-jinja temple was a disappointment. i did not pay for the extra section of the temple, but after tosho-gue it looked extremely plain. and by then, rain was falling really hard!

i was truly happy to have decided to come all the way down there to see the temples, ie, tosho-gue and everything. but the rain was a little disappointing, even if it did stop for a little while. the rain made everything very dark and i am pretty sure that most of my pictures will not be a good representation of the temple. with the flash everything turns out funny, without (and without a tripod) it turns out blurry. there's no winning there! but hopefully i will have a couple good shots.

i headed back to the station at 4-ish and was on a train bound for tokyo by 5. and again, i slept the entire way! i think that i was a lot more tired than i felt and knew.

tomorrow i am off with mike to kamakura - a city by the sea much closer than nikko - to check out the famous big buddha. it should be a lot of fun!

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