Golden Week 2015 Part 2: Tochigi

Continuing from my previous post, I left the hotel on the morning of 2nd May to take a train from Takasaki Station in Gunma Prefecture, to Nikko Station in Tochigi.

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Here’s a pic of Tochigi Station I took before transferring to another train.

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I decided to buy an express ticket to save about an hour of travel time. If you don’t understand Japanese it’s a bit challenging because some express trains require a separate express ticket to board, and some have designated seats. I guess you could try and hitch a ride by hiding in the compartments between train carriages like I saw some Caucasian dudes do.

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I snapped a pic of the express train as it arrived. It seems like most express services use unique train models.

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I reached Nikko Station in about 2 hours. It was around 11am then but the place was insanely crowded.

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Like so. There was a traffic jam all the way uphill. It was so bad I was told it was faster to just walk to the attractions rather than take a bus.

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I think I walked for about half an hour to reach the area with the temples and shrines. At the entrance was the Shinbashi above.

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I went to Rinnoji but most of the exterior facade was closed due to restoration work.

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Like so.

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That didn’t stop the crowds from coming though.

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I left the polarizing filter on my camera and it interacted with the filter on the window.

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Next was Toshogu Shrine which was also packed.

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A pic of the three monkeys which is supposedly famous.

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Lots of flashy architecture.

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Everyone was clamouring to get a picture of this sleeping cat. I later found out it apparently looks like it’s about to pounce on something when viewed from a different angle.

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Just queuing up all the way up and down.

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On the way to Futarasan Shrine.

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Comparatively speaking there wasn’t as much to see here.

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Next was Taiyuin Temple.

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It has slightly less flashy buildings compared to Toshogu.

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Some distance from the cluster of shrines and temples was the Tamozawa Imperial Villa.

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And further away was the Kanmangafuchi Abyss.

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It runs alongside a river.

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And there’s a line of stone statues.

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By then it was evening so I walked back to the hotel I was staying at.

The next day I took a bus early in the morning to go to Inner Nikko which has more natural attractions. I took the bus all the way to the furthest point and decided to go downhill from there.

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The bus goes uphill via the Second Irohazaka slope. The uphill and downhill routes are one-way. It was packed though so I couldn’t get any decent pictures.

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Chuzenji Lake.

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Senjogahara Marsh

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I alighted near Yudaki Waterfall. Here’s a picture from the viewing area at bottom.

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Then I climbed up the steps to take a few more pictures from the top.

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Walking a bit from the top I reached Yumoto Lake. Then I decided to go the next location downhill, but due to the traffic jam uphill, all the buses were badly delayed. I had to wait about an hour.

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Nonetheless I alighted at my next location which was Ryuzu no Taki which translates to “Dragon Head Waterfall”.

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Again I stupidly walked uphill to get pictures from the top.

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The waterfall got its name because it supposedly looked like a dragon head. Then I waited an hour again for the bus to go downhill to Kegon Waterfall.

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Forked out money to take the elevator down to the viewing area.

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After exiting the elevator, you had to walk down a tunnel.

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To see this.

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Rock wall to the right.

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Seeing as the road downhill would be horribly jammed by the late afternoon I decided to head back. The downhill route is the same as the one that appears in Initial D (Third Stage I think) where Takumi battles Team Emperor and the jumping MR2. This also meant I wouldn’t be able to stop and see the Akechidaira Plateau and ropeway I went by on the way up.

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Endless hairpin turns. IMG_5640

Reaching the finish.

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I got myself a little bit of something haha.

I’m not sure whether to write about my last day which I spent in Tokyo and Yokohama. Maybe I’ll leave it to Part 3.

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