229 - 11th September 2006 - Nikko

This is Nikko

Nikko isn't that interesting a town in itself

Until you get to the top end of town

That's where you find things like the Shin-Kyo bridge

It was supposedly formed by two snakes who helped a priest across the river

These are the steps to enlightenment - They lead to the World Heritage site of the ToshoGu shrines

Dragon fountain

Statue of a Buddhist monk named Shodo Shonin

This is the Rinno-ji shrine

There were lots of Japanese tour groups around. Photos were not allowed inside but it contained three 8 meter tall gold gilded Buddha and Kannon statues


The Fire Temple - Inside a monk was offering prayers written on wooden sticks to the gods by burning them into the ether amongst much chanting

The rear of the Rinno-ji shrine

There was a nice garden with lots of fish who come over to see you

These steps lead further up the hill

This toshii gate is one of the only original constructions on site. Many were burned down and reconstructed later.

A five storied pagoda

Guarding the Omote-mon gate

Lantern housings inside

Lots of gold gilding

This carving of three monkeys is based on one of the famous precepts of Buddhism

Hear no evil

See no evil

Speak no evil

This horse was a gift from the New Zealand government. It is named 'Koha' which means gift in Maori and is famous for being the only horse kept in a shrine.

No Smokig!

The ornate ablutions

The whole area is very impressive

Gargoyle-like protrusion on the end of the gutter

Huge bell

The floral and bird carvings above the lanterns were very colourful

Looking down the wall

One of the Sacred Storehouses

More ornate decorations

Guarding the Yomei-mon (Sun Blaze Gate)

The eyes were sunken in and very realistic

It's beginning to rain!

Through the gate into the shrine - No shoes! or pictures.

These portable shrines called Mikoshi are used in the Autumn festivals

Whiskey barrels. You wouldn't want the monks to get thirsty would you?

The site was very large and had hundreds of buildings


Close up of the lanterns

The tree lined route to the Toshu-gue temples

Another nice building

A lot of the stone is covered with moss or plants making it feel very ancient


Five story pagoda

This line of lanterns leads to another area

Close up

The rain started coming down really hard after this shot was taken

The plaza

Gate in the rain. We were sheltered under a shop selling fortunes

Ingenious way of controlling the rain fall and making it decorative at the same time

One person braving the downpour

The gate leading to the Futarasan-jinja shrine

It's an incredible place

The final set of shrines

Guarded over by two statues

Who look decidedly fierce


Past the fierceness you come to this guy auditioning for a part in Saturday Night Fever

and then back to Fierceness again

Shrine in the rain

The doorway to the courtyard

Watching the rain cascade off the building

This little chap overlooks the shrine entrance

Amazing handiwork

Pip in the rain - We bought umbrellas in Tokyo after looking at the weather report - Thank God (or Buddha) for that!!

The Koka-mon gate, Nikko Mausoleum Rin-no-ji Taiyuin. The last bit of the shrine we saw, tucked away in one corner

Heading back to the town

This is an example of a bowl of rice that people attempt to eat during one of the festivals. I think shares in Alka-Seltzer go up each year on that day.

The infamous Shinkansen - Bullet train - coming into the station at Utsonomiya to take us back to Tokyo