Japan Trip Day 5 - 2013-07-31

Today was the day we checked out of The Edo Sakura and made our way to Nikko. We started the day with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a complimentary tea ceremony. The woman hosting the tea ceremony was admittedly a bit new at it, but it was still fun and interesting. Their tea room had a hole in the floor so you could sit without your feet falling asleep, which was a nice little feature. We got to try our hand at whisking the tea to create a bubbly froth, which was harder than it looked!

After that, we packed up our bags and got ready to head out. Now that our room was free of our clutter, we took a few photos. You'll notice there's no bed: you scoot the table to the side and set up futons in the middle of the room. I just love how simple and clean the room is, they did a great job with the design.

Next we made our way to Asakusa, to catch the train to Nikko. We had a bit of time, so we wandered around the Asakusa market, a sprawling, covered pedestrian area that sold many different things.

Kellian saw a man demonstrating a fancy vegetable peeler that could do all sorts of things. Well, it could mainly peel, but it peeled quite well! It also had another blade you could attach to slice the veggies into really thin shreds. The demo was quite impressive! (Though we didn't understand a word of it.)

For lunch, we just popped into a place along the market whose plastic display food looked particularly appealing, and indeed it was very good! I got a bento box with a mix of different things, and Kellian got a noodle dish.

Similar to our tea ceremony experience, they had a trough where you could put your feet rather than having to cross your legs to sit on the floor. Also, the tables could slide along this trough to create tables of different sizes. Pretty clever!

The train ride to Nikko was nice, it lasted a little over two hours and it was fun to see the landscape changed as we progressed north. Halfway through the trip, our train split into two halves: our half went to Nikko and the other half on to another destination. Once we got to Nikko, our hotel was a short bus ride and a bit of a hike from the bus stop. It was quite scenic though!

We are staying at Annex Turtle Hitori-An, another traditional Japanese inn. Unlike our last hotel, our room has a separate area for the futons, which is nice so we don't have to make our beds each night! Also, the inn is near a river, so we can hear the sound of the water.

After getting settled, it was about 4:00, so we decided to take a walk around the area before dinner. The woman at the front desk suggested a walk around the river, so we headed that way. It was very scenic, with the river crashing over rocks and creating quite a display. This area is called the Ganmangafuchi Abyss (or Kanmangafuchi Abyss).

As we walked along the path, we came across a huge number of statues decorated with red knit hats and bibs. They are called Bakejizo (Decieving Jizo), based on the myth that no matter how many times you count, the number of jizos always seems to change. Given this, we didn't bother trying!

We walked along for a ways before coming upon a little rest area. I was a bit parched so I went to get a drink from the water fountain and WOOSH: the water shot about 30 feet high! Luckily I wasn't over the spout! With a bit of finesse I could get it down to a reasonable level and take a sip. Here's a picture of this geyser in action!

On the other side of the rest area was a cute suspension bridge that crossed the river. We went across and made our way back to town.

In town, we tried out this restaurant that our hotel recommended called Tearoom Bell. They had something called Monk's Feast, a vegetarian meal that features yuba (the skin that forms when making tofu cut into strips) prepared a number of different ways. Pretty funny that we would have two tofu-centric meals on consecutive nights! Tofu skin strips may sound gross, but it was actually very good!

After dinner, there wasn't much else to do in Nikko, so we headed back to our hotel to relax a bit. Tomorrow, we explore the various sights around Nikko!


Max said...

"Given this, we didn't bother trying!"

That gave me a good laugh.

I love the mechanical table's at the restaurant, where you can slide them to create whatever size you need. Simple yet, well.. perfect!

Rob Hoxie said...

Love the water fountain geyser...that could have caused some serious nasal discomfort. Looks like you caught a break there.

What took you to Nikko?

spletcher said...

Looks like a beautiful place. Also looks cooler - is it? Kellian must be auditioning to stand in for the founder - she looks just like the poster - hope she bought a bunch of those neat peelers. I'm sure if there was a contest on counting Jezu's, that you would have come up with the exact number and won the prize. Have fun!

Janet Pletcher said...

Loved the photo of the Bakejizo (Decieving Jizo)- don't know how you kept from counting them. I'd still be there counting them over and over again! I love the simplicity of your hotel rooms; we could learn something from the Japanese about the serenity of less cluttered lives. Nikko looks lovely and a nice change of the big city....enjoy!

Christine Crivello said...


Brian Pletcher said...

Rob: There's a mechanical puzzle collector's conference in Tokyo that I'm going to this coming weekend, so we thought this would be a good excursion after we spent some time in Tokyo. After that, we're heading to Aomori and Sendai.

Yes, it is quite a bit cooler here!

feipeng wu said...

I love Japanese architecture, also like the furniture placement in living room..