Long long ago, when a hoodie was appropriate outerwear and my hair was still straight, I went to Nikko with three lovely fellow lady JETs.
Given that I have not asked if I can post their picture on the world wide web, I have modified a photo of us:
Nikko is a small city in Tochigi known for its ornate shrines and temples.
We took the Shink and local train there under the handy-dandy leadership of our very own Steph Marley.
Ukiyo-e prints featuring a hawk and kabuki actors
A gorgeous onna (woman) noh mask. Fun fact: Japanese people used to dye their teeth black both to look beautiful and prevent teeth decay.
Shinkyo (Sacred) Bridge. We had to pay a few 100 yen to cross it but it was worth the view.
Could the Photoshop be any more obvious??
The Gojunoto (Five-Storied Pagoda).
The Green Family.
Row of stone lanterns.
There were zen little piles of rocks everywhere.
Wood plaque love wishes.
There was this large arch that couples hung slips of paper on before stepping through together. I’m sure it was all about eternal love and all things pink and pleasant, but all it did was turn me into a jealous gremlin.
Angry-looking god statue. Love the nipples. Didn’t mind the dust one bit.
Taiyuinbyo. The mausoleum of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu.
God statue detail.
God of thunder.
I was drooling over the gate details.
We were completely starvacious and practically tumbled down a hill to the nearest viable restaurant. I will definitely have a craft night one day and bust one of these babies out for my kotatsu.
Another couple in love
The Three Wise Monkeys
The Yomeimon Gate
I was a bit startled when I saw people spitting all over the place but apparently, you wash your hands and rinse your mouth before entering a shrine.
Nemurineko (Sleeping Cat)
These stairs made me seriously want to weep over my poor choice of footwear.
A miko (shrine maiden)! One of the only words I remember from Inuyasha. Other riveting terms: youkai (demon), hanyou (half-demon), shippo (tail), Sengoku Jidai (Warring States Period), Shikon no Tama (Jewel of Four Souls), and Kaze no Kizu (Wind Scar). Yeap, that’s some very essential vocabulary, right there.
We found an authentic ukiyo-e shop on the way back to the station. I didn’t come across any that I recognized but they were so delicate and vibrant and I wanted to roll them all up into my baby snatching bag and walk away.
We went to a kitschy cafe filled with antiques and strange things. The owner was a gray old man with a little moustache. Amanda was convinced that he was white and I was just 9___6 … no.
Fish and chips