- - - 7/10/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 11:55 am

I visited my friend Matt, who is from the States, up in Utsunomiya on July 4th and 5th. He works for ECC as well but in Utsunomiya there isn’t much to do except eat gyoza, which is what Utsunomiya is famous for. I wanted to visit him and take him to Nikko since it is very close to Utsunomiya and he has never been there. I took the regular train up Sunday afternoon since I didn’t want to pay for the shinkansen. The regular train was still pretty expensive but the difference in time is not that great for the price you pay. Anyway, I got to my friends apartment in the evening and relaxed for a little bit. His apartment is a typical small Japanese style apartment with the kitchen, bath, and shower squished into one half, and the bed, desk, and small living area squished into the other. He then took me to this small restaurant/bar near his place that he goes to a lot. The place had hundreds of cat figurines and statues all over the walls, and it was run by this one Japanese guy only. The place was small, but that Japanese guy could really cook. The food was amazing! He made us the absolute best gyoza and fried rice ever. He also gave us free edamame and shochu. Afterwards we celebrated the 4th of July by shooting off some bottle rockets, which can be bought at any convenience store for cheap, in a quiet Japanese neighborhood.

Okay… now on to the Nikko part. I took Matt to see all the famous temples of Nikko: Toshogu Shrine, Rinnoji Temple, Ieyasu’s grave, Futarasen Shrine, and the Shinkyo Sacred Bridge. I have seen them before, but it was great to go visit them again.

This Matt and a French traveler we met on the bus. The French person was really nice and shared her photocopy of the Nikko information out of a tour book with Matt.

The 200+ steps down from Ieyasu’s grave… sped up for your pleasure… Download (1.6MB)

Last year when I went to Nikko with my friends, I remember eating at this small little restaurant with absolutely great oyakodon. I found the same place again by chance, and took Matt there to eat the same great oyakodon. I took a picture this time of the place and the wonderful chef. Across the street was the Nikko kasutera shop where I bought some delicious kasutera while waiting for the bus up to Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls.

Unlike last year, this time I visited the famous Kegon Falls. The bus trip up the mountain was 1000 yen, but it was well worth it as the bus driver expertly sped up the narrow mountain road with 180 degree hairpin turns, cliffs on both sides, and all this while it was raining. The falls were also amazing. I have very few words to describe the beauty and power that I witnessed.

Here is also a short video of Kegon Falls Download (400KB)

One of the other things I didn’t get to see last time was monkeys, and I was determined to see them this time. I luckily came across a group of monkeys and took many many pictures.

Lastly, here is beautiful Lake Chuzenji. After walking along the lake for a while we stopped at an onsen and relaxed before catching the last bus down the mountain. Again, the bus driver flew down the mountain and it seemed as if we were going to go off the edge at every turn. We ate more gyoza in Utsunomiya and then I left for Tokyo to be in the big city once again.


  1. that photo of the monkey looks like you and he were photoshopped in. However, i am surprised you remembered the place we ate oyakudon, and envious that you got to return…keep the pics coming

    Comment by Josh — 7/11/2004 @ 12:59 am
  2. それ どゆふに しってるの?

    Comment by けん — 7/11/2004 @ 6:11 am
  3. Good recap of the Nikko trip Andy!!!!
    BTW - What do you mean "typical small Japanese style apartment with the kitchen, bath, and shower squished into one half…”? You said it was nice!!!

    Comment by Yuuki Katsumura — 7/12/2004 @ 6:52 am
  4. it just occured to me that there was no post for tanabata…you didnt miss a matsuri did you? dont forget about the one in august, and take lots of obon pics!!!

    Comment by Josh — 7/13/2004 @ 10:39 am

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