During the two weeks I studied Japanese in Tokyo I took advantage of the only weekend I had free to escape. After shuffling different options, I made a excursion to Nikko and Okunikko. In this story I explain this excursion from Tokyo and tell why Nikko is a paradise for nature lovers and is much more than the famous Tosho-gu temple.
How to get from Tokyo to Nikko and Okunikko
If you have the Japan Rail Pass you can go to the station JR Nikko and buy the 3000 yen bus pass to access Okunikko. Without the JRP, the cheapest way is to buy the All Nikko Pass of the Tobu line, which connects the station Asakusa Tobu with Tobu Nikko station.
This pass costs 4500 yen and includes local train travel from Tokyo to Nikko and buses to Okunikko. It goes very well because only the bus from Nikko to Yumoto, where I spent the night, it already costs 1600 yen each way. The trouble is that the train is not direct and you have to change at least once. On Sunday things get worse because the local train passes less and you have to make a minimum of two transfers.
You can go by direct train paying a supplement and the price varies depending on the type of train. On the way back I paid a supplement of 1030 yen to take the direct train to Tokyo. He All Nikko Pass you can buy in the Tobu Information Center, inside Tobu-Asakusa station. You can only pay in cash and the schedule is from 07: 20h to 19h. If you plan to take the train at 6: 44h as in my case, it is necessary to buy it before.
Once in the Nikko station (Tobu) the first thing to do is ask for maps of the area in the tourist office. Especially a map where the stops are detailed of bus with the number and also ask for bus schedules, since in that area there is not much frequency. You can also buy bus passes at the Tobu Nikko station and send your suitcase through Kuroneko Yamato to your hotel.
Buses begin the journey of the Nikko JR station which is 300 meters from the Nikko Tobu station. To guarantee the seat you can walk to the JR station where there are usually fewer people.
On Saturday I had a good early morning to take the 6:44 am train at the Asakusa train station (Tobu) The train that enters the All Nikko Pass It is the local and with that of Saturday at that time you just had to change in Minami-Kurihashi. The transfer was fast and the train was waiting on the next platform. At 9:16 I arrived at Tobu-Nikko station.
At the tourist office I asked for maps of the area and the bus schedules. When leaving the Tobu-Nikko station there were many people waiting at the bus stop direction Chuzenji / Yumoto. So I walked the three hundred meters to the Nikko JR station. There is stop number 1A and there was no one waiting. So when the 9:42 AM bus arrived, I could sit down without problems.
At 10:30 we arrive at the stop 26A - Chûzenji onsen. At the bus station there is a small tourist office with more elaborate maps to make lake trekking and the mount nantai. There is a 25 km trail that surrounds the Chûzenji Lake, but people usually walk to the Nikkoyama Chuzenji temple and the villa of the Italian embassy. In the office they told me that it took about three hours to come and go. Since it was very windy and I calculated that I would not have time to do it, I preferred to go to the Kegon waterfall.
The Kegon waterfall (Kegon no taki) It is about a five minute walk from bus stop 26A and is within the Nikko National Park. Upon arrival there were many people on the viewing platform. And it is not surprising, because this 100-meter-high waterfall is considered one of the prettiest in Japan next to the Nachi Taisha waterfall and of Fukuroda. During the kôyô The Kegon waterfall is a pilgrimage point since the foliage of all the trees that surround the waterfall becomes blood red, but when I was this time it had already passed.
Next to the viewpoint of the Kegon waterfall there were a couple of restaurants and souvenir shops, but I was struck by a stand where they sold Kegon dango (a sweet skewer for 140 ¥). He dango It is a skewer (usually) of three or four balls of sweet glutinous rice. The Kegon Dango are grilled and it was coated with sweet soy sauce. With the cold it was, the truth is that the dango Hot came in quite well.
Then I went to him Chûzenji Lake. From the waterfall it took about fifteen minutes on foot. As I said, that day was very windy, so duck-shaped scooters did not sail. I took refuge from the wind in the sanctuary Nikko Futarasan Jinja. This sanctuary is the starting point of the trail to the top of mount Nantai. In the Nikko area there are 3 Futarasan shrines. The main one is in the center of Nikko next to the Tosho-gu sanctuary, and the third one is at the top of Mount Nantai.
Almost by the hair I took the bus at 11:28 in the stop number 30, address Yumoto. At 11: 36h I arrived at stop number 37: Ryûzu no takiI crossed the road and headed towards the second waterfall I would visit.
The Ryûzu waterfall (Ryûzu no taki) It has a length of 210 m, a height of 60 m and is one of the three waterfalls of Okkuniko. Ryûzu means "dragon head" because the flow is divided in two before falling into the water and takes the form of a dragon head. Together with the Kegon waterfall, the Ryûzu waterfall is also a point to enjoy the kôyô at the beginning of October. To see the waterfall well there is a small gazebo next to a restaurant. There I decided to stop to eat before starting the three-hour trail to Yutaki, since on that road there was nowhere to stop to eat.
The small restaurant had various dishes of soba and udon They prepared some lovely old ladies. I asked kakiage udon (800 yen), a bowl of soup with thick noodles and battered vegetables. I was very lucky, as I found a seat available in the restaurant bar and sat right in front of the fall of the Ryûzu waterfall. Food with views.
After lunch I took the road towards the beginning of the waterfall of the Ryûzu waterfall. It is fifteen minutes from the restaurant and during the climb there are several viewpoints where you can enjoy the water flow. However, much of the climb is down some stairs and when I reached the end I was already a little lacking in oxygen.