Photos by: Philip Galvin
Narratioin by: Yoko Galvin
Toshogu（東照宮）Travel Tip: Take JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station and transfer @ Utsunomiya Station for JR Nikko Line.
Toshogu (Great Deity of the East Sun LIght) is a shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was the first shogun (lord) of the Tokugawa clan. In Japanese history, he was the most well known shogun as he and his sucessors brought peace to Japan after a long lasted medival period which lasted until the year 1600. There are more than a dozen buildings in the shrine that includes wood carvings and large amounts of gold leaf decorations. They are quite intricate and spectacular to see. (UNESCO W. H. Site)
Toshogu's structures contain both Shinto and Buddhist elements. The halls of the main shrine building are dedicated to the spirit of three most influential historical people in Japan (i.e. Tokugawa, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Yoritomo Minamoto).
Yomeimon Gate (陽明門) - Sun Light Gate
One of three warehouses
Five Story Pagoda (五重塔): The center pillar is suspended 10 cm above the ground in order to make the tower stable to resist earthquake.
Statue of Hideyoshi Toyotomi
Tomb of Ieyasu Tokugawa who died in 1616.
However, it is believed that his remains are entombed at Kunozan not in NIkko.
See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil Sleeping Cat
Shinkyo Bride – Sacred Bridge at the entrance to Nikko’s shrines (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Irohazaka and Kegon-no-Taki （いろは坂と華厳の滝）
"Iroha" means the formaly used Japanese alphabet which has 48 syllables. Irohazaka was named because there are 48 hairpin turns if you take both climbing to and coming down from Chuzenji Lake.
Irohazaka and Kegon-no-Taki
Mt. Nantai and Chuzenji-Ko (男体山と中禅寺湖）
Shore of Lake Chuuzennji (中禅寺湖)
Chuzenji Temple - Buddhist temple (中善寺)
Tennyo is an extraordinarily beautiful creature (resenbles a human female) who wear "hagoromo (feather cloth)".
As Nikko is only 30 minutes away by train from Utsunomiya, where Yoko used to live in Japan, she often visited Nikko, especially in the summertime. Since Nikko is higher in altitude, the summer is cooler than most of the cities in Japan. For this reason, there are many vacation homes in Nikko for foreign ambassadors in Japan.
2. Japanese Inn in Nikko
Typical Japanese room at an Inn. This room can be converted to a bedroom once the tables and chairs are moved away and a futon (Japanese bedding) is placed.
Typical room - day time Changed to a bed room at night
Dinner, we had in the Inn in Nikko.
Consist of Shabu-shabu (meat hot pot), Sashimi, Egg, Tofu, Rice, Soup, and Pickles (any so many other dishes)
The same inn provided a wonderful view from the deck.
Matsushima Bay (松島湾) Travel Tip：Take JR Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Sendai. Then JR Senseki Line to Hon Shiogama Station.
It is one of three most scenic views in Japan. 200 small islands covered by pine trees are seen. Take a sightseeing cruise which lasts around 50 minutes.
Godaido Temple （五大堂寺）
This temple is the symbol of Matsushima. It is build on an island originally in 828 by Jikaku Taishi who also founded Zuiganji Temple which will be mentioined next.Today's building was constructed in 1604 by Date Masamune. He was a resional ruler of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. He built this temple to celebrate winning the Sekigahara civil war (1600) which is the most important war in Japan. In this war, Ieyasu Tokugawa won the battle against the Toyotomii clan and brought peace to Japan for the next 260 years.
It is a Zen Buddhist temple which is located in the town of Matsushima.
In 828, during the Heian period, it was founded by Jikaku Taishi.
Zuigannji Temple Garden
Hodge Podge in Sendai
Quick historical references of Japan related to the photos in this document:
660 BC Jimmu Tenno becomes the first emperor of Japan according to myth
794 Capital was set up in Heiankyo (now Kyoto)
1185 Japan’s medieval era begins (See Kamakura)
1192 Yoritomo Minamoto becomes the first Shogun (See Kamakura)
1543 Portuguese sailors reached Japan (See Nagasaki)
1585 Hideyoshi Toyotomi ruled Japan between 1585 and 1592 (See Osaka)
1600 Sekigahara Civil War (between Toyotomi and Tokugawa)
1603 Tokugawa clan began to reign Japan (See Tokyo and Kyoto)
1639 Foreign traders except Dutch were forced to Leave Japan. (See Nagasaki)
1867 Emperor Mutsuhito regained the power over shoguns (See Tokyo)
1945 Atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima (See Hiroshima and Nagasaki)