Last week, hoping to see a bit of snowy Japan, we headed north to Nikko for a night. Ironically, the night before we left, Tokyo experienced its first real snow of the winter. The way there was beautiful, with the snow covering shitamachi in Asakusa and extending all the way to Nikko.
We purchased a Tobu Nikko World Heritage Pass, which saved us several thousand yen. Some sites on the internet say you need to show your passport with your “visitor visa” in order to obtain the pass and prove you are not residing in Japan. However, I could find nothing on Tobu’s site stating such. They didn’t ask for our passports or any proof so I suppose this restriction of “foreigner’s only” is either no longer the case or not enforced.
The top photo is of Shinkyo (神橋), one of the first things we saw upon arrival in Nikko. I’m sure it looks great in any season, but I thought it was very nice with fresh snow.
The Sacred Stables (厩神 or umayagami) can be found on the grounds of the Toshogu Shrine (東照宮). I didn’t realize the place was so famous until doing a little research after our trip as no one was taking pictures of it, even though I thought it was lovely in the snow. Actually, there were few people period, which is probably very unusual for Toshogu. A weekday in the dead of winter is a good time to avoid the crowds (and be very cold in the process).
Why is umayagami famous? Because of this:
The oldest rendition of the “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” monkeys (三猿) can be found here.