After a wonderful day and overnight stay(wearing the traditional Yukata),at Kinugawa onsen ,we headed for Nikko early next morning.Nikko is a town at the entrance to Nikko National Park and it took us about 30 mins by train to reach the JR Nikko station.From there,we decided to head for the uphill Okunikko area first, famous for Lake Chuzenji,a scenic lake located at the foot of Mount Nantai, Nikko’s sacred volcano.This volcano’s eruption about 20,000 years ago had blocked the valley below, thereby creating Lake Chuzenji.
We took the Tobu bus for Chuzenji Lake and within a few minutes could see the snow lined roads and mountain slopes..
On alighting the bus,we were immediately greeted by lovely views of snow-capped peaks amidst floating couds, as we enjoyed walking on snow-lined roads..towards the Kegon Waterfall,the most famous of several waterfalls in Nikko National Park.
After that we snacked on some potato cutlets and took another beautiful snap on way to the Chuzenji Lake…
And then, as the lake unveiled before us..
Further on, we were tempted for our first sightseeing ‘cruise’ of about one hour which provided us with some absolutely breathtaking views…
After these beautiful views we went back to Nikko station and thereon went ahead to explore the Toshugu shrine, Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.The lavishly decorated shrine complex consists of more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist buildings set in a beautiful forest.Countless wood carvings and large amounts of gold leaf are known to have been used to decorate these buildings in a way not seen elsewhere in Japan.
What caught our attention most were these carvings of Nikko’s sacred “Three Monkeys”.Till that day we had known them to be Mahatma Gandhi’s “Three Monkeys” depicting his popular sermon of ” Hear no evil, Speak no evil and See no evil “.Perplexed and curious,we checked the history of this temple through the little Japanese we could read and came to know that this shrine was built 400 yrs back, much before Gandhiji.But we are yet to relate if the “Father of our Nation” Mahatma Gandhi,came to know of these sacred monkeys from Nikko,the place we were standing at right then, or was it a striking coincidence, way beyond time and space.
Well,either ways,we wrapped up this lovely 2-day ‘Anniversary special’ trip with these sacred monkeys helping us link India and Japan yet again