Friday, 29 March 2019

Over To Kanmangafuchi Abyss In Nikko

If you're full up on temples and shrines from the main part of Nikko, head across the Daiyagawa River to meander a riverside park and pass by the reserved Bake Jizō sculptures.

Crossing over. As everywhere in Japan, perfectly cute.

Gazing down at the abyss. Natural park shrine.

Hello Bake Jizō. These fine fellows are statues that protect the souls of travelers and children. These are "Ghost Jizō" because legend says that one never can count the same number of them twice. No attempt was made. OK, 74. 78? 71? Damn you, Bake Jizō!

The setting, fall bliss. Statue on a mission.

The blue swing set.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019


Tōshō-gū is the major shrine in Nikko, a whole complex of elaborate buildings in a perfect natural setting. It was built in 1617 and is dedicated to Tokugawa Leyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. We're talking Edo period.

The gate beckons.

Just past the entrance are the Sanjinko, sacred storehouses. Next up, the hall, Shinkyusha.

Up to the main attraction of the complex, to Yomei-mon, the sunset gate. No need to look for any sun on this day.

The top of the gate, a cake-like, over-the-top carved and gold leaf extravaganza. A side detail.

Some solitary fall color, delicate for a delicacy.

Patina and gold, a nice combination. If you're lucky, or have connections, or both, or more, you can get married there.

A nice look at the angles of the architecture within the mist and trees.

Monday, 25 March 2019

A Pilgrimage To The Futarasan-jinja Shrine In Nikko

Nothing like a beautiful shrine from 1619, set in a mystical landscape, to humble a person. Futarasan-jinji is Nikko's oldest structure and it's the protector of the city itself. Oh, and stunning.

The main shrine.

Impressive steps leading to the complex. Roof detail, landscape awe.

Off to the side, a fantasyland of old Japan.

Japanese Ema, prayer tablets. This one depicts the famous local Shin-kyo bridge. Another slice of Nikko environment porn.

Wall of old Sake barrels. Just to mix it up.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Nikko In The Mist

A sunny day would have been nice, fall color gleaming. Mist was special, lending some old world gravitas to the temple town. Time to get the knife out and start cutting our way through.

Pure pea soup.

Gates to pass under.

A glance at Tōshō-gū behind the wall.

Fall color, not shy. The five-story Gojunoto pagoda.

A solitary walk among the beautiful fall flora and the mist. Bliss.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Fall At Lake Gosho

Fall color was everywhere in Japan, not just the absurdly beautiful backdrops at Kakunodate and Nikko. The trees wait for no one.

Train set look from our Ryokan.

Burning hills and front yards.

Fishing the lake.

More color.

Night falling, the mist rolling in.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Visiting A Ryokan Near Morioka, Japan

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, featuring sparse rooms with tatami mats, a hot bath communal onsen and elaborate heritage meals. It’s all about relaxation, from the baths to the natural setting to the quiet atmosphere.

Many Ryokans are now a mash-up of the old traditions inside a modern, high-rise hotel. The Ryokan signatures are there, only now in a big, modern building.

These images were taken at a Ryokan on Gosho Lake, near Morioka.

The tour bus drivers.

Landscaping and decoration.

The lobby, tilting toward "The Shining" movie.

Game area and courtyard fountain.


Breakfast tray. Hall alcove.

Elevator advertising slide show.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Seeing Sapporo City

Sapporo has some nice city details, a few things owing to its location in northern Japan. Whether it's climate or local food, Sapporo has adapted to its environment.

Crab is king, no doubt. A giant, animatronic beast mounted above the entrance of a restaurant.

A cartoony sign for something that looks quite un-cartoony. In Japan, everything is given the animated treatment. Getting meta with a vending machine. A picture on a vending machine of a vending machine using a vending machine. When will it end?

Cute colors and adorable lettering make anything cuddly in Japan.

Back to cartoon signage. Evidently Sapporo has quite a winter with lots of snow. Time to call in the adorable kids to show you how to dump salt.

Perfectly wrapped building, so normal in neat Japan.