Nikko: From Temples to Toilets!

We caught the bullet train north from Tokyo, to Nikko. We arrived in Nikko and saw signs for the World Heritage Bus Stop.   “Blimey!”, we thought, “that must be a really fancy bus stop”. We headed towards it, our minds swirling with visions of gold leaf and maybe marble – there must be marble. Imagine our disappointment when we arrived to find that the bus stop is in fact a simple wooden hut, with the added bonus that a bus departs from there headed for the world heritage site… dammit!! 🙂

Once we had got over the disappointment, we headed into town. Nikko was a beautiful town, and reminded me of ski resort. Probably as it was freezing and there was snow on the ground in places. As we walked through the town I noticed the manhole covers were really artistic!

It was so cold in Nikko so we found a hotel as soon as we could. We had to remove our shoes at the front door and put on slippers. For the toilet, we had to remove the normal slippers and put on bathroom slippers. The toilets were AMAZING. The rest of the world is way behind in all things toilet-related, let me tell you! The toilet seats were heated (perfect as it was so damn cold! PLEASE sell them in England??!! ) and there was a control pad at the side of the toilet. There was a button you could press to play a running-water sound to cover the sound of you weeing. There was another button to spray water into your bottom. I didn’t use that – I’m a lady, don’t you know! 😉

The bathroom was also interesting… a communal bathroom containing small stools to sit on around the edge, with a shower and washing-up bowl for each stool. I think you are meant to wash there, and then get into the pool… which can only be described as a small swimming pool filled with hot water (like a jacuzzi but without the bubbles) with a decorative water-flowing-down-rocks at one end. I am not a fan of communal facilities, and it was only open until 11pm, but luckily we went at around 10pm and it was empty.

The main reason that people go to Nikko is to look around the temples (not the toilets, although you wouldn’t know that from reading my blog so far! 😉 ). The Temples were really ornate and beautiful, and we enjoyed strolling around taking it all in. They are situated in a pine forest and we were there on a crisp bright winters day. Which was fabulous for us, but the photos are a bit washed out.

We ate dinner in a small restaurant run by one lady who does front-of-house and cooks, so serves one meal at a time! The walls were covered with business cards and memorabilia of previous visitors. It was a perfectly cute quaint restaurant which seemed to embrace tourists on their terms, rather than become a tourist treadmill. We loved it!

Next blog: Kyoto, Japan

Previous blog: Sumo in Japan

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