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Some random pictures taken on our way to Nikko.

A cool cloud hovering over the top of Mt. Fuji.

Ropponggi Towers in Tokyo ... look at the center of the tower.

Window cleaners! We think it was window cleaning day because there were lots of office building windows being cleaned that Friday.

This guy was just hanging from a rope and swinging back and forth from window to window, it was pretty cool to watch.

More window cleaners on the building on the right.

And another.

A roller coaster on top of a building in the entertanment area of Tokyo. We've never seen it working, but guess it was closed down because of safety.

 

Nikkō (日光市 Nikkō-shi, literally sunlight) is a city located in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Located about 140 km to the north of Tokyo, it is a popular destination for Japanese and international tourists, housing the mausoleum of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (Nikkō Tōshō-gū) and that of his grandson Iemitsu (Iemitsu-byō Taiyū-in), as well as the Futarasan Shrine, which dates to the year 767. There are also many famous hot springs (onsen) in the area. The mountains west of the city are part of Nikkō National Park and contain some of the country's most spectacular waterfalls and scenic trails.

Nikkō Tōshō-gū (日光東照宮) is a Shinto shrine and is part of the "Shrines and Temples of Nikkō", a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Tōshō-gū is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Initially built in 1617, during the Edo period, while Ieyasu's son Hidetada was shogun, it was enlarged during the time of the third shogun, Iemitsu. Ieyasu is enshrined here, and his remains are entombed here.

During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate carried out stately processions from Edo to the Nikkō Tōshō-gū along the Nikkō Kaidō. The shrine's annual spring and autumn festivals reenact these occasions, and are known as "processions of a thousand warriors."

Five structures at Nikkō Tōshō-gū are categorized as National Treasures of Japan, and three more as Important Cultural Properties. Additionally, two swords in the possession of the shrine are National Treasures, and numerous other objects are Important Cultural Properties. Famous buildings at the Tōshō-gū include the Yōmei-mon, a gate that is also known as "higurashi-no-mon." The latter name means that one could look at it until sundown, and not tire of seeing it. Carvings in deep relief, painted in rich colors, decorate the surface of the structure. The next gate is the Kara-mon, named for its carvings in the Chinese style. The decorations on this one are painted white. Nearby, a carving of the sleepy cat, "Nemuri-Neko", is attributed to Hidari Jingorō.

The stable of the shrine's sacred horses bears a carving of the three wise monkeys, who hear, speak and see no evil, a traditional symbol in Chinese and Japanese culture.

Hundreds of stone steps lead through the cryptomeria forest up to the grave of Ieyasu. A torii at the top bears calligraphy attributed to Emperor Go-Mizunoo. A bronze urn contains the remains of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Welcome to Nikko.

An artist painting the Shinkyo Sacred Bridge in the background.

BEAUTIFUL red leaves!

The entrance walkway to Tōshō-gū Shrine.

A corner of the large torii gate and a large cryptomeria tree.

A five-storied pagoda outside the entrance to Tōshō-gū.

Many Japanese stone lanterns line the buildings on the grounds.

Elephant carvings ...

up close.

The three wise monkeys carved on the stable of the shrine's sacred horses.

Tōshō-gū was surrounded by cryptomeria trees. These trees are a genus of conifer and is not related to the cedar genus.

More elephants and a large bell.

Tomei-mon Gate in Tōshō-gū.

Very intracate carvings are everywhere.

Some guy, I am sure he is/was famous.

A cool looking dragon on the edge of a roof.

A carving of the sleepy cat, "Nemuri-Neko".

The cryptomeria forest leading up to the grave of Ieyasu.

The tomb of Ieyasu Tokugawa.

Carvings above he Haramon (Chinese gate).

Inside another room.

Very beautiful paintings on the ceiling.

One of the very large bronze lanterns in the courtyard around Tōshō-gū.

More old Japanese stone lanterns, the moss gives such unique characteristics to each one and shows their age.

Looking out from the entrance to Tōshō-gū.

More beautiful Japanese Maples turning colors.

Simply beautiful.

 

Rinnoji Taiyuin Temple.  Iemitsubyo Taiyuin is a mausoleum of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu.  Its architectural technique and style, as well as the arrangement of the buildings are virtually the same as those of the Toshogu Shrine, though it is build on a smaller scale.

Area around the Futarasan Shrine.

A cool looking sword!

The entrance to Rinnoji Taiyuin Temple.

The entrance gate.

A carving of some god.

And another near the entrance gate.

The larger entrance gate to the mausoleum area.

Many stone lanterns.

A waterfall through the lanterns and trees.

The mausolem of Iemitsu.

The bell tower at Taiyu-in.

The back of the five-storied pagoda.

More red trees!

 

Urami Falls is one of the three famous waterfalls in Nikko, as well as Kegon Falls and Kirifuri Falls.

Ashley making it up all the stairs, she says it is more difficult being pregnant and climbing up stairs and hiking!

More colors through the valley.

What waterfall(s). This area was very nice and in a valley between to mountains.

The water was crystal clear, it was beautiful.

 

The road up to and down from Kegon Falls is very windy and only one-way!  Water from Lake Chuzenji falls over Kegon Falls 97 meters..

A look at Irohazaka Slope on the way up to Kegon Falls.

A look out over the mountains.

A view of Irohazaka Slope, the going down road.

Erosion control measures that are being used in the mountains. We saw a lot of this, but I didn't get to read anything about it specifically.

Nikko National Park, Kegon Falls.

Another spectacular waterfall.

 

Ryuzu Falls.  Water runs from Yugawa river runs across the Senjogahara and falls on the lava bed of Mt. Nantai.  The total length of this waterfall is about 210 meters and the width is about 10 meters.  It was named "Ryuzu" (a dragon's head) because of the way it falls, splashing and winding among the big rocks.

One of my favorite pictures from the weekend, it is currently my computer wallpaper.

 

We stayed in a hotel about 30 minutes from Nikko.  In the morning we drove to Kirifuri Falls, which was nice, but we saw tons of beautiful red Japanese Maples all over the place.

The view from our hotel room, that water is actually grean, it is crazy looking! It was so clear.

It was raining all morning so it wasn't the best day, but we got to see Kirifuri Falls.

Kirifuri Falls through the fog and morning mist.

Moss covered wall along the walking path.

These maples are just starting to turn.

Full red color.

Unlike anything I have seen at home, we get lots of yellows and oranges with the Sugar Maples at home.

 

A few more pictures of Tokyo on the way home.

Sitting in traffic on the Rainbow Bridge.

The Tokyo Tower with TOKYO in bright lights.

The back side said 2016 so I finally figured this is one of Tokyo's pitches to get the 2016 Olympics.

Hard Rock Cafe at night.