Feb. 17, 2022
Some more photos from our trip to Nikko.

There were so many awesome monuments, landmarks, and buildings that it'd be impossible to fit it all into one post.

I was so glad that I had my mobile battery with me because I was taking so many photos that I was just burning through my battery lol.
I really liked how the incense burner looked and I tried looking up how old it was but I wasn't able to find anything about it, only the one in front of Tokugawa Ieyasu's burial site.

I would have liked to use the chozuya as well, but unfortunately it was closed off due to covid.
I also liked seeing the sake barrels as well as they always brighten up shrines.

The "Ippon Toro" lantern was interesting as well.
I'd never heard of Empress Tofukumon'in before either, so it gave me some interesting things to read about Japan's Edo Period.
Apparently she helped rebuild prominent temple in Kyoto and collected art and pottery from famous artisans of the time and even those of the past.

Some buildings I'd have to look at a map to know their names but there was definitely no shortage of decorations.
Unfortunately we weren't able to take photos inside some of the main buildings, but a few of them had ceiling paintings done by famous painters.
Many of them were birds, and I'm not an expert, but I think they were mostly cranes and they were all really beautiful.
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Feb. 16, 2022
Continuing on from yesterday's post... On the second and final day of our trip we woke up and ate a light breakfast followed by some udon and soba at a nice little restaurant on the way to the Kirifuri Highlands (霧降高原). We were originally planning on hiking up to the observation deck around 880 meters up the mountain, but it proved to be a little farther than we thought it would be an had to stop at around 650 meters as there was a massive staircase to reach the observation deck and not everyone in the group was up for the challenge lol. Not having the proper gear didn't help much either. Most people had on snow shoes and they could easily trek through the snow but wearing just boots or tennis shoes we were a bit under-equipped and decided it'd be better not to overdo it. We got to see some really amazing views and talk to an 85-year-old man who told us what gear we should buy if we're planning on hiking in the snow, about how the dam located on the mountains across from us rises and falls during the day/night, and how this was his ~60th time climbing the mountain but the woman he came with has done it more than 300 times. She had to turn back early that day, but those are some impressive numbers! After enjoying the outdoors we headed over to Nikko Edomura/Edo Wonderland (日光江戸村) and had a blast exploring the theme park. We arrived at about 2pm so we got a nice discount on our all-day passes. Walking around we got to see all of the different buildings that gave the theme park its Edo-Period-feel. We also got to see the oiran procession (花魁道中) which was really awesome as well. It seemed like they tried to make it as accurate as possible too. The way the courtesan walked was in the traditional figure eight style which, from what I've read, is not easily done, so I assume that this is a sort of special type of profession as she was doing it (to my untrained eye) perfectly. One funny thing was that the girls in red in front of the courtesan had to slouch somewhat because they were too tall and the theme park obviously can't employ children to play the role like they would have traditionally. We also got some temporary "tattoos." They got some cute Nyan-mage tattoos and I got a Shinsengumi tattoo lol. After that we watched a really awesome performance inside of the ninja theater, but we weren't allowed to film or take photos so I don't have anything to post unfortunately. It was really cool seeing the ninja actors jumping off of rooves and fighting though. On top of that we also tried out the ninja maze where I was unfortunately the last one to make it out as I got unlucky and hit a dead end at the last part of the maze. This was a really fun experience as there were a lot of hidden and revolving doors that you had to find to escape the maze. We also did the shuriken experience and I managed to get 3/5 but I gave one of my shuriken to my girlfriend in the hopes that she would stick one in the target but unfortunately she wasn't able to lol. I guess I was technically 3/4 because of that. Overall the whole trip was a blast and we got to make some awesome memories out in Tochigi. I definitely recommend it as a travel destination!