It was a fairly late evening confirmation from friends but 'shall we meet in Nikko tomorrow', was an invite that was a bit hard to turn down, even if it did mean a 5.30 alarm to make the train north in time. (Let's face it, I was getting up at that time this time last week to catch a plane, so really...)
I've been to Nikko a few times, mostly in autumn to catch the wonderful autumn colours. It is quite a sight. Nikko is also the place of the Toshogu Shrine, perhaps the most exquisitely realised shrine in Japan, in terms of colours, carvings, gold...and the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
There were lots of people there today, being a Sunday and fine; and I went to a few different places today, places I haven't been previously, including the country retreat of the Taisho Emperor and Empress. The Taisho era lasted just a few years in the early twentieth century, sandwiched between the Meiji era of his father and the Showa era of his son.
|It starts at the bridge...|
|The best cherry blossoms today (a bit early for the real ones)|
|Almost in bloom|
|The Imperial Garden|
|Not a bad weekender|
|The trinkets and o-mamori, mementoes of the day|
And so begins the new academic year tomorrow. Clearing the mind and the lungs in the cool of the mountain air of Nikko was certainly a good way to get started.
[Camera : Canon EOS M5, 10.32am-3.47pm; 1 April 2018]