A Traditional Japanese Meal
Lunch was a very late affair, but no one noticed, as we had all been so absorbed in the beauty at Toshogu Shrine. However this was a traditional Japanese meal, a simple meal, but served very attractively, with individual servings for each person in lacquered and porcelain bowls, and an iron steamer. The meal consisted of a bowl of soup; a three-tiered lidded container of veggies and greens; buckwheat noodles and steamy rice, all hot and tasty. A delicious traditional Japanese meal.
Completing the days travel from Tokyo to Nikko, we then visited beautiful Lake Chuzenji at the foot of the sacred volcano Mount Nantai. On a calm day Lake Chuzenji reflects the sacred image of Mt. Nantai, as it did in ancient times. Originally named South Lake by Shodo-shonin in the Heian period. The lake has a depth of 163 meters, and a circumference of about 24 km. The lake formed by lava flows when Mt. Nantai erupted and blocked the river thousands of years ago.
It was late in the afternoon when we arrived at the lake, clouds were rolling in and a cool breeze sprung up and rippled across the smooth surface of the lake. The lake became a myriad of tiny rivulets, so alas, we missed on the reflection of the sacred Mt Nantai on its surface.
Nearby is a viewing platform for Kegon Waterfall. The waterfall is 97 meters high, one of the highest in Japan and the only one we saw on our travels in Japan. The falls named after the basic principle of Buddhism,” Kegon” or Avatamska.
In a wet season Kegon Waterfall has some twelve smaller waterfalls behind and to the side, which I imagine would be quite beautiful especially with the Autumn foliage (next time)! We traveled in spring so had the beauty of the cherry blossoms for the rest of our trip.
We returned to Tokyo from our days travel via the Irohazaka zigzag driveway and its many hair pin bends.
The Irohazaka winding road
The Irohazaka winding road is a main access to connect central Nikko and Oku-Nikko. We traveled on the Second Irohazaka to go up, and the First Irohazaka to travel back down. It ascends more than 400 metres. Each curve identified in order, by a character of the ancient Japanese alphabet. The slope called Irohazaka slope since the early Showa era.
The ancient Japanese alphabet consisted of 48 letters and the number of curves is 48. Road improvements were undertaken in 1954 and the First Irohazaka now has only 30 curves. Adjustments have also been made to the Second Iroha-zaka (Up only) to accommodate more traffic, however it remains at 48 curves. The Irohazaka slopes are also known for their beautiful colored foliage in Autumn and can be enjoyed from mid October to early November.
Back at Keio Plaza in Tokyo we decided on a light tea and an early night.
On the next part of our Journey through Japan we travel to Mt Fuji and then around the main Island of Honshu.
Our Japan Itinerary was as follows:
Day 1: Tokyo – Mt Fuji – Hakone
Day 2: Hakone – Takayama
Day 3: Takayama – Shirakawago – Kanazawa
Day 4: Kanazawa – Kyoto
Day 5: Kyoto – Himeji Castle & Sake Brewery Tour
Day 6: Hiroshima – Nagoya
This proved a fascinating journey!