Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

These photos of Nikko speak for themselves. I sat down tonight with the plan of writing a full report on my first trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, yet I’ve realized that in these cases the cliché phrase, “A picture’s worth a thousand words” is an understatement. So instead, for a change, I will leave you to fill in the gaps. It was an absolutely fantastic day enjoying a history far richer and far more grounded than ours. It makes me embarrassed to think that our big “cultural center” for exchange students back in Minnesota might very well be the Mall of America. Just to be clear (besides the crowds) Nikko was nothing like the MOA!


日光 –­ ­­Nikkō – The name Nikkō literally means “Sunlight”


神橋 – Shinky­ō – “God Bridge” – Although built later, this bridge is part of a shrine founded in the year 767!

The mountains behind have since the Yogai Period (500 BCE – 300 CE) been considered sacred because they provide the plains below with water for rice paddies.

東照宮 – Toshogu – The entire complex venerates the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa who unified Japan before his death in 1616. His son built the shrines of Nikko to honor his contributions to their nation.

五重塔 – 5 Storied Pagoda – 35 meters tall, it was rebuilt in 1818 after the first one burnt down…darn incense! ; )

御水や – Omizu-ya – A Chinese style horse trough, proud to say I drank out of it too!

陽明門 – Yomei-mon – “Sunlight Gate” – One of the grandest of Nikko’s treasures, Yomei-mon makes it clear how the construction of such a complex required 4,533,648 laborers, 17 months of effort, and the current equivalent of 40,000,000,000 Yen or $44 Million. Still the most amazing fact – not a single nail in the whole place!

Because it's a holiday here (Silver Week) the Japanese were out in force appreciating their awe-inspiring culture

Yes, those are all barrels of 日本酒 – Sake.

Me and Mama Sato when it was all said and done. She is one driven tourist, literally cutting in and out of crowds like none other. I guess it helps when you’re only 5’2”

I can say without a doubt, today was a day I will not soon forget...like not for hundreds of years if I'm as well taken care of as these temples!


  1. Awesome pictures Sam!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow! Some year will you take us to this spot?!
    (Am I really shallow to view these beautiful photos, and then be especially intrigued by the little fish feeding game that you have attached to your blog?!)
    Love you,