Japan Trip Day 4

Nikko!

So we woke this morning in time to pickup some sushi for breakfast at a convenience store enroute to the train station. The walk back to the station was blustery; rain and wind. luckily the storefronts have a covered walkway since our umbrella was about to break. We ate our breakfast waiting for the train and then got in the very front car…we were told if we got in the wrong one it wouldn:t end up in Nikko. The train was empty at first, but then filled the further we came. It was still raining when we arrived, but not to chilly. Whatever…let:s just go was my thinking. We called for a quick ride to our Minshuku – Rindou ie – since they said free pickup, and sure enough a very nice man came with a car and drove us to the house where I dropped the bag. He then drove us to the temples! So it was a bit tough to carry Zoe and an umbrella and try to take pictures, but I made it work. At first I wasn:t too impressed as the first temple seemed like any that I:d seen in Korea which are free, but then we got to the good stuff! Many of the temple / shrine buildings are coated in gold leaf and have amazingly intricate animal carvings. It:s beautiful even in the rain, which did stop about halfway through just after Zoe fell in the mud. We had to take our shoes off to go in many of the places, which got to be kind of cold…but we just pressed on. Zoe wanted held for a while, and I could tell she was sleepy but once you start it:s a long walk back to any stores and they have everything laid out so well for a loop walk. By the final temple / mausoleum the sun actually came out! I was kicking myself for not just getting some lunch and waiting out the rain when we first arrived, but then realized that would:ve been worse since Zoe would then have been sleeping the whole walk. We took the bus (tickets on the loop were included in my `world heritage pass`) back to the info center at the train station so I could as about dinner and some other stuff. We then bussed back to try to walk to a different location along the river now that the sun was out, but Zoe finally fell asleep on me. I was actually kind of thankful since it had gotten colder after the clouds dissipated. I turned around and hit up Skylark for an early 5pm dinner. Skylark is like Japanese Denny:s without the all-the-time breakfast. She slept on the booth seat for an hour while I ate and enjoyed some time to read and not tend to her. When she woke she had some dinner of her own and we walked back to the train station to call the minsuku for a pickup! Our guesthouse is great!! It:s the same price we paid for a dorm room in Tokyo, but we get our own 6 tatatmi mat room, bed, robe, towel, heater, tv, clock, etc…it:s nice and the the owners are great. They offer a traditional Japanese dinner that costs extra. I wanted to try it, but I don:t think Zoe would:ve sat through it; they started promptly at 6:30 and are still in there now at 8:40…the other guests definitely sound like they are having fun though! Anyway, while everyone else was occupied the owner suggested we take our bathroom time. So we had a long shower in the bathhouse style area and then sat in the onsen (hot spring tub) for a while. It felt great and Zoe cried to be done. Now we:re just going to have some snacks and chill out in the room before bed. I:m excited for a 3rd night on a futon on the floor!

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