We are in dire need of a change of scene here in Japan! Although borders are not closed per se, the long quarantine period on return still makes it super impractical to go anywhere outside of the country. Thankfully, with regards to new COVID cases, Japan seems to be getting through the cold season of the year fairly well so far – so there’s hope that the remaining travel restrictions will be lifted slowly but surely.
In lieu of a far-away destination, we recently re-visited Nikko in Tochigi prefecture. Famous for it’s old Shinto shrines featuring y’all’s favorite emojis, Nikko is also a popular spot to enjoy the autumn foliage. And boy, was it popular on the weekend we visited…
The whole Nikko area in general is geared for tourists. It being only two hours away from Tokyo by train means that there are tons of visitors coming here as soon as the sun is out. Public transport is packed, you have to line up for almost every shrine, getting a last-minute seat in any of the more frequented restaurants is pretty much impossible. Suffice to say that this was not the most relaxing weekend in Japan we ever had!
Nevertheless, once we got where we wanted to go Nikko was as pretty as I remembered it. The density of awe-inspiring architecture is hard to beat (aside, of course, from places like Kyoto) and the surrounding landscape is beautiful, too. Would I come here again during the high-season just as the leaves are changing color? Probably not. Many more places off the beaten track to enjoy that spectacle.