So after going up Irohazaka we arrived in upper Nikko. While there i visited Kegon Falls which is one of Japan`s tallest waterfalls. Apparently this place is famous for emo suicides first started in 1902. According to Wikipedia:
Misao Fujimura (1886 – May 22, 1903) a Japanese philosophy student and poet, is largely remembered due to his farewell poem directly on the trunk of a tree before committing suicide by jumping from the Kegon Falls.The story was soon sensationalized in contemporary newspapers, and was commented upon by the famed writer Natsume Soseki. This led the famed scenic falls to become a notorious spot for lovetorn or otherwise desperate youngsters to take their lives (Werther Effect).
Some of the rock formations around the falls were pretty cool too. Nature is still the best architect.
After heading down Irohazaka we went to Toshogu, the most famous Shrine in Nikko. Here is one of the huge gates at the entrance, but it is dwarfed by the size of those trees.
On the way to the main building you pass one of the sacred storehouses or `Kamijinko` you can see the two elephants at the top. The funny thing was the guy who carved them, Tanyu Kano, had never seen elephants before and carved them from descriptions of people that went to other parts of Asia and seen them.
Here is the Tori gate to the main hall and in back the "higurashi-no-mon." that means that one could look at it until sundown, and not tire of seeing it. The round design on the first gate is the crest of the Tokugawa Shogun who built the place.
Probably the coolest part is hearing the Crying Dragon or `Naki Ryu`
Here is a description from the Nikko Tourist Association:
The Nakiryu is painted on the ceiling. 34 boards of Japanese cypress are put together to form the ceiling.
It is 6mx15m.
It is 6mx15m.
The Nakiryu is painted on the ceiling of Yakushi-doh (Or called Honji-doh) Hall, which is located on the back of Korou (Drum tower). It makes a sound like a crying when clappers are struck under the dragon. The original picture was painted by Yasunobu Eishin, but was restored by Nanbu katayama after it was burned down.
Unfortunately pictures aren`t allowed in the building but some guy snuck his camera in and put in on youtube.
The guide first hits the clappers near the tail of the dragon and the sound is quite flat, he then moves directly under the mouth and hits the clappers again. You can hear the difference in tone immediately. Being there the sound is deafening and makes your ears ring after. Now you know what a dragon sounds like.
Heading home we passed Shinkyo which is one of Japan`s 3 most beautiful bridges and was said to be built from the bodies of two giant snakes for priests to cross the river.
And that was my trip to Nikko. You can make a day trip from Tokyo pretty easily. If you travel in the fall though there are huge amounts of sightseers who come to see the autumn foliage.