When speaking of Nikko, we first thought of the World Heritage Tosho-Gu Shrine, Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple, and Futarasan shrine. The famous historical monuments, beautiful terrain and mountains, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs, and delicious local cuisines all make Nikko a great place to visit in Japan! With so much to do and see, we made Nikko our destination for our annual family trip.
I chose Nikko because I believed the Japanese style villages and streets would probably interest my two young masters (boys) more than temples. As soon as we arrived in Kinugawa-Onsen Station, we rushed immediately to Nikko Edo Village. When we were trying to figure out how much to pay for the ticket, I was surprised by the special offer at that time: free admission for all tourists with a foreign passport! How lucky we were! This marked the great start of our vacation.
As soon as we crossed the gate into Nikko's Edo Village, the landscape of the ancient Japanese Edo era was in front of our eyes. It was like watching a Japanese drama where you see people walking around and wearing kimonos and traditional attire. If you want to integrate yourself into this "Edo style", you can transform yourself from head to toe into a Japanese costume as well. Like a night market, there were a variety of games that you could play such as archery, ninja stars, kendo, and many more. Even if you cannot understand Japanese, you will still enjoy shows like the Ninja Show and Water Show. The one thing that impressed us the most was the parade called Oirandouchu. In the lineup of the parade, we saw beautifully dressed young ladies strolling in elegant styles through a street lined with shops on both sides of Edo Village. It was truly an interesting and magnificent sight.
In the evening, we went to another theme park called Tobu World Square. This is Japan's only 1:25 scaled down world where we toured over 45 world heritage sites and more than 100 famous buildings and structures of the world. Not only did we see The Great Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, and The Great Wall, Taipei 101 was also just finished 4 months ago. Taipei 101 looked so real and tall, standing in the park and was our favorite structure. Tobu World Square was amazing at night with all sorts of colorful lights. It gave the park a very romantic feeling. Where else can you go to see all the wonders of the world?
The Kinugawa hot spring area offers all kinds of hot spring hotels and accommodations to choose from. After spending most of my energy keeping my two masters happy, it was now my turn to relax. Soaking in the hot spring was very calming and a perfect way to unwind. It had to be one of the best moments of my life.
The next day morning, we went to a strawberry farm located in the Tochigi Prefecture, the most famous place for growing best strawberries in Japan. We were delight surprised by the flavor of these strawberries grown in the green house. In particular, the Skyberry variety was so flavorful and the size was almost as big as the size of a boiled tea leave egg. We were told the cost of one piece of the Skyberry is about 1,500 yen in the market. My lucky kids loved eating them at the farm.
Are you a bit tired with Tokyo's city life? Come see Kinugawa for a change! I guarantee that you will thank me for it. It is such a lovely city in the countryside of Japan. A heaven!
(All the tourist information can be consulted in the Asakusa Tobu Station. There you will find friendly staffs who can speak fluent English or other languages. They are eager to help you with various tour packages such as discount pass.)
Name: Joan Yu
Current section: Chief supervisor, Passenger Sales Section, Taipei Office
Tobu Railway and Nikko/Kinugawa Tourist Information