Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Nikko

Kinugawa River 

The second half of our ITT tour on Tuesday included the opportunity to visit the Shinkyo Bridge. The Shinkyo Bridge is ranked in the top three of Japan’s famous bridges. Set above the gorge with the mountains in the background created an amazing view. 

We passed a little shrine as we walked out on the bridge. 

We were so lucky to have such a gorgeous day! 

Our next part of the tour included taking a riverboat down the Kinugawa River. 

We were early for our tour time and were able to watch the boats being lowered into the water. 

We were given life vests and instructed to climb in the boat. We sat on tatami mats and therefore had to remove our shoes. 

The boat held our entire tour group – 28 people! 

The boat ride was quiet and swift. We drifted with the current and enjoyed the scenery. 

The entire ride took about 40 minutes. Here is a short video I took along our way. 

Our bus met us at the end of the ride. We loaded up and headed back to Yokosuka. I really enjoyed the trip. I look forward to returning to the area and having the chance to explore with Dave. 

Nikko Samurai Festival

On Tuesday, Katie and I took the ITT trip to Nikko. Nikko has been on my list of places to visit – especially, in the fall. Plus, with this trip, we would be able to attend the samurai festival! Here was our route from Yokosuka. It took us about 3.5 hours to get there because the bus has to stop every two hours to switch drivers. Safety is paramount. 

The festival is held at the Toshogu Shrine. The Shrine was huge and beautiful. The rain finally stopped around 9:00 am on Tuesday. We were beyond excited to see and feel the sunshine! As you approach the Shrine grounds, you are greeted by a five- story pagoda and large Torii. 

I know these trees are not Giants, but after not seeing any big trees for a while, I was pretty excited! Yay! Big Japan Trees! 

There were many levels to the Shrine grounds and approximately 207 to reach the top! The walk along the way was beautiful. 

At the top, we started to see the sun coming out. The mist on the trees was breathtaking. 

At the top was also a large Torii. I posed for a tourist picture! 

The rain made everything seem extra lush. We enjoyed seeing hints of fall as the leaves were beginning to change. 

Once we returned to the main grounds of the Shrine, we saw the costume parade members lining up. 

Without kids to throw into the picture, I had to be brave and ask for my picture. I asked three different Samurai. You can tell how they felt by their expressions. Priceless! 

This one really makes me giggle! 

Katie and I worked our way out of the Shrine in order to secure our spot for the parade. I think the word “parade” should be used lightly. I would call this more of a processional. It was very serious and narrated (in English and Japanese). The slower pace made picture taking easier! The attire is very traditional as well as the order. 

There 100 Samurai Warriors in the parade. 

Children hoping to be Samurai followed the Samurai. 

The Mikoshi the men are carrying is a Shrine holding the spirit of the last Samurai. 

The final member of the parade was the head Samurai. 

The parade was unique cultural experience. We continued our experience of the cultural with a giant bowl of warm soba for lunch! 

I’ll save the afternoon adventures for my next post… 

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