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From Kawagoe, the journey took all day winding, through soulless small towns on the fringes of Tokyo valley. Finally we entered the gorge that leads up to Nikko and about mid afternoon we arrived at Nikko in the pouring rain. This misty atmosphere added a sense of mystery to the shrines of Nikko. These are the most beautifully ornate in all of Japan. They include a Buddhist temple, Rinoji, Tōshō-gū the shrine to the Tokugawa warlord who established the dynasty which until the Meiji restoration conquered and unified Japan, the Futrarasan Shrine, and the mausoleum to Tokugawa Iemitsu the third shogun. The establishment of the Tokugawa dynasty happened at considerable cost to family as to preserve his strategic supremacy he found it expedient to have his wife and eldest son executed.

Rinoji treasure house

Tōshō-gū Yōmeimon


Futarasan shrine

Scenes in the Futarasan shrine from a Nikko festival

Having explored about half the shrines we set of up a winding hairpin road past the Kegon Fals which were too expensive to get into to lake Chuzenji-ko in pea soup fog exacerbated by us not realizing the air con was off and consequently the windscreen was almost totally opaque, which made navigating the tunnels a nightmare. Driving around the lake edge we found a secluded tree-covered entrance to a disused walking track and camped the night by the lake in the pouring rain.

Panorama of the lake.

Kegon Falls (internet image)

Next day we visited the mausoleum to the third shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu.

Entrance to the Tokugawa Iemitsu mausoleum.

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