July 8, 2014

Tokyo Day 7 ~ Trip to Nikko / Tobu World Square

Today I met with my friend Hideo and his wife Mihiko. They wanted to take me to the old city of Nikko. They fetched me at 7:30 h at the hotel by car. Mihiko and I were still quite tired, so we were allowed to take a nap in the car XD
Around Tokyo the highway was also pretty full, so I was glad when we had left the city. Half way to Nikko we made a brief stop at a highway station. Mihiko bought some French pastry for us (little cheese cakes and croissants) and we had a coffee at Starbucks.
I was really impressed how big the station was. There were also many public toilets – clean and for free! We need that in Germany, too!

In Nikko we arrived just in time for todays’ festival. Hideo was well prepared, he is familiar with Nikko and knew a good parking place so everything could be reached by foot.
The festival took place at the famous Tokugawa temple. Many festival wagons decorated with fake cherry blossoms were transported all the way to the temple by man power. Inside children were sitting and celebrating. They played some traditional instruments and wore traditional clothes (kimono) and make-up. All the children looked so cute X3

festival wagon

The highlight was to get them all up to the main shrine because they had to roll it up a staircase. Just for today they put wood over the stairs but nevertheless you had to pull the wagons up the way. Every team got on the robes and pull on command, that was cool. Even outsiders could take a robe but I didn’t want to^^;

pulling the wagon through the temple's gate

the wagons standing in front of the temple

After they had pulled all the wagons to the shrine, we went to the neighbour temple which can be visited. The whole place was surrounded by high trees, that gave a nice atmosphere.

passage way to the next temple

The temple area was great, too. Very popular in the temple of Nikko are the three apes: can’t see, can’t speak, can’t hear. I also bought a cute key chain with them X3

the three apes^^

temple grounds

main entrance: white gate

Unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the temple. But everything looked really precious!
We went further up to another little shrine on the temple ground. It should have been 100 steps up, but Hideo counted 103 *lol* (it was funny to listen to his counting)
Mihiko was really out of breath when we reached the top. But Hideo helped her taking the last stairs, they are really such a cute, old couple X3

maaaany stairs

So after this much walking and climbing we head back to the parking place. On the way down to the exit we passed by a beautiful pagoda und a little procession of people made their way from one temple to the other to support the celebration.
It was really wonderful.

great pagoda with the procession in front
Afterwards Hideo and Mihiko had the idea to drive on top of a mountain where a beautiful lake is situated and you can watch waterfalls. It was really an adventure to drive up the mountain @.@
I was so glad that I needn’t drive! And I admitted that Hideo is a super driver! On top we first decide for a seafood restaurant to have lunch. While Hideo and Mihiko ate Ten(pura) Don, I tried a Japanese ‘Hamburger’ for the first time XD (so no seafood but I really had still enough from the Sashimi yesterday^^;)
You really can’t call it a Hamburger, can you? (but it was very delicious, I was surprised)

my lunch: Japanese 'Hamburger' XD

Restrengthended we drove to the watching point for the waterfalls (unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the beautiful lake T.T). That was really cool^^


Finally we head back to the valley again – so drive down the mountain. It was a bit scary I have to say^^;
I was happy when we reached a straight street again. For the rest of the day Hideo suggested to visit the 'Tobu World Square', a theme park made as a miniature world. That sounded interesting so I agreed and this is place is really worth a visit!

Tobu World Square Welcome Globus^^

It was a little journey around the world. Of course it started with many rebuildings from the most famous places in Tokyo. It was cooling standing beside the ‘little’ Tokyo Tower XD
They even recreated crowds of small people – very authentic^^

me at the 'small' Tokyo Tower XD
crowded Tokyo Station
at Narita Airport^__^

But the park seemed a bit ‘old’ because there were the two towers of the World Trade Center of New York still standing…
A phenomenon was the fact that the Eiffel Tower could be seen from almost everywhere. It’s some kind of funny XD
pyramids of Egypt
St. Peter's Basilica
Forbidden City in China
A little disappointement was the fact that there was just one attraction from Germany >.< (every other country had at least two!) And then it was something relatively unpopular in Germany: 'Neuschwanstein' Castle (in Bavaria) [I have never been there^^;]
Nothing from Berlin or the Cologne Cathedral... but mainly Bavaria... that hurts U.U

me at Neuschwanstein Castle XD
But also other Asian attraction were really cool! I loved the reproductions of China (like the Forbidden City above) and it was funny to see some things of Korea I have visited two weeks ago XD

The Chinese Wall
I really loved this Theme Park. Just shortly before closing we left the World Square and it was almost time to say goodbye to Tochigi Prefecture. We head back in direction of Tokyo but stopped by another highway station for dinner.

That station was really cool, it was build like it was an ancient city of Edo period. The building and the shops inside looked very old and traditional, that was great^^
We decided for 'Nabemono' (Japanese hotpod), it was totally delicious *_*
As a dessert Mihiko bought us fresh Taiyaki, I was so happy!

inside the station
nabemono with rice and egg
taiyaki & hot milk tea
Finally we were back in Tokyo around 8 pm. I had such a great day and I'm looking forward to meet Hideo and Mihiko again!

Back at the hotel then I already started to pack my luggage... tomorrow will be our last day in Japan T.T

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