Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nikko day 3

Day three in Nikko was all about finding waterfalls.  The weather was much improved in that it was cold, sunny and not very windy.  We bundled up for the day's adventured and hopped on a bus.  The bus went up a very steep and winding road that had 20 crazy tight hair pin turns.

At the top of the steep section is an outlook that you can take a rope way up to.  Rope ways are very popular in Japan.  They are like a gondola on a ski mountain.  There was way to much snow to even think of hiking up even though it wasn't that terribly far.  The view was lovely!

Wide view of mountain and lake.  If you look closely, you can see the Kegon Water Fall at the base of the lake

Closer view of falls and lake

Ropeway car

We caught the next bus to Kegon Falls.  It was a really interesting setup.  You can take pictures of the falls from the top and then they have a fancy elevator that drops 100m so that you can take pictures from the base of the falls.  The falls are 97m high.

Kegon Falls from the bottom
We then stomped around town for a little bit.  Jeff found an amazing sake set that was made by a famous Japanese potter and then had lunch.  Somehow it seemed very strange that the lunch place was playing Boyz to Men, lol.

Photo from town stomp

We then caught the next bus and headed to Ryuzu Falls.  This was much more off the beaten path.  In fact the path was covered in snow.  I was very glad that I had brought my hiking poles with me as there were several sections that had flights of stairs that were completely covered in snow so that they were ramps of snow.  The poles helped me keep my balance since my center of gravity is not where it used to be.  These falls were very lovely and peaceful.  It was just Jeff and I out there.  I think a few other people started the trek and decided to turn back.  There were a few other sets of foot prints but very different than the crowds at the other falls.  I'm guessing both are crazy packed full of people in summer.  The walk back down was a little tricky with all the snow but we managed to get down with out any mishaps.  There was a section of snowed over stair that I just sat down and slid on my butt and used the hand rail as a break.  It worked great and then I wasn't worried about falling.

Ryuzu falls

Me walking in the snow along the path

Volcanic mountain off to the side

We caught another bus to a third water fall.  This location had two falls but we decided to only see one of them since the second one was a bit of a hike and it seemed particularly steep and icy.  Everyone we saw coming from that direction had snowshoes which I took as a hint that my running shoes were not up to the challenge.  The fall that we did see, Yudaki Falls, was really nice.  It was a very delicate waterfall, it reminded me a little of lace.

Yudaki falls

I liked the way the light was filtering through the trees

Got someone to take our picture

By this point it was getting pretty late in the day and I was getting tired.  We decided to call it a day and take a bus back to Nikko.  We shared some peanut M&Ms (a hard to find treat) and some hot tea that we brought in a thermos and waited for the next bus back.  The ride back was about 1:20.  Going back down all those hair pin turns was awful.  The way down is actually 28 turns so they are even steeper and windier.  I tend to get car sick on windy roads and this was the windiest I had ever been on but I was able to keep my M&Ms on the inside.  It was not a pleasant stretch of road for me.  Jeff thought it was super cool and kept talking about how the turns were so steep they corkscrewed and were more than 180' and what an amazing driver the bus driver was until I informed him that he was not helping.

It's a little hard to see but you if you look closely there is a squiggle that goes from the upper left to the bottom right.  That squiggle is the crazy hair pin road.  This picture was taken from the ropeway place.

After surviving the bus trip we got cleaned up and went to a fancy Japanese restaurant.  It was one of those places that has a couple of fixed menus to choose from.  I wish I had a camera as the food was very interesting and beautiful.  At the end of the meal we were both stuffed and went back to the room full, tired and happy.

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