Mountains, Shrines and a cosy little Inn

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Monday, November 15, 2010

The next day and its our first journey on the BULLET TRAIN to Nikko, a small resort North of Tokyo up in the mountains.  Nikko is a World Heritage Site hidden in the mountains surrounded by beautiful trees at this time of year.  Autumn is one of the best times to come to Japan to view the trees here, sounds a bit crazy but after seeing them its totally understandable! The reds and yellows are like none we have ever seen! 

Nikko is host to one of the most famous Buddhist Temples, Tosho-Gu, home of the "sacred Horse" given to Japan by New Zealand.  The Sacred Stable is probably best known for the "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" carvings of monkeys on the front.  The atmosphere in Nikko is relaxed, a million miles away from the Tokyo hype.

We stayed is a wonderful guest house called Nikko Guest House Samica, our first guest house experience.  After check in we all (four other guests and the two hosts) sat around the table on the Tatami mats to relax, little did we know we would soon be cooking our first Japanese meal! being awkward no meat eating guests the lady of the house got us to cook the fish part of the meal.  We had no idea what to do, we were given cabbage, bean sprouts, mushrooms (of all shapes and sizes), fish flakes and fish cakes, what we presumed to be stock and soy sauce and told to "do as you normally would" We were clueless! Eventually we saw her cooking the meat part of the meal, and with a little detective work and the help of another guest we worked it out! with all the food cooked we sat down to eat possibly the biggest meal yet! Starting with raw egg and finishing with some odd sticky bean and mustard gunk, followed by glutenous rice balls...which we do not recommend!We were then offered some little dried fish, heads and all, apparently really nice with a beer, but unfortunately we had to decline due to full tummies! 
Up the next day to go and view some little Buddhas with red hats on, totally random but super cute! 
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