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Dee's Tokyo Blog
Thursday – May 14th

Tokyo is a city of over 30 million people. Driving out you see stack upon stack of apartment buildings with many sitting right up against the expressway, and this sea of buildings goes on for miles. With the majority of the population living in apartments their entire life they also do not own a car, so public transportation is the main means of getting around. Subways in Tokyo are efficient and an extremely clean mode of transportation, and in the mornings as the workday approaches, these avenues into the city become a sea of people.


Today we leave that behind and are traveling to a World Heritage Site at Nikko, a city about 2 hours north of Tokyo. Walking up a hill we come to an incredible group of Temples and Shrines. This amazing array of historical buildings fit snugly in against huge Sugi trees and flowering shrubs, making a unique and peaceful setting. Blog 4

The Sugi trees are the national tree of Japan and are usually planted around shrines. The shrines, pagodas and various buildings display the artisan’s love of color and rich decoration. Lion dogs, dragons and temple guardians make sure that evil does not enter such a beautiful place.

 

blog 3We walk up many levels to each shrine, allowing the artisans to autograph a shrine book with the name of the shrine and its stamp. One building holds the remains of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder and first shogunate of Japan. Entombed at the top of the hill, you can not imagine a more beautiful place to choose as a memorial spot. Today hundreds of school children are visiting, busy filling out assignments as they answer questions on their papers, yet always happy to stop for a picture.


Leaving, we drive up a winding, corkscrew mountain to the Nikko National Park where we see an incredible waterfall. On the other side of the mountain live the wild monkeys, but none decided to come out to play today, as we did not get even a glimpse of the playful creatures.

Back to Tokyo we drive with its bustling roads and never ending flow of traffic. I don’t think there is a straight road in all of Japan, they seem to weave, merge and flow into each other making it very difficult to find your way if you are not familiar with the city. But tomorrow we see Asakusa, one of the oldest and most traditional areas of Tokyo, and hopefully a glimpse of a geisha.

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es·thet·ic or es·thet·ic  - adj. - The appreciation of beauty or good taste,
characterized by a heightened sensitivity to beauty.

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