13 August, 2012

Nikko camping adventure

Last Thursday we went camping again. This time to the north of Tokyo, up in a historically significant area.

Nikko has a number of famous shrines and temples, including the one built in memory of the powerful Shogun Ieyasu (1542-1616). His remains were interned in the Toshogu Shrine. He was the founder and first shogun (military dictator) of the Tokugawa shogunate that controlled Japan from 1600 to 1868. I think the first ruler to unite Japan. He was also anti-Christian and the persecution of Christians increased during his reign. Only a couple of decades after his death Japan was closed to all Western contact, including missionaries.

Entrance to the forecourt of  Toshogu Shrine.

Pagoda on the side of the forecourt of
the Shrine

The area contains World Heritage Site that contains a number of temples and other culturally significant buildings, some of which we saw all too briefly (the boys weren't happy). We also didn't want to spend more than a hundred dollars to enter the grounds of the most famous temple (Ieyasu's mausoleum)

I found this on a website allegedly quoting Ieyasu's wishes:
"Enshrine my dead body in Mt. Kuno (His hometown in Shizuoka prefecture) for the first year of the death. (Omission) And built a small shrine in Nikko and enshrine me as the God. I will be the guardian of Japan."
 I'm not sure why he designated Nikko, but there you go. It is now a very popular tourist destination.

We spent most of our time at a lovely camping ground. Amazing facilities, incredibly clean!

One thing we were particularly excited about was how many trees had been left around the campsites. They not only kept us cool in the summer heat, but they separated the campsites a bit and made it more spacious.

The campsite was at one end of a large park that included a ropes course and a game called Park Golf. We enjoyed both on Friday morning, but it was so hot that the adults just vegged out in the afternoon while the boys played in the small stream that ran through the campsite.

I did some of the ropes course.
We weren't so excited about the party that developed across the road. But thankfully God gave us the grace to fall asleep regardless of the drunken partying! We had wonderful sleeps. It really was an enjoyable and refreshing time.

After we checked out on Saturday morning, we spent a bit of time walking around near some of those shrines and temples, then we headed into the mountains where we found a large lake over 1,200m above sea level. We had time to take in one waterfall, grab some lunch and head home. After all the travelling we've done, the boys just wanted to go home.

The top of a "waterfall" (the boys thought it looked more
like a "steep stream"), with the lake in the distance.
I think we would have liked to see more, but really we needed to go home too. Both David and I have the lingering effects of colds we picked up in the Australian winter. David's kept both of us awake at night with his coughing! We'll definitely be going back. We've found some more campsites way up in the mountains that look fun to explore.

And now we're back in hot, humid Tokyo. It is about 32 degrees downstairs just now, and 72% humidity. I'd love a storm to clear the air! Somehow I need to clear my head and get back into editing a magazine. I've got quite a lot of articles waiting to be attended too, never mind a lot of other things that I'm sure need to be done!

The bottom of the waterfall.

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