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Old 07-29-2009, 04:24 AM   #46
Edmond Dantès OP
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Anyone visiting Japan, no matter how long for, simply must make the trip to Nikko.

Lie to your loved ones, cheat and steal, explain you have to cut the business meeting short in Tokyo due to a crisis, take the train, bus, hitch-hike, jack a car, walk, swim, crawl… hell, come knock at my door, I’ll run you up there. Don’t miss it.

They should refuse entry to the country anyone who isn’t going to Nikko.

Upon arriving, I head to the Kanaya Hotel. I hope to treat myself to a night in this marvelous place. It’s a western style hotel and one of the oldest in the country. Opened in 1873. A sister hotel of the equally famous Fujiya Hotel in Hakone.
Unfortunately no room at the inn. I forget to take any pictures in my disappointment. My bad.

Outside the sites perk me up.
At the top of the hill on the main Nikko Street is the sacred bridge, Shin-Kyo. (The Divine Bridge) This bridge is closed to all forms of traffic. How dearly I would have loved to ….

Don't ride across it. They'll take that Vara away from you.






There are a number of temples and shrines in the area. I am just going to view Toshogu today.
This is the most important attraction in Nikko. I like to pick one area and really take things in. One can get sensory overload very quickly in Nikko.

Toshogu Shrine is the grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

It was founded in 1617 when monks from Enryakuji temple (788) on Mount Hiei (a sacred Shinto mountain northeast of the old capital, Kyoto, and an important early mixing ground for Shinto and Buddhism.) traveled north to Nikko to help set up the mausoleum and shrine.

15,000 craftsmen, many from Kyoto, which was still the cultural and religious center of the country at the time, helped create the lavish complex of buildings.
The bridge leads the way to a footpath up the hill. The footpath in turn leads the way to Rinno-ji temple.







The main avenue, Omote-sando (main approach) paves the way to Toshogu Shrine.

On the path a pagoda 32 meters tall, built in 1818.


Entry to the shrine is through Otemon with it’s statues of guardian Nio-sama (Deva kings).

Entry to the temple compound is 1,600 yen ($16). Not sure how that accounts with Zen principals, but I am not gonna argue with Nio-sama.


Through the gate on the left we encounter the sacred stables, the only building in the compound without lacquering. This is the famous Monkey Shrine. It is mistakenly called a shrine, but is in fact a stable.



On the panels of the stables overhead are eight reliefs. The monkeys represent stepping stones in the life of man.
The most famous is the ‘see, speak, hear no evil’ poses.

The 3 wise monkeys. They have always fascinated me over the years.
The origin of the monkeys is shrouded in mystery, they have been claimed to originate in India, Cambodia, China, and even as far a field as Egypt and other parts of Africa.
There is a little known temple,Son-sho-in temple in Kyoto with four wise monkeys instead of three.
The fourth monkey with his hands in an ambivalent posture kind of like meditation.
The monks from Enryakuji temple must have brought the monkeys north from Kyoto, but why did they drop the fourth monkey?

Here is a carving I was given in Indonesia clearing showing 4 monkeys. Notice the fourth furthest to the right.

The ‘Seven-monkey Poem’ attributed to Ganzan Jie Daishi (tenth century) ends with verse 7.

Compared to the three monkeys
Who neither see, nor hear
Nor speak
Not thinking is
By far the best.


I do like this carving:


A monkey no longer young plans to take a gamble. He can’t swim but is about to jump into the sea. His friend is trying to dissuade him from such a reckless action.


Love Sick








Yomeimon Gate


The most beautiful gate in Japan, and one of the most elaborately decorated structures in the world.


I have never seen anything quite like it personally.
The Japanese call it Higurashi-mon (Twilight Gate), implying that you could stand and admire the gate until night falls.


On the ends of beams are carved kirin (mythical Chinese animals)




Between black and gilded brackets are cravings of Chinese princes, sages and immortals of Chinese mythology.


There panels depicting Chinese children, end beams with white dragon heads, a dragon on a central beam. One can see lacquered and gilded dragon heads.






The wall running along side the gate.






Ah, that's where they have been hiding the whiskey.





I'm just lost for....





















Edmond Dantès screwed with this post 09-16-2009 at 06:17 AM
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:30 AM   #47
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Great RR !!!!

Really love Japan, been there twice in 1997 and 2002 to Nagoya.

You are really a big guy, make Vara looks so small !
Good you can manage yourself in the small bath tub !
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:29 AM   #48
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You are really a big guy, make Vara looks so small !
Good you can manage yourself in the small bath tub


I didn't realize how small the Varadero was until I saw this picture:

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Old 07-29-2009, 06:02 AM   #49
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Nice ride report. I get a bit nostalgic when i read a report from japan. I lived in Tokyo for a year or so in the late eighties. If you haven't already i suggest checking out the Ito Peninsular a little south of Tokyo and this amazing bridge.


Yes Craypot, I know this bridge well. I love the Izu Penisula.
There are some lovely waterfalls near to that bridge.




And some real good beaches in striking distance from Tokyo.




Izu offers some good seascapes:

And good snorkel opportunties:

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Old 07-29-2009, 06:58 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edmond Dantès
Anyone visiting Japan, no matter how long for, simply must make the trip to Nikko.

Lie to your loved ones, cheat and steal, explain you have to cut the business meeting short in Tokyo due to a crisis, take the train, bus, hitch-hike, jack a car, walk, swim, crawl… hell, come knock at my door, I’ll run you up there. Don’t miss it.

They should refuse entry to the country anyone who isn’t going to Nikko.
Oops.. We didn't go.. well, next time then..

Did you ride around Shikoku on a bike yet? I think that's pretty much a must if you are in Japan.
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:22 AM   #51
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Oops.. We didn't go.. well, next time then..

Did you ride around Shikoku on a bike yet? I think that's pretty much a must if you are in Japan.
Have never been to Shikoku. A ride around the whole coastline of the country has been brewing for a while now.
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:27 AM   #52
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Thanks for the excellent RR Edmond, I was born and raised in western Tokyo and travel back to visit friends and family yearly, I would love to travel around the country on a bike like you do.



A photo of the Shinkyo bridge in Nikko during winter, I was there this past February, it looks nice with some snow on it too.

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Old 07-29-2009, 08:27 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Edmond Dantès
Have never been to Shikoku. A ride around the whole coastline of the country has been brewing for a while now.
That sounds like a tall order, but then again, you teachers have all the holiday in the world..

Shikoku is lovely, very laidback, here is our trip report from last year October.. Wish we had the time to do Tokyo and the surrounding area.
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:22 AM   #54
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Did you do Iroha-zaka?
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:11 PM   #55
Edmond Dantès OP
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That sounds like a tall order, but then again, you teachers have all the holiday in the world..

Shikoku is lovely, very laidback, here is our trip report from last year October.. Wish we had the time to do Tokyo and the surrounding area.
Aadamnz, yes the around Japan trip could be done in the summer. I have met people who have ridden it. Even one guy who was hard of hearing rode it on a bicycle. Summer would be the best time to do it I'd say when the roads up north are not treacherous with snow and black ice. Reckon 4-5 weeks. That would give me time to have a break afterwards somewhere else.

Great ride report around Shikoku and Kyushu.

Quote:
A photo of the Shinkyo bridge in Nikko during winter, I was there this past February, it looks nice with some snow on it too.
That is a beauty of a pic of Shinkyo Bridge.

Quote:
Did you do Iroha-zaka?
Coming up next dude.
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Old 07-29-2009, 07:44 PM   #56
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Stop at the convenience store for breakfast and to load up on rice balls for the day.


Today I ride through part of the Nikko Naitonal Park and pick up the Kanestu Expressway at Numata and back to the big city.



It’s twisty time! The original tires on the Vara were Bridgestones. They did not like the tight tarmac. The front end used to ’tremble’ slighty leaning into tight corners. If you are riding in twisties for a couple of hours which is often the case here, it became annoying and tiresome.
A pair of Michelin Anakee 2s were put on just before the trip. The bike feels so much better. Let’s see how the bike feels on the tight road running up to Chuzenji-ko Lake.


Up we go. The bike feels so much better. Knee down better? Nah, leave that for the Gixxers.


Arrive at Chuzenji-ko Lake.

That's how I like my lakes; non-agressive, all calm, on a even keel.

Is that a volcano I see in the background?

Why, it's Mr. Nantai-san (2844 meters). And a good day to you sir!










The road is clear. DON'T ride this road in Autumn when the leaves are changing color. This road, and every other in the area is just jam-packed with cars. It is a nightmare. I have been in cars on this road in the autumn close to tears, and it wasn't due to the beauty of it all.


The road passes a couple more tranquil, sedate lakes.





I asked this man how the trouting was around these parts. He said that he wasn't sure, and that he is only interested in fishing.




Some great hiking paths along the lakes.






May I suggest a Callaway 3 Wood?


How empty was the road today! Anyone who has witnessed it will collaborate, these roads are hell in Autumn. And every year they keep coming back to sit in a traffic jam for 18 hours.






May I suggest, an Aprilia RXV 550?



Edmond Dantès screwed with this post 07-30-2009 at 06:46 PM
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:10 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Edmond Dantès
May I suggest, an Aprilia RXV 550?

a road the way god intended it....

thats what I think about when I think about japanese roads
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:22 PM   #58
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Squint my eyes enough and I could be back in Stratford upon Avon.








The Kanestu Express will complete the loop back into Edo.


Back on the streets of Edo. It's bloody hot ! Forget home-sweet home. It's, Home Sweat Home! Stifingly hot in the full face helmet!




And like the protagonist in any good story, I've come around in a complete circle.








Well that wraps it up folks. About 2,000 km clocked up on the Varadero and a smile on my face the length of the Rainbow Bridge.

Would like to thank all the members of ADVrider for the inspiration.

Would like to thank the boys at the Hamamatsu Factory in Shizouka Prefecture, Asahi Super Dry, Kirin Ichiban Shibori, Super Chu-Hi, Soy Joys, Boss Coffee, ENEOS gas stations, The Allman Brothers Band, all the nurses at Kamaishi Nursing College, and my girlfriend Mercédès.

And with much bowing and scraping, goodbye, adieu, au revoir,auf Wiedersehen, arrivederci, adios, ta-ta, sayonara.

Edmond Dantes. AKA, The Count of Monte Cristo

Edmond Dantès screwed with this post 07-30-2009 at 06:50 PM
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:55 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Edmond Dantès
Squint my eyes enough and I could be back in Stratford upon Avon.


Nah, its not nearly wet enough!


Top Notch RR Ed. As a boy from the Home Counties, Japan is a total mystery to me (as is, in fact the whole of the Far East). Between you and Franki, that is changing.....

Many thanks for taking the time to write your trip up,,,
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:38 AM   #60
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Top Notch RR Ed. As a boy from the Home Counties, Japan is a total mystery to me (as is, in fact the whole of the Far East). Between you and Franki, that is changing.....

Many thanks for taking the time to write your trip up,,,
Damoace, thanks for the nice comments mate. I hope one day you will have the chance to travel in the Far East.

Best wishes to you mate.

Edmond D.
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