Day trip to Nikko

My friend Akira asked me if I want to join him and his fiancée Risa on their day trip to Nikko, a town about two hours north of Tokyo. Of course I did!

Nikko is most famous for Toshogu, Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The surrounding Nikko National Park offers amazing landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails. This area is absolutely beautiful and a stark contrast to vibrant mega-city Tokyo.

Our last stop was at an Onsen (Japanese natural hot spring). It was great after a long day to relax my body in about 40 degree Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) hot water. Obviously, this was my first time to go there, and therefore it was perfect to have Akira as my Japanese guide. He explained me how to properly take the bath, because it requires a certain procedure (before, during, and after the bath).

The exceptional sense of detail and process is something I really like about the Japanese culture. I just started to increasingly recognize all the little details in, for example, food preparation and presentation, home furnishing and decoration, or how to take a bath at an Onsen. It seems there is a deeper thinking, purpose and meaning in everyday life than I experienced in other cultures so far. This resonates very well with me.