24th Aug: Day Trip to Nikko

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Nikko: World Heritage Site

Iroha Slope
This tour will depart from Aoyama Gakuin University at 8:30am by bus to the expressway. We will have a short break at the Sano Highway Services before reaching the Nikko Utsunomiya Road.

The first point of interest will be the Iroha Slope. This famous slope has a total of 48 curves with each of the curves labeled according to the 48 Japanese Kana characters in order. There are two one-way portions of the road appropiately called the first Iroha Hill (Dai-ichi Irohazaka) and the second Iroha Hill (Dai-ni Irohazaka).

Lake Chuzenji
The next point of interest will be Lake Chuzenji. This lake located high on a plateau with an altitude of 1,250 meters is one of the most famous lakes in Japan. Lava discharged from the crater of Mt. Nantai during its past eruptions dammed the Daiyagawa River, forming Lake Chuzenji. It is one of the most transparent lakes in Japan, with the seasonal changes of the surrounding area beautifully reflected on its tranquilsurface. Kegon Falls is the outflow of this lake

At Lake Chuzenji, we will take our lunch and have free time to enjoy the view

Kegon Falls
Next we will go to Kegon Falls. The falls plummet some 97 meters. Kegon Falls is considered one of Japan’s three most renowned waterfalls together with Nachi Falls in Wakayama Prefecture and Fukuroda Falls in Ibaraki Prefecture. Visitors can go to the bottom of the gorge by elevator. Although the view never fails to enchant visitors throughout the year, Kegon Falls is particularly dazzling during the spring and fall and when it forms huge icicles in winter.

We will then go to the Nikko Tosho-gu ShrineConstructed
Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine 
as the mausoleum for Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1617, this shrine was later rebuilt into the present impressive shrine under the reign of the Third Shogun Iemitsu. All the buildings here have been designated as National Treasures.

In December 1999, the Toshogu Shrine and other shrines and temples in Nikko were officially designated as a World Heritage Site. One of the gates, Yomeimon, is also called Higurashimon or "Twilight Gate" because viewers never get tired of admiring its beauty from morning until twilight. Visitors are also overwhelmed by as many as 5,000 ornate woodcarvings, the culmination of supreme Edo Craftsmanship, including the Nemuri Neko, the Sleeping Cat, and San Zaru, the famous monkeys that "see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil."

Shinkyo Bridge
From the shrine, we will pass by the Shinkyo Bridge, the "sacred bridge," that stands at the entrance to Nikko's shrines and temples, and technically belongs to Futarasan Shrine. The bridge is ranked as one of Japan's three finest historical bridges together with Iwakuni's Kintaikyo and Saruhashi in Yamanashi Prefecture. This bridge was constructed in 1636, and a bridge of some kind has marked the same spot for much longer, although the exact origins are unclear. Until 1973, Shinkyo was off limits to the general public. It underwent extensive renovation in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and visitors can now walk across the bridge for an entrance fee.

Nikko Sugi
Next we will view the Nikko Sugi, a cedar forest of about About 13,000 Japanese cedars (sugi) that dominate Nikko Sugi Avenue for 37 kilometers. This avenue has entered the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest. It was some 380 years ago when the trees were planted. This is the only site in Japan to have been designated by the Japanese Government both as Special Historic Relics and a Special Natural Monument.

From Nikko, we will return to Tokyo on the Expressway. We will have a break at the Hanyu Highway Services, then return by 6:30pm to Aoyama Gakuin University.

Optional Day Trips: Registration Information

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