Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Weekend: Nikko and Noodle Making

Last weekend, on Saturday I went on a sightseeing day trip to Nikko. From Tokyo, it takes about two hours and bit by car, depending on the weather and traffic. First off we went to the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, which holds the remains of the first ever shogun ruler in Japan during the Edo period (1603-186). The shrines were unbelievably amazing. Just the architecture, the engravings, wood cravings, gold accents and everything about the shrine was beautiful. The shrine is I think is entirely made out of wood and features intricate carvings of flowery patterns, animals and ornamental designs. It's amazing how old it is too, a lot of money has been put in to the restoration of the shrine. I'll let the pictures show how amazing the shrine is.

I have a thing for old buildings and any sort of olden day architecture, I just love it, it's great. All the intricacy and detail really shows off how much work, time and effort has been put in to these structures. The place was also really serene even though it was filled with tourists. The photo of the shrine just above, the white one, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside for some reason, but it was really amazing inside. There's a huge painting of a great dragon on the ceiling looking down on everyone and several statues. Inside was really great, it has traditional tatami mats which are made from bamboo, drawn pictures of different shoguns, it's like another world inside there.

After the shrine, we went to Edo Wonderland, which is a sort of theme park that gives you a real experience of what it's like to live in the Edo Period. All the buildings are made to resemble buildings from that time and everyone is dressed in Edo Period clothing. It's like a little town, all the buildings really resembled olden day times, the town is full of ninjas and several geisha and all that kind of stuff. Unfortunately however the weather was horrible, it was raining down so much and there was lighting and thunder. The thunder was so loud, it deafened me for a moment, I also think it hit a tree or something because the mountains were smoking. In Edo Wonderland, you can watch ninja shows, dress up in traditional Japanese clothing and get your picture taken, go through a maze, shoot arrows, through ninja stars and darts and so on, go to a haunted house, feed fish and horses, my favorite bit was the Ninja Kai Kai Tei House of Illusion, it's a basically a house that's built on a steep slope so it kind of steals your sense of gravity. Gravity pulls you towards the opposite way of where you want to go, it's harder to walk up and sit and stand. It's really amusing.

We also had a traditional Japanese lunch which was really yummy! It included, rise, miso soup, various tempura, fish, soba, pickled vegetables and fish cakes.

On Sunday, my great aunt and uncle and I made udon together. Udon is basically noodles made out of wheat. Super yummy and fun to make. Here's the brief process in pictures.

Check out my instagram for more photos, @everday_weekends!