Room Key: Nikko Kanaya Hotel
Address: 1300, Kami-Hatsuishi-machi, Nikko City, Tochigi, 321-1401, Japan
Phone: (011) 81-288 54-0001
Fax: (011) 81-288 53-2487
Rates: Prices are per day and vary, depending on the season:
" Deluxe rooms: $155 to $380
" Rooms with bath: $105 to $145
" Economy rooms: $75 to $115
Facilities: Three restaurants; lobby bar; gift shops; pool/skating rink; gardens; Japanese bath house.
NIKKO, Japan --
No visit to Japan is complete without an excursion here.
mountainside town offers a perfect combination of natural beauty
and Japanese history, both of which can be found at the Toshogu
shrine set in a forest at the end of the citys main
Listed as a
Unesco World Heritage Site, Toshogu draws thousands of tourists
buildings are decorated lavishly with lacquer work and intricate
An integral part
of Japanese history, Toshogu is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu,
founder of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan from 1603 to
Built in 1616,
the shrine consists of a dozen or so buildings of both Buddhist and
Shinto design, all in pristine condition. The preserved buildings,
combined with the forest setting and the Japanese tourists dressed
in kimonos, make you feel as if youve taken a step back in
One of the most
popular features of Toshogu is a carving called San-en, a rendition
of the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil proverb.
all over the world visit Toshogu to contemplate -- and mimic --
this famous relief sculpture depicting the three
On the shrines
steps youll find tourists imitating the monkeys, making them almost
as interesting to observe as the sculpture itself.
splendid glimpse into the history and culture of Japan, Toshogu
isnt the only reason to visit Nikko.
Located an hour
outside town, Nikko National Park offers dense forests, hot
springs, mountainside vistas and crisp, clean air. Its the perfect
getaway from urban Tokyo, which is about 90 miles to the
The park can be
accessed by bus via the Irohazaka, a mountain pass with needlepoint
curves. The ride can be treacherous, as the bus winds its way
around the mountain. The buses are often full, so be sure to arrive
early to secure a seat.
The first stop in
the park is Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls. The 320-foot waterfall
is relaxing, the lake is crowded.
Yumoto, a small,
hot springs town near Lake Yunoko, is by far a better option. Be
sure to visit Onsenji, a Buddhist temple with hot springs that are
open to the public. Guests can enjoy
the waters in the serenity of a Buddhist temple.
It is also worth
visiting Yudaki, a 230-foot waterfall, and the Senjogahara Plateau
Nature Trail, which winds along the Yugawa River. It takes about
two hours to walk the entire trail.
Back in Nikko,
the citys main street is filled with shops, restaurants and
guesthouses and is a good place to try a local dish called
yuba-ryori, tasty strips of tofu cooked in a stew.
on the main street close before 8 p.m., so it is advisable to eat
dinner early or in your hotel.
The best place to
stay while exploring Nikko is the Nikko Kanaya Hotel, located atop
a mountain bluff. This luxury hotel is close to Toshogu shrine, the
city center and the buses that run to the national park.
Dating from 1873,
the hotel is a cultural experience in itself. Its one of the worlds
oldest wooden hotels and features beautiful gardens and exquisite
art and architecture.
hotel has a historical feel, its 80 rooms have been renovated to
suit modern needs. While comfortable, they dont offer the true
Japanese guesthouse experience of tatami mats and futon beds, but
the friendly staff makes up for this with the hospitality for which
Japan is famous.
There are eight
classes of accommodations ranging from deluxe rooms with attached
baths to economy rooms with shared showers. The class B rooms
located in the annex are the best value, offering spacious rooms
with private bathing facilities and a view of Mount
To contact the
reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].