A neon sign is visible from the platform of Kanda Station: 「NIKKO is NIPPON」

In Japanese it is 日本の光。日光。 , which means something like “light of Japan: Nikko.”

Kanda Nikko is Nippon Tokyo Japan.JPG

From what I understand, this phrase is from a 2006 advertising campaign from Tobu Railway; a 10-year anniversary of the campaign is now underway.

The train from Kita-Senju station (Tokyo) to Nikko

Kita-Senju Tokyo train to Nikko.JPG

Cherry blossoms at Tobu-Nikko Station 東武日光駅 (map):

Nikko cherry tree train station.JPG

So let me tell you about Nikko: it’s fine. Beautiful skies, fresh air, impressive temples, majestic mountains…

My mild ambivalence about Nikko is that it is not a “real” place.

It has a striking, Meiji-era train station…

Nikko Japan Meiji era train station.JPG

And the temples do feel a world-removed from the concerns of daily life…

Nikko girls Japan temple red and white.JPG

But away from the temples, Nikko feels like a sleepy mountain town; old houses, an old toy store with a COSMOS vending machine..

And taiyaki 鯛焼き (たい焼き), a personal favorite:

Taiyaki griddle sweet fish cake.JPG

These are simple pleasures, and nothing to thumb your nose at, but as night falls in Nikko, the buzz that you expect from a Japanese city is largely absent. It is a pleasant place, but not a city. For city lovers, it’s time to head home.

TRAIN to Tokyo Nikko Japan.JPG Maybe that’s a mistake; it sure is beautiful here:

Nikko mountains sunset dusk Japan.JPG

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