After arriving in Nikko we took the bus up the mountain to view the Kegon waterfalls. Quite impressive. It was very noisy between the rushing waterfall and the buzzing cicadas.
Further down from the waterfall is Lake Chuzenji. Here people can fish, rent paddle boats or enjoy a relaxing day at a nearby spa.
Back in the actual town of Nikko, it is a 30 minute walk to the temple complex. You know you are getting close we when come up to the Sacred Bridge. Um..it costs 300 yen ($3) just to walk across it so we chose to take the modern bridge adjacent to it and just took a picture.
Up these stairs and through the stone torii amongst the cedars, you will reach the Toshogu Shrine.
Here is a view of the shrine area after just reaching the top of the stairs.
Looking to your left you will see the huge 5 story pagoda.
To reach the actual temples you pass through another gateway. Here is an up close look at the Yomeimon Gate with its bright colors and gilded accents.
Through the gate to your right you will first come to the sacred stable. Most people will recognize the images of the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys.
The monkeys were considered guardians of the sacred white horse.
After we finished looking a the shrines, we took the train back to Tokyo. You pass through a little bit of countryside but most it turns urban pretty quickly.
Me and my pretzel sticks. I found these tasty treats at the train station, they aren't Pocky but they are pretzel sticks with chocolate inside. Yum!