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Japan Tokyo Nikko Hiking Mount Toyama

14 November 2017

Value extraction

I paid for my train pass, so I am going to extract as much value as possible from my train pass.
It costs $100 for 3 days, yesterday I extracted $88 value.
Today I decided the expensive option was to go to Nikko, for a rest day, which would cost $50 if not for the pass, I am already easily ahead. That makes me feel very justified in my purchase.

I have been to Nikko before, everyone has, but last time I was really sick, having got sick the day before starting my Japan trip, then nearly dying on the plane. So my memory of Nikko is fuzzy.
What I can remember is that I thought it was far from the station to the bridge / temples. It is not. This goes to show that the last time I went I really was sick at the time.
Anyway, my rest day turned into a small mountain, and then it was raining again, although its due to stop any time now, so thats ok, I hope.

Working backwards, its time for observations from the train.
The first part of the journey is the bullet train from Ueno to Utsunomiya.
I remember Utsunomiya as the place where a senior citizen set himself on fire at the local government office to protest land taxes, he died, but I digress.
On this bullet train there were lots of salary men, working on laptops, and many of them, the majority, exhibited the same strange behaviour.
If you picture the keyboard area of a laptop, there is a touchpad in the middle, most people use that, I am using it now in fact, I dont travel with a mouse.
Anyway, salary men all like sticky notes glued to the to the smooth area just to the left of the touchpad, and they write stuff down on there constantly, whilst sitting at and using a computer. I know its hard to type in Japanese but what are they needing to write down?
Next, they dont use the touchpad. Ever. They all have corded mice, plugged in, and resting on the smooth area just to the right of the touch pad.
This adds up to one of the most cluttered unergonomic things I have ever seen.

My next observation comes on the train between Utsunomiya and Nikko, another 45 minute ride (getting to Nikko takes ages). This train is full of mainly German tourists, and I noticed 3 things -
1. Many of them still carry around an actual video camera. Not just using their photo camera to take videos, but a dedicated video camera. Are they even still being manufactured?
2. They LOVE the paper printed German tourist guide to Japan. Different groups of Germans were following along in the same guide and all got up to look at the same thing at the same time as we went past, repeatedly. Quite amusing.
3. One of the groups of Germans had left their wet clothes in the washing machine, and decided to wear them anyway. The smell of mouldy clothes was horrific! I dont know how they could stand it.

Now for some pictures of Nikko everyone takes, and some no one who speaks English has ever taken before.

Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - Here is a very grey Utsunomiya station area, shot through a closed window. On the train between here and Nikko the sun came out, which I was not expec

Here is a very grey Utsunomiya station area, shot through a closed window.
On the train between here and Nikko the sun came out, which I was not expecting. That did not last.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - I was quite thrilled with this photo, the bullet train splits in half soon after this stop, half goes to Yamadera, half to Sendai. I managed to snap i

I was quite thrilled with this photo, the bullet train splits in half soon after this stop, half goes to Yamadera, half to Sendai. I managed to snap it as another one was speeding past.
Also you can clearly see how one of those trains has its nose retracted back into its own nose. I was fascinated.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - Arriving at Nikko and I got to admire the huge mountain vista. I remembered admiring it last time with better weather and a camera with zoom capabilit

Arriving at Nikko and I got to admire the huge mountain vista. I remembered admiring it last time with better weather and a camera with zoom capabilities also.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - This is the Nikko main street area. Its a bit overrated in my opinion, or a bit tired.

This is the Nikko main street area. Its a bit overrated in my opinion, or a bit tired.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - The photo EVERYONE takes. The main temples in the hills are still closed for rennovations, for the next 20 years and the last 10 years it seems. They

The photo EVERYONE takes. The main temples in the hills are still closed for rennovations, for the next 20 years and the last 10 years it seems. They have constructed a shed over it and painted a temple on the outside of the shed. Seriously.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - So instead, I found a path to climb over behind a hotel.

So instead, I found a path to climb over behind a hotel.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - Quite a good view from down here, then things got weird.

Quite a good view from down here, then things got weird.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - The path continued up another hill, I could appreciate this tree.

The path continued up another hill, I could appreciate this tree.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - Then I could appreciate this shrine in the hills.

Then I could appreciate this shrine in the hills.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - The path then descended into the back of a resort, closed obviously, as you can see their pool is bright green. The signs pointing to the exit all lea

The path then descended into the back of a resort, closed obviously, as you can see their pool is bright green. The signs pointing to the exit all lead down stairs to locked doors, I was trapped!


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - That is not a lawn! Its a pond. If you fall in you will die. There is no fence. I had to carefully step around it, go through a workshop shed, and cli

That is not a lawn! Its a pond. If you fall in you will die. There is no fence. I had to carefully step around it, go through a workshop shed, and climb down some landslide barriers into a car park to find a way out!
It is very weird to me that a sign posted trail lead me to here.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - Back on track now, I like the look of that little peak to the right, lets go investigate.

Back on track now, I like the look of that little peak to the right, lets go investigate.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - A mountain trail! Mount Toyama. So much for my rest day, lets run up a hill. This one had lots of concrete gates, was very steep, but only took 45 min

A mountain trail! Mount Toyama. So much for my rest day, lets run up a hill.
This one had lots of concrete gates, was very steep, but only took 45 minutes. I was the first person up here for the day judging by the spiderwebs.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - In amongst the tool slim cedars was the occasional spooky tree like this. I liked this path a lot.

In amongst the tool slim cedars was the occasional spooky tree like this. I liked this path a lot.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - And there is Nikko as seen from the top. With fog over the hills in the background. It was getting dark and starting to drizzle.

And there is Nikko as seen from the top. With fog over the hills in the background. It was getting dark and starting to drizzle.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - The hills across the valley. All the WORLD HERITAGE SITE!!! shrines are in amongst those pines in the valley.

The hills across the valley. All the WORLD HERITAGE SITE!!! shrines are in amongst those pines in the valley.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - Possibly the last STANCE of this trip. A good one cause I am in my Chinese commando pants and favourite ten year old long sleeve t-shirt.

Possibly the last STANCE of this trip. A good one cause I am in my Chinese commando pants and favourite ten year old long sleeve t-shirt.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - I really like the mountain backdrop view. A shame the light wasnt better.

I really like the mountain backdrop view. A shame the light wasnt better.


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - There are bigger mountains off in the distance as well, behind a lake. Climbing these is possible but not on a day trip. It takes too long to get to N

There are bigger mountains off in the distance as well, behind a lake. Climbing these is possible but not on a day trip. It takes too long to get to Nikko, then the bus to the mountains is another hour at least.
You would have to stay in Nikko to do it. I suspect Nikko is really really boring at night!


Japan-Tokyo-Nikko-Hiking-Mount Toyama - Once I got back to the station area I found out I had to wait 50 minutes for the train. No problem, I found a supermarket with a public seating area i

Once I got back to the station area I found out I had to wait 50 minutes for the train. No problem, I found a supermarket with a public seating area inside, with a microwave, free tea, toilets.
Basically you buy your stuff from the supermarket, heat it up if required, sit and eat it. $4 lunch, no problem, thanks for your hospitality.


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