Shoyoen Gardens, Nikko

We excuse ourselves passed the people waiting to get into delicious Hippari Dako and make our way back up the hill passed the Shinkyo Bridge. Up through the woods there are some paths to walk with signs pointing to temples and other attractions.

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Coming to Japan in the fall is gorgeous. The colors in the leaves are stunning and when they catch the light just right it’s amazing. This is not what they’re doing in the picture below, but it’s nice nonetheless.

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We come upon a statue of some old Shogun and a dragon fountain. Behind that is a massive temple but it’s currently being restored and so it just looks like a warehouse with the image of what the temple is supposed to look like draped on it.

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Behind us is another building that looks like an entrance to something. We walk up to investigate and it says that it leads to some gardens, called Shoyoen. Meh, we can probably skip that. An employee sees we are somewhat interested and comes over to help. “Four hundred year old Japanese garden. Very beautiful.” Ahhh ok that will work, we’re going into the 400 year old gardens!

We go through the little gate and up a slight slope and… it’s beautiful.

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Manicured shrubbery, wooden bridges, some old living quarters, a small pond filled with Koi, and of course, popping with vibrant fall colors. It’s actually breath-taking

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Well this is super pretty so I think it’s time to bust out the selfie stick!
(We always mess up which side the camera is on)

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…gets me closer to the water as well

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Wow what a fantastic spot. We’ve basically got the place to ourselves too. The walk around the pond is peaceful. We slowly take it in, stopping for pics here and there. We sit quietly on a bench for a bit just listening to the birds and water and the ffffffft sound of me adjusting my selfie stick.

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Oh Narco wants to move in!

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I take 400 moments to ponder what a disaster my life might be without my selfie stick.

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Well that was relaxing. We dip into a museum-type building off the side of the gardens. There are a number of relics from the Tokugawa Shoguns that inhabited this area. Some impressive stuff but I respected the no pictures thing and so I have no ‘physical memory’ of it. There were some cool Oni statues of thunder and wind demons, a bunch of weapons, some books, some ornate screens to get dressed behind and a long bone spike with the words “Horn of Unicorn, Born of Narwhal” underneath. Pretty rad.

Ok, we’re really going to see the temples now…

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