I visited Nikko, Tochigi earlier today. It was a 40 minute train ride from Utsunomiya – a very short trip, and well worth it considering what it offers: The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shrines and Temples of Nikko. In my travels, I’ve ended up at lots of shrines, churches, temples and other religious sites.
I’ve stood in the shadows of Notre Dame, marveled at the Sagrada Familia, wandered through St. Peter’s Basilica, stood in the heat at Ephesus, documented the holy week procession in Navalcarnero, discovered Hindu temples in Singapore, witnessed the call to prayer in Turkey, and visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Regardless of the location or type of religion, it’s always an unforgettable experience.
Shinkyo – the Sacred Bridge (above), was the first thing I encountered today. It’s across from the 38 buildings of Rinnō-ji temple, surrounded by streets and modernity. But it still stands out. And it’s much more beautiful in person.
The Rinnō-ji Temple area is massive. It’s endless. It’s a steady upward hike. It’s lush. It feels like a time capsule. It has many, many stories to tell. And there are 38 different buildings, including this stunning five-story pagoda.
It’s an exhausting but worthwhile trek. I was struck by the craftsmanship, the colors, the intricacy and beauty that seemed so perfectly placed within nature. It was a seamless blend of human made structures and the natural environment.
Eight of the 38 buildings are considered National Treasures in Japan. And this is Japan we’re talking about. The place is spectacular.
Aside from the cultural experience, the exposure to so much Buddhist history and absorbing such a serene, perfectly conceived environment – there was another positive. It’s utterly impossible to take a bad photograph. And for me, that was the entire purpose of this venture. I wanted to lose myself behind the lens of camera. I wanted to find beauty in the details. I wanted to become fascinated, obsessed even, with lines and curves. I wanted to hear that shutter and know that I had captured something special.
So that’s what I did today. In my world, that makes for a perfect day. So, enjoy some more images below.
So where next?