This cold, chilly and rainy weather today is reminding me of our day trip to Nikko, Japan. We had one of those days that just didn't go as planned. We got up up before dawn to take the Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo. Once we arrived in Tokyo, we missed the first train to Nikko and had to wait three hours for the second train. The second train wasn't an express train so it took us 5 hours to get from Tokyo to Nikko. Once we arrived in Nikko, we couldn't figure out where to take a bus to get to the Tosho-Go Shrine. When we finally did find the bus, we arrived at the Shrine 30 minutes before it closed. We forked over the cash and tried to run around and see as much of it as we could. We thought we'd be able to see it for the full 30 minutes, but they blocked off the interior of the shrine and the burial grounds 15 minutes before closing. The ironic part of the whole day is that it took us 12 hours to reach the shrine, but we only got to see it for 15 minutes before closing time. Oh well...every trip always has the one day filled with letdowns, right? We had a good sense of humor throughout the day and kept laughing about how it was the worst day ever and that with our luck we'd never be able to leave the city.
Nikko is set in the mountains and the scenery surrounding the shrine was beautiful. We liked the change in landscape from the flatter parts of Japan that we had seen during the other parts of our vacation. The shrine was so ornate and beautiful. We especially loved the moss covered lanterns - Jon is now obsessed with growing moss in our backyard and in his bonsai plants. The moss was especially pretty because it was raining and it looked so green and bright and vibrant.
The best part of the day was discovering this little store that sold a delicious hot drink made from yuzu, called Yuzu Mitsu. It tastes like a warm citrusy, honey drink and it's always nice to drink on a cold day. I have no idea where we'll find any in the States to replenish our supply, but I did find another substitute for it at Trader Joe's this afternoon. It's a Citron Honey spread that's made with Yuzu and the flavor is very similar to the Yuzu drink, but with a marmalade aftertaste. I'm glad that we caved and bought a bottle of the drink to bring home with us because everytime we pull the bottle out for another drink, it always takes me back to that rainy day in Nikko.