Jon and I exchanged our Rail pass orders for the passes themselves today and no we’re on our way to Nikko (we’ll take a bullet train to the nearest big city and then a local train to Nikko). Since it is the busy season we weren’t able to get reserved seats and while we did make it on the train, we are separated. So now I’m sitting on the high-speed Shinkansen, but to be honest, it doesn’t feel that fast. I was planning to take a nap but I’m sitting next to 2 Japanese teenagers, so I probably won’t.
Yesterday, Jon and I decided to go to an internet café to book a new Shanghai hostel (we were having issues with the one we booked originally). We’ve been going to this one internet place, but we thought we’d try another one. We saw a building that had 24H Internet Café signs and posters all over it. It was pretty late, but since the sign said 24 hours we tried it out. However, when we got there the door was locked, there was a camera, and we had to ring a doorbell in order to get in. After a few attempts, we had the sneaking suspicion that it was not, in fact, an internet café. The neighborhood around the building had “love hotels” and strange men handing out hooker cards, and we realized that the “24H Internet Café” signs probably belied a brothel of sorts.
We’re now on the train headed back to Tokyo. It’s about 7:00 PM. Nikko was very pretty, but also crowded and expensive. Located on a hill, the weather was much cooler and the surrounding scenery was lovely and a nice change from the city. The Buddhist shrines were extraordinarily ornate and colorful. We saw the earliest representation of the “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil monkeys in the Toshu-gu temple. We purchased a combination ticket thinking it would give us access to everything, but unfortunately we needed to buy extra tickets to see certain tombs (really, Japan?) There are also a bunch of waterfalls in the area but they were a little far (about 60 km), and probably would have been easier seen with a tour group. There were a lot of foreigners out today, mainly Spaniards.
Next we’re going back to Ueno and we’ll probably spend some time in that area before going back to the hostel. I think we’re also going to get our tickets for Kyoto.