27 January 2009

Nikko Revisited 重返日光

It has been eighteen years since I last visited Nikko (日光), an idyllic city nestled in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture (栃木) two hours from Tokyo by train. My memories of the city have yellowed, but time has only made the heart grow fonder. And so when I decided to spend Chinese New Year in Tokyo this year, I made certain that a proper visit, long overdue, was paid to the City of Sunlight.

I planned a three-day sojourn at a ryokan (旅館; traditional inn) in the town of Kinugawa (鬼怒川). A popular onsen resort in the city of Nikko, the town was named after the Kinugawa River, which literally means the wrath of demons. Far less sinister than its name suggests, the sleepy town is home to thousands of retirees eager to chat up visitors who cross their paths...


Read the rest of this article in HONG KONG State of Mind, published by Blacksmith Books, available at major bookstores in in Hong Kong, on Amazon and at Blacksmith Books.


  1. I recently went to Nikko as well and stayed at a ryokan. Reading your story took me back to my happy trip!

  2. oh...
    i miss the hotsprings in tochigi too...
    its been abt 10yrs since i last went there too.
    i miss the food most !!!!

  3. nikko seems like a wicked place to visit.
    have you visited takayama? also a hidden gem.
    you can stay in a grass hut from the edo period and also have onsen!

  4. Akmy,

    I have always wanted to visit Takayama. One of my all-time favorite NHK soap operas "Sakura," starring Takano Shiho 高野志穂, was filmed on location there. You should try to get your hands on the DVDs.

    I will definitely make it a point to pay it a visit on my next Japan trip!


  5. I would sure love to visit that place, after reading your article.

  6. You should! Nikko consists of a few towns. Kinugawa is one, but there are several others worth exploring as well.

  7. I miss Japanese Food... So Fresh from the ocean