Another day in Nikko

Dear Elliot, Emmala and Eliza,

We are staying in a traditional hotel up in the mountains not far from Nikko. It is very interesting. There are bamboo mats on the floor and we take off our shoes and wear sandals when we are in our room. Our room also comes with robes that we wear sometimes in the evening. It also has a table with the legs so short that you sit on the floor when you sit at the table. Another thing that being here means is that the Internet connection isn't fast enough to upload the blog, so you won't get to read about our days here until we get back to Rachel and Mike's house tomorrow evening. Of course when it is evening here, it is the middle of the night there, so you can read it sometime when your folks have time to look at it with you.

Today we went to the famous Toshougu Shrine. It is a national treasure of Japan with many temples, shrines, a five-story pagoda, a famous gate and much more. One thing about this shrine is that it has a very famous building with panels that tell stories of the life of a monkey. One panel has three monkeys. One has its ears covered. Another has its mouth covered. And the third has its eyes covered. Its story says that to be good, little monkeys must learn to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. I took a picture of some of our friends making faces in front of the building where the monkey pictures are. We saw wild monkeys alongside the road as we were driving in the mountains.

We also went to a Japanese National Park where there is a very famous waterfall. Kegon Falls is very high and very famous. It is another thing about Nikko that people in Japan like. One thing that was interesting about this waterfall is that they have an elevator that goes from a place near the top of the falls down 100 meters to a place near the bottom of the falls. The elevator is carved into the stone of the canyon. At the bottom, you have to walk out from inside of the rock. It is very cold and damp inside of the mountain, but soon you come out into the bright sunshine. Then we got to ride the elevator back up to the top after we were done looking at the bottom of the falls.

In the late afternoon we got to ride on another type of train. In Japan we have traveled on super-modern and super-fast trains, but today we traveled on a train pulled by a steam locomotive. The route was through a very beautiful part of the mountains from Imiachi to Kinugawa, where our motel is. We were sad to have to say good bye to Masami and her family. They were wonderful hosts. Now it is time for us to move on to the next adventure.

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