I want to travel to Japan.
Oh cherry blossom is April-May
But I want to travel in October, its my birthday
Lets google again
Oh lovely, its autumn time
Yay yay yay,
But wait, Japan’s autumn season starts in September, but it takes a good two months before it makes an appearance in places like Tokyo and Kyoto
The above conversation is what yours truly had with her own self. But, autumn has to be seen, experienced, loved and awed about. And when you desire something earnestly, the universe conspires.
My blessing came in the form of Nikko. Nikko, my love. I want to have a daughter, and name her nikko, no I want to have a daughter and name her autumn. Sorry, I digress, but I hope you get my crazy love for this place.
So here is how my Nikko love affair began. My flight tickets and hotel bookings were done- Tokyo, Mt fuji, Kyoto and back to Tokyo. But there was a small hitch, none of these places experience autumn in October or atleast in the first half. So, I consult travel bloggers- go to nikko they say, but not sure you will find autumn there too, they say. But anyways Nikko is beautiful, they say. It’s a risk, and I shall take it.
With that Tokyo’s three day trip was cut short to two days, and a last minute booking was made for a one night stay in Nikko. On the third day of my trip, I wake up early morning; take a 6.10 am train from Tokyo’s JR Uneo station to Nikko. Prayers are being made for some autumn viewing. Please please please. Let me see them.
As I set foot outside the JR Nikko station, it’s a nice rainy day at Nikko, with the air loaded with both- mist and a pleasant chill. Nikko looked beautiful and mesmerizing in that mist. But the leaves were green, no sight of autumn.
I reach my hostel at Nikko well before 9am and ask her for tips to go see the Ryuzu waterfall. According to intense research, that was the best spot to try my luck for autumn viewing. The staff directs me to the tourist desk at Tobu Nikko station for more details.
There I go happily, hoping to experience autumn. The lady at the desk politely informs me, it is a public holiday and we are expecting huge crowds, I suggest you drop plans for the waterfall. Go for the shrine, the lake and other spots. Oh no, why good lord why? She speaks in broken English and has now given up on constant requests to go see the waterfall. She directs me to an old man at another desk who knows English. God bless him with long life, happiness or whatever that he seeks. I was seeking autumn, and he understood it perfectly fine. Leave now, take the bus in the next ten minutes, go to the waterfall first and then cover up for the shrine and the lake later, the old man said. I was happy, elated, he looked like god to me. Finally, I was atleast heading to the waterfalls.
I board the tourist bus, which will take me to the waterfalls in 40 minutes. Thanks to sweet Mother Nature, it did not take me long to guess that I will be blessed today and lucky too. Autumn was mine to see. The rest of the world and my life can wait.
As the bus started ascending and moving up the hills, autumn was revealing its true beauty with a slow-paced grace. Divine things never hurry.
The autumn hues got brighter as the bus ascended. This was my life’s best bus ride, most part of which I took with my mouth wide open. The sight was beautiful, mesmerizing, spell binding, dreamy. Imagine a landscape covered with a mix of greens, orange, a few reds and yellows. And now imagine a layer of fog, giving the landscape a dreamy feel.
After a beautiful dream ride of 40 minutes, the moment of truth had arrived. The bus dropped us mid-road. I asked a fellow traveler, which way to the waterfalls. She directed me to a café, the view point for the waterfall is through the café. I enter, I walk a few steps and there it was greeting me with all its beauty. Two streams of pristine white waterfall flowing amid, autumn leaves. It could be any artist dream painting, a photographer's best click, but for the lesser mortal me- it was a pure high. If I was granted a wish and asked to imagine how my life should feel- Nikko I would say, each and every moment.
Chasing autumn in Japan is the second part of my new travel series on Japan- documenting the food, people, nature, beauty and culture in the land of the rising sun. The first part is called Vegetarian in Japan- for your sweet tooth.
Disclaimer: I often hear how people are inspired by various travel blogs and wish to pack their bags and go travel. If any of my blogs does the same to you, I request you to read up on what I think about travel and how to afford it responsibly.