Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dec 31 - 華厳の滝、戦場ヶ原

Breakfast started at 8am. The following picture was taken from the dining room.

It was the same feeling when I woke up in Yosemite in the morning. Fresh air, with mountain ranges seemingly roamed by heavenly spirits (mind my English, I want to say 靈氣 in Chinese).

Here's what they were serving this morning.

While I was enjoying the breakfast, I saw the following.

The first item says, I think, the various sake, wine, pickles etc. that are served during dinner are available for sale. The next item says, I think, that you can also buy various homemade cheese cakes as souvenirs. What caught my attention was the last item. It says they have rice ball bento (2 rice balls) for tomorrow Jan 1st. And so I ordered one at the front desk. I'll see how it goes.

The first spot I went to was Kegon Waterfall (華厳の滝). It's a 30 minute bus ride from my hotel (so it's half way between my hotel and the train station). It's the most famous and grandest waterfall in Nikko. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I have two.

From above:

From below:

And finally, the author of this blog with the waterfall:

There was grilled fish outside one of the souvenir stores.

I was asked to choose between 2 kinds of fish, Iwana (岩魚) and Yamame (山女魚). I had the iwana. It was so delicious that I'd already taken a bite before I remembered to take a picture :)

The second spot was Senjougahara (戦場ヶ原). I took a picture yesterday while I was on the bus. Today, I have a much clearer shot, but the light and weather was less dramatic.

For some reasons, I loved this place so much that I spent the whole afternoon around this spot. In fact, they have a hiking trail into the field that I may take tomorrow. Hopefully, I will share these pictures later once I've selected and processed them (Well, I still haven't processed my pictures taken last year).

Before dinner, I entered the hot spring. Suddenly, I became conscious that this was the last day of 2011, and tomorrow will be 2012. If the rumor about the imminent apocalypse is true (Dec 21 next year, so I've heard), this will be my last winter vacation, and likely my last time in Japan!

OK. Let's get back to dinner. Here's tonight's menu:

Again, I'll try my best to translate.
1. Plum wine from Tochigi prefecture
2. New Year Eve tempura soba
3. Vegetables immersed in soy milk sauce, served in a pot
4. Rainbow trout from Lake Yu (湯ノ湖) (the lake is 5 minutes from the hotel), served with white wine and almond sauce
5. Japanese marbled beef steak
6. Homemade mille crepe cake
7. Coffee or black tea

Here's the whole view.

And here's the soy milk sauce pot with vegetables.

Half way through the meal, the manager came and showed me that I could mix the soy milk sauce with rice. It's super delicious!

Finally, the mille crepe cake.

It's the last day of 2011, and I am watching the Red vs. White Concert on TV while writing this blog. Unlike last year, I have no plan to go the temple or ginja at mid-night tonight. I'm relying on everybody else to pray for no apocalypse next year :)

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