Nikko, an ethereal small town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a peaceful retreat from the intimidating capital and was my first foray into “mysterious” Japan.
"Ancient moss clinging to a stone wall; rows of perfectly aligned stone lanterns; vermilion gates; and towering cedars: this is only a pathway in Nikko, a sanctuary that enshrines the glories of the Edo period (1600–1868). Scattered among hilly woodlands, Nikko is one of Japan’s major attractions."
The trip from Tokyo takes approximately 2 hours by Japan Railways depending upon how well you time your connection.
When you arrive at the Nikko train station, head right and walk approximately one mile down the city’s quaint main street to the Shinkyo Bridge (it’s difficult to miss) which was built in 1636. Steps leading to the shrines are across the street.