A Travellerspoint blog

Snowy Nikko

View Coronavirus 2020 on baixing's travel map.

Jan 27, 2020
Toshi’s mom was very worried about me taking the train by myself. She took a giant piece of paper and wrote every step of the directions to my next destination in Japanese for me. I was going to Nikko to see a famous temple and bathe in the natural spring onsen. She also gave me at least 3 pamphlets from the train company written in Japanese. I was about to walk to the train station but Toshi’s dad made me get into his car. He said good bye and despite all their worry, he left me on the wrong side of the tracks. I almost got on the train going in the wrong direction.

I thought that the bus would be easier because I checked Google maps for the directions, but it ended up being kind of a mess. The bus dropped me off at another train station. It was only one or two stops to Nikko from there. However, the ticket seller only saw a white lady and sold me the most expensive ticket, of course. But I didn’t know what I was buying because it came off of my Pasmo (debit) card. I don’t know what happened, I thought I tapped on, but when I got to Nikko, they told me to give them more money! I was so confused and angry, I just ran away.

My hostel was across the street from the train station but no one was there to check anyone in. It was freezing and the lobby was not much warmer than outside. I didn’t know what else to do so I sat down and worked on my next assignment in Tokyo. When the hostel manager finally showed up he pretended not to see me, I had to beg him for bed. After a strange conversation, I finally figured out that there was one bed available for the night. I took a shower and put my stuff down. There was a guy from France who hardly spoke any English. I tried to talk with him for a bit and he was so patient with my horrible French it was hilarious. He wanted to know if there were any onsen nearby and I told him I didn’t know. When I went to the tourist information centre, I remembered his idea. I asked if there were any onsen nearby. The tourism agent had already given me about 10 maps and pamphlets for things I didn’t ask for. She became really excited and told me that there was a special promotion for foreigners. There were about 30 free onsen in town and in other towns nearby this month. If I had never met the French guy, I wouldn’t have asked and wouldn’t have known about the free onsen!
I got back to the hostel and showed him all the free onsen. He was really excited. I went out to get more sushi and takoyaki (squid balls).


I had a leisurely dinner by myself because the french guy met a Japanese motorcycle gang leader and left with him. Then an American lady came with her Spanish boyfriend. He had left his international driver’s licence on the table in the shared kitchen. I had already started to look for him on Facebook, in case he was gone. So, when they walked in, I recognized him and gave him his licence back. He didn’t seem to care, he just said, “I leave everything everywhere”, and I found out later this was true. His junk was all over the common areas all the time. At first I made friends with the American lady. We went to the free onsen together and some German people we already met were also there. They had already found out the ancient Japanese free onsen secret. I thought I was special.

Jan. 28, 2020

I woke up early and went to the Tosho Temple. It was snowing a lot and the snow was really heavy, wet and horrible but I got there before the crowds. I walked around in the snow until I was sick of it and my feet were freezing and soaked right through.


Luckily there was a free onsen nearby at a 5 star hotel. I showed them the pamphlet I got yesterday and they let me right in. You could sit in a small wooden tub with 2 other old Japanese ladies outside in the snow...fantastic. At least my feet were warm and clean again. I stayed there for a while and ate my snacks of oranges and nuts afterward.

I went back to the hostel and the french guy told me all about his party with the motorcycle gang. I tried my best to speak french to him. The american woman, Aleasha was listening. Apparently my french was causing her mental anguish. I went to bed and I heard her say “Are they finished? That was the worst french I ever heard.” I said from behind my hostel bed curtain, “That was my french Aleasha” she didn’t reply. Later I heard her trying to force the french guy to speak english to her because she didn’t speak a word. Goodbye Aleasha.

Posted by baixing 12:09 Archived in Japan Tagged nikko

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.