We visit Mashiko village outskirt of Utsunomiya, capital of Tochigi prefecture. Making Mashiko famous is Hamada Shoji after he moved to Mashiko. Mas...
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JR Utsunomiya station
Hamada Shoji Memorial Mashiko Sankokan Museum
Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art
Jonaizaka (Kyohan center and Mashiko ware shops)
Higeta Indigo Dye Studio
Cafe lunch in the bush setting
Saimyoji Temple (Statue of Laughing King of Hell)
JR Utsunomiya station
We visit Mashiko village outskirt of Utsunomiya, capital of Tochigi prefecture. Making Mashiko famous is Hamada Shoji after he moved to Mashiko. Mashiko ware was for daily use ceramics like pots, plates as such. Therefore it was not really an art, initially but since Hamada Shoji settled in this village, ｐractical utility and artistic beauty combine to make us comfortable life. Now Mashiko village accept a lot of artists from other area. Actually not only artists but entrepreneurs. You can enjoy nice Cafes in Mashiko. You can enjoy cups, plates using Mashiko ware and food itself is superb. So we visit this town and see museums and shops and also indigo dye factory. In Saimyoji temple, we can see a laughing King of Hell statue.
Admission fees (Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art 600 yen, Hamada Shoji Memorial Mashiko Sankokan Museum 800 yen)
Lunch at Cafe (own expense)
Jack was a wonderful tour guide. We spent the day with him in Nikko. It was interesting, fun, and even delicious. He picked a wonderful spot for lunch on top of creating a beautifully-paced itinerary for the day. He was knowledgeable, friendly, and responsive. I recommend very highly!
Hello Jessica, thank you for your nice comment. I really enjoyed the day with Patrick, Katherine and of course you, Jessica. Kind regards, Jack
My husband and I had the best day trip at Nikko, thanks to Jack's excellent recommendation of places to visit and his impeccable timing. When we first contacted him, we specified that we wanted to enjoy Nikko's nature, and not so much the shrines as we have been to many in Tokyo and Kyoto. He suggested a route which we agreed upon and off we went. We started our day-tour driving through Cedar Avenue which is lined on both sides with ancient cedars and is the longest tree-lined avenue in the world. If you like trees, you must visit this avenue. The ancient cedars are truly majestic! From there we proceeded up the beautiful Irohazaka slopes towards Lake Chuzenji. The Irohazaka slopes have 48 hairpin bends in total! (20 hairpin bends going up and 28 hairpin bends going down). It was drizzling lightly but Jack managed to drive us up and down Irohazaka slopes confidently and safely. At Lake Chuzenji, we stopped to take pictures of the gorgeous autumn landscape surrounding it and Mount Nantai. We didn’t have time to take a cruise. We then proceeded up to the highest lake, Lake Yunoko, where the raging and spectacular hot waterfall, Yudaki Falls is. We spent some time at the bottom and at the top of the falls admiring its beauty and taking some gorgeous photos of the bright orange and yellow autumn foliage framing the falls. We didn’t have time to have tea and grilled fish on sticks at the shop near the bottom of the falls. We then drove around the lake near the Yumoto hot spring resort. We saw soft billowing steam gently skimming the top of the lake here and noticed a pungent sulphur smell. Next we went to Ryuzu Falls. Although much smaller, it was beautiful nonetheless. We were there briefly before we proceeded to the magnificent Kegon Falls. We spent some time there, first at the top of the falls, and then at the bottom of the falls via the elevator that takes you about 100m down to the foot of the falls. Next, we visited the famous Toshogu Shrine, a 400 year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be warned! There’s like a thousand steps up and down the shrine. Also, at some places within the shrine you will have to take off your shoes. Jack’s knowledge of the shrine was incredible. He is like a historian who knows everything there is to know about the shrine. Last but least, we stopped at Kanmangafuchi Gorge, a gorge formed by lava from the eruption of Mt Nantai 7,000 years ago. You can see that the rocks were once a river of molten lava which stopped in its tracks when it cooled down. Stunning! Then it was time to head back to Utsunomiya Station where he picked us up from earlier in the morning, to take our Shinkansen train back to Tokyo. We had originally planned to stay a night at Nikko but we couldn’t alter our hotel arrangement in Tokyo. Nikko is definitely a place you would need to spend a few days to enjoy it fully. Our day trip was more like a discovery trip and we would really like to come back again. Jack has been a wonderful and knowledgeable guide. His recommended route was unique and fulfilled all our requirements given the time we have. Jack even managed to drive us to the Oya Stone Museum just so we will not miss seeing the natural wonder of oya stones around the area. We didn’t have time to visit the museum as we had other places to visit. The itinerary was better than any that I have come across when researching for this trip. It was the best! Thank you Jack for a wonderful day. Hope to see you again.
Hi Nora, Thank you for your nice comment. I have been very busy this autumn season but it is almost end. Hope you had a good time all experience while you were here in Japan. I'd like to see your couple near future. Kind regards, Jack
My second day in Japon! Jack was very helpfull to make me understand a lot of things, about food, sake, religiion, local history, potters, etc It has been very efficient to make me visit Ceramique museums, shops, temple, historical houses of Hamada, in one day! Thanks to Jack
Thank you, Dominique. I had a good time with you yesterday. Enjoy Kasama and it's ceramics!
Jack’s knowledge of Japanese history and wonderful Nikko National Park is deep and interesting. He was eager to share his love of the subjects with our foursome on his Greedy Nikko Tour. While the weather was not the best – low visibility hid famous Kegon Falls from sight – we thoroughly enjoyed our drive with its hairpin turns, walks through woods, and views of other waterfalls, the hot springs, etc. Jack’s expertise shone at magnificent Toshu-gu Shrine. He guided us through the spacious site with its multiple buildings and crowds, pointed out and explained many features and details, and easily answered all our questions. His English is very good, and his manner attentive and kind. We would definitely hire Jack again.
Hi Linda, Thank you very much for your comments. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with you. Looking forward to seeing you next time you are in Japan. Kind regards, Jack