Second stop on this 2018 fall foliage Japenese adventure is NIKKO. This is a world heritage site. The first time I visited this town was on an art history and literature study abroad trip in 2012. It was a breathtaking experience so I went back during my sabbatical in February 2015 and saw this in a winter like atmosphere. I wanted to see it again during the autumn season totally forgetting the last time I wandered by there was construction. Low and behold a beautiful historic preservation of the gate. One of the most amazing thing I've ever seen.
Unlike previous visits, I decided to stay in this little town overnight. This meant I was able to get a good hike in to the neighborhood. What's fascinating about tourism is that the traffic was standstill all day until dusk starts to arrive. That's when you should walk around these towns even though the shops and restaurants close up for the day. What's wonderful is the crowds thin or disappear and you don't have to fight for a good vantage point.
Grateful I was able to see the foliage although past peak. The textures and the sculptures in the shrine are matched with the natural and built environment nearby. I really love the contrast between the glistening gold at the shrine and the wabi sabi industrial of the world outside.