Omikuji are fortune telling paper slips found at many shrines and temples. Randomly drawn, they contain predictions ranging from daikichi ("great good luck") to daikyo ("great bad luck"). By tying the piece of paper around a tree's branch, good fortune will come true or bad fortune can be averted.
You tend to see mostly young girls and ladies doing this.
I passed by this vegetable stall on the main road without a vendor. Basically you pick whatever you like, and deposit the money into the can to the right of the yellow container. The Japanese radish (daikon) in the middle are free!
Not sure if it is a permenant stall, but I saw this on the main road between the hostel that I stayed at (see accomodation page) and the sacred bridge.
Some shrines here belong to the holiest of Japan and one expects some more respectfull behaviour around them. Some tourists do not know how to behave in these places, but maybe it helps to know that among the places are burial-grounds. Let yourself not be a part of the noisious tourists.
Japanese language is one of the most complicated! Three types of characters. Anyway, here's some useful phrases to keep in mind in case you need help.
IN AN EMERGENCY:Help! Tas'kete!
Call the police Keisatsu o yonde kudasai!
Thank you Arigato gozaimasu
Excuse Me Sumimasen
I don't understand Wakarimasen
Do you speak English? Eigo o hanashimasuka?
How are you? Ogenki desu ka ?
Good morning Ohayo gozaimasu
Good afternoon Konnichiwa
Good evening Konbanwa
Good night Oyasumi nasai
Good bye Sayonara
May 17 & 18 and October 17 are particularly popular as rather elaborate festivals are held on these dates with omi koshi (carrying the Toshogu deity through the streets with a portable shrine) and hundreds of people parading in traditional costumes, which are stored at Toshogu Shrine. There is also a Nikko Ice and Snow Festival during the first two weeks of February near the Chuguji Shrine at Lake Chuzenji. Many ice sculptures are erected and there are fireworks and other daily events.
There is a Consumption tax of 5% on all goods purchased. This includes meals at restaurants and hotel charges. Overseas visitors are exempt from this tax on large purchases outside of hotels and restaurants. There are rebate counters in the larger stores. An additional 3% sales tax applies on hotel accounts over yen15,000 and restaurant bills over yen7,501 per person.
Do remember to remove your shoes before entering the temples. The locals are very polite if you forget, but it sure does get you a big smile if you remember.
Who cares if you have a hole in your sock, take it off as well :)
It is possible, although somewhat tight, to see all the main attractions in Nikko in one day through a guided tour from Tokyo. Tours usually operate from April - November.
Be sure to wear shoes that can be easily taken off. You need to remove your shoes visiting the insides of temples.
Japan is the virtual nonexistence of violent crime. If you leave your briefcase or camera in a taxi, often it will be returned before you realise it's missing.
A reminder that the electrical unit is 100V; 50 Hz (Tokyo and eastern Japan), 60 Hz (western Japan). Be sure to take whateve adapters you need incase they are not available at your hotel.