Japan: Nikkō and Zen「日光・禅」

Zen Hostel

It is actually my most anticipated stay throughout my travel in Japan. Having read the blogs, reviews, introductions of Zen hostel and Nikkō, I couldn't stop telling YN about my expectations before we went to Japan and even when we were in Tokyo.

We communicated using Viber, Scout, the owner of the Zen Hostel and me, to let him know which train I was taking. It had been a hassle-free arrangement, I arrived at Shimo-goshiro station(下小代駅)from Tokyo and he was already there waiting for me at the platform. Well, I had been wondering if Scout was an old Japanese that went abroad for work and then retired now, operating a hostel as pastime to meet people from all around the world. Turned out, he is a Caucassian! How rare in Japan!

We arrived at the hostel, after passing by village houses and winding roads. The hostel is definitely as described, very remote... However, this was what I had been looking forward to! As promised, Kurokawa(黒川)river was there flowing right beside the hostel!

Local, fishing

Staring at Kurokawa and the clarity of the water, I was seriously amazed. It started to drizzle, and Scout told me it hadn't been raining for weeks and he looked so glad to have the rain coming down. Since I was not going anywhere, I might as well take out the goggles and shorts, prepare to wade into the river!


Being on my own, I have no one to take picture for me, therefore I might as well use my iPhone and take a picture. My friends were even amazed (LOL) at how I was able to use the self timer of the iPhone in order to capture the atmosphere. After all, holding the camera on my hand to take picture of myself was not able to compose much.

A swim in the Kurokawa

Despite the drizzles, the water was cold and refreshing, and I was able to stay inside for about 10 minutes before the chill started to get into me.

Then I started to go wild with Scout's bicycle in Minami-Okorogawa.

In the morning, when the weather was good, Kurokawa sparkled in the sunlight. It was really too hard not to look away and not to admire the beauty of the river. Not to mention about another dip into the crystal clear water. Swam with fishes, yeah, literally, I saw some small Sakanas swimming in the water.

Kurokawa & Zen Hostel

Feel like a fish


Sparkling river


After another dip

Ahhh... Total number of swims in Kurokawa: 3. That's 3 out of 3 nights while I was there. The river was simply irresistible.

Back to the Zen Hostel. Interesting history about this hostel, it was once an Onsen club house. Scout cleverly turned the Onsen area into one of the biggest shared bathrooms I have ever seen. I stayed in the only common room of the hostel. Tatami, and Futon, the Japanese style.



They offer dinner option too. Dinner? 1000 yen pizza, totally worth it. Surprisingly Scout is very good in cooking. The pizza was amazingly well made, generously topped with vegetables and mushrooms from the local farm. Breakfasts? Again, all of us, the guests were surprised by how delicious they were.



glen said…
This place looks amazing. I've never been able to make it to Nikko in previous trips, but I can already begin to sense how peaceful and beautiful the atmosphere would be. Glad you enjoyed your solo trip!
Anonymous said…
It's a great post with nice photographs, the best photograph I've seen online of the pizza.

Jenn Clayvon. said…
Was it a budget stay? : )
Kanki said…
Yup, it was a budget stay but the experience was good. Besides the Japanese countryside, and river experience, the host made really nice pizza and breakfast!

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