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Lake Chuzenji

Situated at the foot of Mount Nantai, is Lake Chuzenji, a scenic lake that’s arguably one of Nikko’s most breathtaking natural sites. Originally the lake was formed from an eruption by Mount Nantai, almost 20,000 years ago. To this day the surrounding areas of the lake feel relatively untouched except for the eastern end of the lake where Chuzenji Onsen, a small hot spring town was built. From hiking and exploring to relaxing in one of the local hot springs, Chuzenji and its neighboring area boasts a lot of options for those wanting to spend a day in this naturally stunning area.

  • Lake Chuzenji

    Lake Chuzenji

    The name Mount Nantai literally translates to "man's body mountain” however it also goes by the name Futara-san. An iconic Nikko landmark, the 2,486 meter high mountain towers high over the lake and surrounding areas that are visible as far as the Pacific coast 100 km away on a clear day. Incredibly popular with hikers and mountain climbers, Nantai is home to a network of trekking paths of varying degrees of difficulty. If you want to hit the top, the trail to the summit begins through a gate at Futarasan Shrine's Chugushi, aka its middle shrine. The gate is open to the public from the 5th of May until late October when the weather provides safe climbing conditions.

    Lake Chuzenji

    Lake Chuzenji

    Technically to this day the mountain is still considered ‘active’, a title it was given in September 2008, when the Japan Meteorological Agency assessed Nantai’s status following research by Toyama University. However evidence shows that the last eruption occurred around 7,000 years ago. If that doesn’t deter you from visiting the mountain (and it shouldn’t) then you’re in for a pretty incredible sightseeing experience. Make your way up to the lake lookout point, at Hangetsuyama, a mountain at the south-eastern corner. From this vantage point you can get a full view of Mount Nantai in all of its panoramic glory. Ideally the best time of the year to get there is during koyo (autumn) season in October and November when the Lake, Mount Nantai and its surrounding forests transform from a lush green to fiery shades of gold, orange and red.

    Lake Chuzenji

    Lake Chuzenji

    Standing tall on the eastern bank of Lake Chuzenji sits Chuzenji Temple, a stunning building that houses a six meter tall statue of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. What’s special about this statue in particular is the fact that it was carved from a tree that is still standing today. When you’re at the temple grounds take some time to explore the temple’s incredible giant painting of a white dragon, which was created by the same artist who painted the "Crying Dragon" at neighboring Toshogu Shrine.

    Lake Chuzenji

    Lake Chuzenji

    Given that it’s one of the city’s major tourist hotspots Chuzenji Onsen is very well connected via public transport. If you’re travelling by public transport you can catch one of the city’s regular Tobu buses from Nikko station. Hop on one of the buses bound for Chuzenji Onsen or Yumoto Onsen, which run roughly three times per hour. From Tobu Nikko Station the trip takes around 50 minutes and costs 1,150 yen each way. If you purchase a Nikko day pass, a special ticket offered by Tobu Railway for those visiting Nikko, the journey will be covered by that. Also if you plan on staying longer you can purchase a two-day pass from Tobu Nikko Station. The pass offers unlimited bus rides between Nikko and Chuzenji Onsen and costs 2,000 yen.

    Lake Chuzenji

    Lake Chuzenji

    Lake Chuzenji
    Address
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Chugushi
    Phone
    Mt. Nantai
    Address
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Chugushi
    Phone
    Futarasan Jinja Shrine
    Address
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Sannai 2307
    Phone
    0288540535
    Chuzentera Onsen
    Address
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Chugushi
    Phone
    0288221525
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