Lake Chuzenji near Nikko
Irohazaka Winding Road To Lake Chuzenji
Lake Chuzenji With Mt. Nantai In The Background
Lake Chuzenji Kegon Waterfall
Lake Chuzenji Kegon Waterfall
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Facts & Figures
Lake Chuzenji (Chuzenjiko) belongs to the Nikko Nationalpark. The scenic lake in the mountains has a circumference of 25 km and a surface area of 11.62 km². The deepest spot in the water reaches 163m. With an altitude of 1269m it is also the highest natural lake in Japan. The whole scenery with the Mt. Nantai and Kegon Falls nearby is incredibly beautiful. The most popular time for a visit is during autumn (October), when the fall colors paint the whole area in red, orange and yellow. Follow the hiking trails around the lake and take your time to explore the Chuzenjiko Onsen, Nikko Natural Science Museum and Chuzenji Temple. If you have time rent a boat and spend some relaxing moments on the lake. It is also possible to do a sightseeing boat cruise (hourly) from April till November.
My tips for local activities
How about exploring Nikko and Lake Chuzenji with a local guide. Check out this page > for more tour details.
Lake Chuzenji came into existence when lava flows from the 2486m high Mount Nantai blocked the Daiya River. This all happened approx. 20000 years ago. The only exit of the lake are the Kegon Falls. Lake Chuzenji was a very popular destination in the 19th and 20th centuries for foreigners and embassies to escape the humid summer climate in the big cities. You can find many villas along its shoreline from that era.
Sightseeing spots at Lake Chuzenji and nearby
Kegon Falls (Kegon no taki) - The falls belong to the top three of the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. It is with 97m one of the highest in Japan. It is really an impressive sight. Read more >
Ryuzu Waterfall - The waterfall is located at the northern part of Lake Chuzenji, where the Yukawa River flows into the lake.
Chuzenjiko Onsen - The small town is a tourist hotspot with restaurants, hotels and ryokans. It is located at the eastern part of the lake near Mt. Nantai.
Nikko Natural Science Museum - The museum is a great place to find out more about the natural history of this area.
Chuzenji Tachiki-kannon Temple - The temple houses a 6m tall wooden Kannon statue (Buddhist Goddess of Mercy) from the 8th century.
Futarasan Shrine - It is the second of three Futarasan Shrines in Nikko. More details about the first or main shrine in downtown Nikko can be found here. The third one is located on top of Mt. Nantai.
Mount Nantai - The 2486m high mountain is a hiking paradise and the view from the top after a 3,5hrs climb is worth the sweat:)
Irohazaka Winding Road (Iroha Slope) To Lake Chuzenji - I took this road from Nikko and the scenery, especially during autumn, was amazing. Before you reach the lake there are 48 turns and 400m altitude difference to conquer:) Each curve has a number and a Japanese hiragana letter assigned. 48 curves = the total amount of hiragana letters in the alphabet.
Akechidaira Observatory - Go there if you want to have the best panoramic view of Lake Chuzenji and the Kegon Falls. The Akechidaira Plateau can be reached via ropeway.
Villa for Italian Embassy - Have you ever been interested in the way how an Italian Ambassador in Japan has spent his summer time in the past? This place will answer your question:)
Villa for British Embassy - It was the summer residence of a well-known British diplomat with the name Ernest Satow (1843 - 1929).
Festival & Events in Nikko (dates can change without notice)
Toshogu Shrine Grand Festival (17th - 18th)
The most important annual festival in Nikko includes a horesback archery and a procession of 1000 warriors. The festival is a re-enactment of the funeral procession of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo (Tokyo).
Toshogu Shrine Autumn Festival (16th - 17th)
Is an repetition of the festival in May.
Where to stay in Nikko?
My 100 Best Moments in Japan
I have visited Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.
Find out more >
Books about Japan
Reading books is a great source of inspiration for me. Check out my recommended list of books about the fascinating country Japan.
My Book recommendations >