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Explore Nikko: Lake Chuzenji

Lake Chuzenji (Chuzenjiko) is a wonderful lake with forested shores at the foot of the sacred volcano Mount Nantai in Okunikko ("Inner Nikko"). The cause of the existence of this lake was due to the flows of the now extinct volcano several thousand years ago. It is part of Nikko National Park.

"Irohazaka Winding Road" is the way-in to Lake Chuzenji and the inside regions of the national park. The way ascends more than 400 meters in altitude and is known as "Iroha", because the original way had 48 needle point curves, and this numeral is the equivalent number as there are letters in the Japanese syllabary, formerly known as "iroha". There are separate ways for uphill and downhill traffic.

Chuzenji Onsen, a vacationer hot spring resort, is situated at the top of the Irohazaka road, at the Eastern end of the lake. The resort's most current attraction is the Kegon-no-taki, a spectacular, 97 meter high cascade. The base of the cascade can be accessed via an elevator.

An excellent panoramic view of the Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji can be appreciated from the Akechidaira Plateau, which is available via a ropeway or on foot. To take the ropeway, get away at the Akechidaira bus stop, one stop before Chuzenji Onsen (served only by buses heading in direction of Chuzenji Onsen).

At the resort's edge is situated the second of the three Futarasan Shrines (the principal shrine places in central Nikko and the third on the summit of Mount Nantai). The path to the summit of Mount Nantai commences from the shrine grounds. There is also a treasure house which exhibits some impressive swords.

A few meters upriver from the confluence of Yukawa River into Lake Chuzenji, the Ryuzu Falls boom, another group of spectacular waterfalls, peculiarly nice during the autumn leaf season, which normally reaches its peak in early to mid October.

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