Soothe Your Body and Calm Your Mind at Nikkozan Onsenji Temple

Venture off Nikko’s beaten path to Nikkozan Onsenji Temple, a secluded Buddhist temple tucked away in the Okunikko area of Nikko National Park. As its name suggests, the temple has on-site hot springs (onsen) open to the public, which draw water from the same springs that supply nearby Yumoto Onsen hot spring resort. After a relaxing soak, try your hand at shakyo, the practice of copying Buddhist sutras (ancient scriptures), for a moment of quiet contemplation that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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In search of breathtaking views

The tour of Lake Chuzenji begins with a walk past the British and Italian Embassy Villa Memorial Parks and then through a quiet forest of Japanese beech and other deciduous trees. In summer, you will be enveloped in a tunnel of luxuriant green leaves. In autumn, walk through striking red, orange and gold foliage. Along the way, learn about Nikko’s rich history, culture and nature from your guide. The lake trail is mostly flat, and although it takes about an hour to the lakeside destination, it will seem like no time. Before starting the rafting component of the tour, take some time to relax and enjoy the views. From this vantage point on the lakeshore, you will get a great view of Mt. Nantai. After a short break, it is time to inflate your packraft.

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Floating on Lake Chuzenji

The packraft is a light, durable, single-seater boat that is easy to assemble and maneuver, and difficult to capsize. After assembling your raft and receiving a brief lesson on how to paddle and steer, you can explore the lake. Enjoy complete freedom while floating on the lake with a dynamic 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape. Peer down through the clear water at the lakebed several meters below, discover various water plants, and enjoy the shimmering surface of the lake with views of Mt. Nantai. Sit back, relax, and take in the sights and sounds of Okunikko's abundant nature—the mountains, the forest, the chirping of birds, and the sound of the leaves rustling in the breeze.

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More about the tour

On this one-of-a-kind small-group tour, you can enjoy the adventure with complete peace of mind. All of the equipment is provided, beginners are welcome, and families can enjoy the experience, too. The tour is open to elementary school students and older (elementary and junior high school students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). The tour is available in summer and autumn, from June to July and September to late November. After the tour, a hot spring bath at Chuzenji Onsen is the perfect way to ease your tired muscles.

Areas of Nikko