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.
Nikkozan Onsenji Temple
At Nikkozan Onsenji Temple, you can relax both your body and mind with a hot-spring bath and the meditative practice of shakyo. The temple is an annex of Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site located in central Nikko. Nikkozan Onsenji’s history dates back to the 8th century, when Shodo Shonin, a great Buddhist monk who lived during the Nara (710–784) and Heian (794–1185) periods, is said to have discovered the hot springs now known as Yumoto Onsen. Yakushi Ruriko Nyorai, the Buddha of Healing, is the principal figure of worship at the temple. Nikkozan Onsenji Temple is about a 25-minute drive or bus ride from Lake Chuzenji’s bus terminal.