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.
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.