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.
Enjoy Nikko’s natural beauty
Stroll a section of Nikko Suginamiki Kaido (Nikko Cedar Avenue), lined with towering cedar trees, for the ultimate immersion in Nikko’s nature. The avenue extends 35 kilometers to the World Heritage Shrines and Temples of Nikko. Nikko Suginamiki Koen Park surrounds and protects Nikko Suginamiki Kaido, and features an old-fashioned water mill once used in the production of cedar incense sticks. Enjoy seasonal flowers, including Japanese primrose at Senjugahama Beach on Lake Chuzenji (June), and the bright yellow Nikko kisuge, a type of daylily, at Kirifuri Highland (late June–early July). Rafting and canyoning on the Kinugawa River provide hours of fun and an adventurous way to escape the heat. For an even greater physical challenge, hike up Mt. Nikko-Shirane (2,578 m) for panoramic views of Lake Chuzenji and Mt. Nantai, while enjoying the cooler air at high altitudes.