Hiking Nikko’s Lake Yunoko
Before September comes to an end, I would like to share with you one of my best summer experiences this year–my family hiking the calm and serene Lake Yunoko. Located in Oku-Nikko up in the mountains in Nikko City and a few minutes drive from the bigger Lake Chuzenji. This lake is a 3km round lovely lake which you can do a round trip hike for about an hour.
In my previous blog article, we had an enjoyable summer camp with the kids, and one of the plans that we love to do is to hike this small lake rich in natural beauty. As I was searching online about what it’s like to explore this place, it caught my interest immediately, and added this activity to my things-to-do list.
A VERY EASY HIKING COURSE
To hike Lake Yunoko is very easy even for those who are beginners and have no experience in hiking. The trail started near Kyukamura Nikko-Yumoto hotel where you can also see the Nikko-Yumoto rest house and a nearby boat station where some people do fishing. The starting point has a signboard with information and trivia questions for the hikers. A wooden footpath makes your hiking comfortable as you go on towards the wooden observation deck.
Along the way, you will find more signboards about the lake’s flora and fauna and of course, another trivia question! It’s a great method of learning science, especially for school-aged children. It is interesting to know that exotic animals also lived here peacefully. My son even discovered a deer’s footprints as we passed through a conifer forest. It was raining at that time and the forest protects us from being soaked in the rain.
THE BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF LAKE YUNOKO
As we hike along the innermost lake, it was really quiet and tranquil, similar to a postcard picture. The fog has set in and we discovered a fallen tree with its roots and branches still. The ground was soft and the landscape changes as we approached a river, with its rushing water breaking the silence of the lake. Little did I know that the rushing river leads to Yudaki Falls, one of Nikko’s scenic spots frequently visited by tourists. We crossed a wooden bridge towards the observatory platform of the falls. It was one of the best places I’ve ever visited here in Japan.
THE EAST SIDE OF THE LAKE
After viewing the top of Yudaki Falls, we proceeded to hike the east side of the lake parallel to Route 120, and this time we could hear car noise and see those cars passing by. I could feel some sort of city vibes in this area because of the noise. Walking continuously, the trail leads us to another beautiful area of the lake similar to a rainforest garden. I grab the chance to be alone at the moment, letting my kids go on with their hike and feel the natural surroundings with all my five senses. It was a sight to behold as the drizzle adds beauty to the trees and leaves in the area.
We continued our hike and we almost reached our goal. We passed by Yumoto spa, known to be a hot natural spring. The smell of rotten eggs and steam in this area of the lake is strong and I think, the water might be hot or lukewarm. I wasn’t sure though but I saw a fisherman casting his line and I think if the fishes survive here. I really don’t know.
There are two footways to choose past the hot spring, one is near the road and one is in the marshland with tall grasses. I choose the latter because I find it more exciting and adventurous although I was quite terrified of walking alone among tall grasses. But in the end, my bravery was rewarded and I reached the goal!
Overall, it was an amazing hike and I was recharged physically and mentally. To be able to soak in nature where time passes by so slowly.
Be sure to watch my video on Youtube to see more of our hike.