NIKKO, JAPAN’S MAGNIFICENT LAKES
During the summer of 2021, my family decided to visit Nikko City in Japan for the second time. Our usual travel plans overseas are once again put on hold because of the pandemic. And as we are choosing which place to go which are not crowded, we consider the summer’s humidity as well. That’s why we choose Japan’s top tourist destination Nikko City once again for its mild summers and picturesque surroundings.
Our trip to Nikko is not complete without visiting the city’s magnificent lakes located in Okunikko–the center of Nikko National Park. The most popular is Lake Chuzenji which is located at an altitude of 1,269 meters. It was formed during the eruption of Mt.Nantai about 20,000years ago. During the 19th and 20th centuries, it was a popular summer resort for villas owned by foreigners and embassies. The lake also has a 25-kilometer hiking trail along its perimeter and is a popular choice for summer activities. Things to do in Lake Chuzenji include boating, ferry boat rides, hiking, and picnics. The surrounding areas of Lake Chuzenji resemble a mountain city that is bustling with activities. There`s a lot of things to see and do including dining at the nearby sophisticated cafes or visiting museums that have interesting interiors and history.
Located on a higher altitude than Lake Chuzenji, about 30-minutes car ride is Lake Yunoko. This lake was formed when an eruption of Mt. Mitsudake dammed the Yugawa River. The surface elevation is 1,478 meters, making it higher than Lake Chuzenji. A one-hour hiking course around the lake allows visitors to enjoy a primeval forest of broadleaf and coniferous trees, wild birds, and seasonal flora. The peak season for colorful autumn foliage is from the end of September to the middle of October. Most visitors do fishing activities here or simply hike along the edge of the lake. During August, the average temperature on the lakes surrounding areas is 18 degrees Celsius, so it is recommended to bring along a jacket and wear trousers to warm the body.
The surrounding areas of Lake Yunoko have a festive atmosphere. It is a great place for camping, picnics, staycations, and hot springs. One of the recommended places to try is the Anyonoyu foot bath which is absolutely free and a great place to relax your tired feet.
We stayed overnight at Senjogahara and woke up to the beautiful sight of Mt. Nantai in the morning. We ended our trip with a visit to Central Nikko. It was indeed a memorable vacation especially for children to experience nature and beautiful bodies of water.
Aside from the lakes, there are more natural sights to experience in Nikko. Its magnificent waterfalls are truly captivating and shouldn’t be missed. I will feature it here in my next travel article. I highly recommend places to visit such as Nikko because of its abundance in nature and lesser crowds. Great getaway during the pandemic.