Sometimes the side trip turns out to be more enjoyable than the main event. That was the case when I was in Japan up in the mountain town of Nikko. I had come there primarily to see the Toshogu Shrine and some of the other shrines and temples nearby it, and while I was there I had also planned to take the bus over to Lake Chuzenji. The Toshogu Shrine was great, as expected, but the real highlight for me of my time in Nikko was my short visit to the lake. I got off the bus at the Ryuzu Waterfalls just north of the lake and after taking some photos I made my way down to the shore.

After all the hustle and bustle of Tokyo it had been quite a change to come to the town of Nikko, and an even bigger change to be walking along a lake up in the mountains. If nothing else it was definitely the quietest part of my time in Japan. Though I could occasionally hear a car go by on the road, I saw hardly anyone while walking the trail around the lake, with the most notable sighting being that of a small group of people who were flying a drone. Birds chirped, waves gently lapped against the shore, and the breeze whistled through the trees. Since I had arrived in the mid-afternoon I didn’t have as much time at Lake Chuzenji as I would have liked, and being on the north side of the lake the sun was at times in a bad position for photos, but my visit was easily worth more than the price of the bus ticket I paid to get there. If I’m ever back in Nikko I’ll try to set aside most of a day to do a full circuit around Lake Chuzenji. It’s not what most people come to Nikko to see, but it’s something I’d recommend to anyone who’s in the area.

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