In the afternoon I took a bus out to Lake Chuzenji, which is about six miles west of Nikko, higher up into the mountains. I got off the bus at the Ryuzu Waterfalls stop and got some photos of the falls before walking down to the north shore of the lake. There’s a hiking trail that goes all the way around the lake and if I had arrived there earlier in the day I might have tried to do a full circuit but since I clearly didn’t have time for that I instead decided to walk the north shore to the town of Chuzenjiko Onsen at the lake’s east end.
It was cool, cloudy day at the lake. Aside from the sound of the occasional car passing by on the nearby road I only head the sounds of nature as I slowly walked the trail. Hardly anyone else was out at the lake that day, with the most notable people sighting being a small team I came across that were operating a drone flying over the lake. Every minute or two I found myself stopping for a photo, which no doubt made my walk take much longer than it normally would have. After the five days I had spent in the crowds and bustle of Tokyo, the quiet and emptiness of Chuzenji was very much appreciated. Just a little before I reached Chuzenjiko Onsen I came across Futarasan Shrine (not to be confused with the shrine in Nikko that has the same name). The shrine is at the bottom of the trail that leads up Mount Nantai, and apparently at the top of the mountain is another Futarasan Shrine. When I got to Chuzenjiko Onsen the sun was setting and I found my way to the town’s bus station where I then waited for the bus back to Nikko. Even though I didn’t spend as much time at Lake Chuzenji as I would have liked it was still a really good day trip and I’ll be sure to get out there again when I’m in Nikko next month.