In the historic, culturally rich, and breathtakingly scenic region of Nikko/Kinugawa Onsen, about two hours north of Tokyo via the TOBU railway, nature-oriented travelers should make time to experience spectacular Lake Chuzenji in the mountains just above Nikko’s UNESCO World Heritage temples and shrines travelers shouldn’t miss. At 163 metres (535 feet) deep and 1,165 hectares (4½ square miles), Chuzenji-ko is also the highest lake in Japan – 1,269 metres (4,163 feet) above sea level, receiving its water from the Yukawa River and draining through the spectacular Kegon Falls.
Now in their second season, Nantai cruises operate through November 30, then resume in April for cherry-blossom viewing, and continue through next summer and autumn.
The new excursion boat Nantai is taking travelers around the lake, showing off golden-and-crimson foliage in fall, otherwise pink-and-white cherry blossoms, pink-and-fuchsia Japanese primroses, and dense greenery. These seasonal displays of nature blanket sacred Mt. Nantai, whose eruptions created Lake Chuzenji at its foot nearly 20,000 years ago.
Boats depart Chuzenji Station from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, with stops including the port of Shobugahama and Tachikikannon site of the 1,300-year-old Chuzenji Temple.
Fees for the 55-minute circle course are: 1,250 yen for adults, ¥1250 for junior high school students, and ¥630 for elementary-school students. Group rates are also available, with a special private room for ¥4000. The eco-friendly ship is equipped with solar-power generators, as well as complimentary WiFi for those visitors excited to post photos on the spot.