Lake Chuzenji – Tochigi | Travel Information


Lake Chuzenji, Tochigi Prefecture, is a small scenic lake located just outside the city of Nikko. The lake was naturally formed some 20,000 years ago following an eruption of the nearby Mt.Nantai, which blocked a nearby river, eventually flooding the area, creating this beautifully clear lake.  The lake sits at an elevation of  1270m above sea level and has a maximum depth of 163m. Lake Chuzenji was first discovered in the late 700’s by a priest after him and his crew successfully reached the summit of Mt.Nantai, which has an elevation of 2484m. 

8 years following the first summit of Mt. Nantai, Chuzenji Temple was established along the eastern side of the lake, which is dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kannon. The Temple is situated directly across the road from the lake front, and is among one of the most popular attractions to visit while in the Nikko/Lake Chuzenji Area.

Other Popular destinations surrounding Lake Chuzenji, are the nearby waterfalls. On the northern end of the lake, you can find Ryuzu Falls, which is a small waterfall along the Yukawa river, which feeds into the lake. Ryuzu Waterfall’s peak tourist season is in Autumn, as photographers flock from all over the world to get pictures of this scenic waterfall as the leaves change colour.  On the On the eastern end of the lake, you can find a much taller waterfall, Kegon Waterfall, which has a 97m straight plummet off he side of the mountain. Kegon Waterfall is the most popular tourist attraction in the Lake Chuzenji.

Also on the east side of the lake, closeby the Chuzenji Temple, you can find some Villa’s developed by the Brittish and Italian Embassy. Today, these buildings are no longer used by the ambassadors, however, instead of letting them go to waste, the local government has converted the embassy villas into a memorial park, where you can visit and enjoy the historic villas and gaze at the beautiful lakeside scenery.

The lake is popular year round among locals and tourist due to the scenic surroundings and the numerous onsens (Japanese Hot Spring) in Chugushi – the region of Nikko City in which the lake can be found in.

 Chugushi is an onsen town, and as such, you can find many different hotels, ryokans and onsens scattered around the town, so there are plenty of places to stay, all with varying price points.

In the lake, you can find the following trout species; Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Brook Trout, and what the Japanese call ‘Iwana’ or more commonly known as the whitespotted Char. You can fish in Lake Chuzenji, but you will require a fishing license, which costs 2160JPY. Furthermore, the lake is Fly Fishing only lake. Until further notice, the lake is strictly catch and release, due to radiation levels in the fish as a result of the 2011 Nuclear Disaster of Fukushima. Consumption of these fish is not allowed until the local government deems the radiation levels safe. 


Getting to Lake Chuzenji is somewhat difficult. First of all, you will need to take the train from where you are staying, to JR Nikko Station / Tobu Nikko Station. From there, you will need to board the bus to Chuzenji Onsen. This will take roughly 50 minutes, with a bus fare of 1150JPY. 

If you plan on staying in the area, you can purchase a 2-4 day pass for the bus and other modes of transport, which makes it easier for exploring Lake Chuzenji and the neighboring Nikko Area such as the the UNESCO World Heritage site, Toshogu Shrine. Check out the widget below