This Oku-Nikko local travel guide is designed to offer ideas on how to enjoy the beautiful Oku-Nikko area in the Nikko National Park during Autumn.
This Oku-Nikko in Autumn Nature Travel Guide is for active people, nature lovers, and those who want a break from the busy city life.
Each activity is Free or up to ¥15,000 per person
Oku-Nikko has many protected areas with some roads restricted to only electric buses and bicycles. Local activity companies such as NAOC offer mountain bike tours through this restricted area. Enjoy a fresh breeze and the quiet untouched nature with some exercise.
Cost: Approx. 15,000 yen per person
Walk 15 min from Akanuma chaya (赤沼茶屋）to Shakunagebashi (石楠花橋）. From here, you can walk along Yu river (Yukawa/ 湯川) to enjoy picturesque scenery. The area turns into beautiful yellow from the early to mid-October. And clear mountain water runs down the stream between untouched nature.
Oku-Nikko has many hiking trails suitable for all levels. The Chankokidaira (茶ノ木平) hiking trail is an easy to hike 1-2hour trail starting from Chanokidaira Yuhodo Iriguchi (茶ノ木平入り口）bus stop ending behind the Ritz-Carlton Hotel near the Nikko Natural Science Museum. Make sure to have suitable footwear as there are no paved paths.
Chuzenji Lake Cruises offers an hourly service between April and October. There are four stops on the lake (one extra stop during June). You can buy a single ticket or a ‘hop-on-and-hop-off’ ticket. I especially recommend the ‘Shobugahama’ to ‘Taishikanbesou kinenkouen’ route to see untouched nature on both sides of the boat.
Cost: Adult 650 yen to 1,400 yen
To understand the wildlife and the nature of Oku-Nikko, why not hire a nature guide. I went on a trail walk with a nature guide and learned so much. Including spotting bear claws marks (see photo) and marks made by deer teeth! Ask at Nikko Natural Science Museum to book a guide and an English speaking interpreter.
There are many spots where you can get a nice view of Chuzenji Lake, but not many where you can get a nice contrast of Japanese traditional roofs (Temple roofs), beautiful trees, the lake, and mountains in the background. To get this view visit Chuzenji Temple (Tachiki Kanon) and walk up to the highest temple and look out from the viewing deck.
Cost: Adults 500 yen and children 200 yen.
Standup paddleboarding (SUP), a sport born from surfing, is a great way to explore Chuzenji Lake (Oku-Nikko). I booked a morning session with Sup! Sup! Nikko, a local activity company offering SUP excursions for all levels. English speaking instructors are available.
Cost: 6,500- 7,500 yen
If the weather is nice, I recommend eating outside looking into the beautiful scenery. Instead of a getting a bento or sandwich, why not make your lunch a bit special by dropping by the Lakehouse cafe at The Ritz-Carlton Nikko and purchasing a western-style lunch box made with healthy local ingredients.
Price : 800-2,000 yen
To spend a special time, why not why not visit to the Lakehouse Restaurant at Ritz-Carlton Nikko. The Lakehouse uses only fresh fruit, vegetables, and produce locally sourced from the surrounding fields and farms of Tochigi prefecture. Relax in this chic restaurant and take in the beautiful views of Chuzenji Lake set against a backdrop of Mt Nantai.
Chez Hoshino is a European style restaurant just by Chuzenji Lake (near the pier). Highly popular with local Japanese as well as overseas visitors. The owner and chef Mr. Hoshino prides himself in using only high-end local ingredients such as the local ‘Yashio trout’ seen here. This is a nice place if you are looking for a delicious lunch indoors.
Lunch : 1,000-3,000 yen
Dinner: 3,000-7,000 yen
Local writer: Splitting his time between London and Japan, Angus works closely with local travel companies and local tourism organisations in North of Tokyo (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma & Saitama prefectures). In addition to promoting tourism, Angus also helps local sake breweries market their SAKE overseas.