Lake Chuzenji

Lake Chuzenji, a summer resort loved by foreign travelers

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A lake created when the eruption of Mount Nantai 20,000 years ago dammed the area. It’s located within a national park at an altitude of 1200 m. It is also the largest highland lake in the world.
Lake Chūzenji, Chugushi Nikko-shi Tochigi
(0288) 22-1525

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Lake Chuzenji is the villa area for the embassies of every country

Popular with foreigners charmed by Lake Chuzenji during the Meiji Era for its cool climate, embassy villas for the United States and European countries were built one after another there. As a summer resort, you can get a glimpse of Western history. There are traces of those buildings at the lake and the surrounding vicinity. The Italian Embassy Villa Memorial Park was built in 1928 and up to 1997, was used by successive generations of ambassadors and their families. Afterwards, it was donated to Tochigi Prefecture and reconstructed, and was opened to the public as a free park in 2000. Note the regional cedar used by the celebrated American architect Antonin Raymond. It is a unique construction utilizing the cedar bark for the entire structure from exterior to interior which is splendidly harmonized with the rich nature.The villa is 2 stories high and was designed meticulously so that you can see the lake from every room. The fireplace is surrounded by Western-style furnishings so you can spend an elegant time there. Going down to the lake, there is a pier and from there, you can view the scene of Mt. Nantai.

The villa residence has been remodeled to become an international summer resort museum. In contrast with the main embassy residence, the forest view from the windows of this residence is outstanding. Photographic panels and videos of Lake Chuzenji that has become an international meeting place are introduced.

Nikko Shinko Church is a Tangible Cultural Property designated by Tochigi Prefecture. Many foreign visitors who came to spend time at Nikko as a summer resort wanted to have a church established there and so it was built. James M. Gardiner, the architect behind the church’s stately Gothic stone construction, and his wife are buried there. It has a unique atmosphere with andesite from the nearby Daiya River and local Kanuma stone being used. The stained glass noticeably stands out. Aside from worship services and special events, you can tour the church free of charge. Meiji-no-Yakata is a nationally designated Tangible Cultural Property. It was once a villa built for an American trader, but it is now a restaurant specializing in yoshoku, Western-influenced Japanese cuisine. The building has a Georgian design which was popular in 18th-century England. The rice omelette and cheesecake are famous. The restaurant is always crowded so while waiting you can take a stroll at the same site through the garden.

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4 years ago
Lake Chuzenji is beautiful! I highly recommend taking the ferry from one side of the lake to the other. The ride is very serene and having the wind in your hair as you sail past gorgeous mountain scenery is something that simply just needs to be experienced. There are attractions all around the lake. And if you don't like boats, you can always take the bus! Which doesn't have the same kind of view, but provides an excellent one anyway. Food around the lake is slightly expensive, tourist price. Bring money!
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4 years ago
The highlight of my Nikko trip
I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch by the water, before taking a boat to the other side of Lake Chuzenji, and, although the boat was full of noisy schoolchildren, it didn't take away from the experience one bit. Stunning views of Mount Nantai in the distance, a beautiful lake of clear blue water all around me, and the excitement of being on a boat. An unbeatable experience.
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