Going up the Daiya River past the sacred Shin-kyo bridge, a winding mountain road leads to the great Lake Chuzenji and charming Okunikko region. It has a profusion of magnificent landscapes of moors, lakes, waterfalls, streams and hot springs. From the late 19C, the region became a popular with those wanting to escape the heat of the Tokyo summer and keen to come and admire the spectacular colours of nature in each season.
Michelin's recommendations for Parc national de Nikko
Nikko, an exceptional and sacred place
In 1999, the whole world paid tribute to the baroque splendour of the shrines and temples of Nikko that gleam among the giant cedars, when the complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These architectural masterpieces are tightly bound up with the history of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled from the 17C to the 19C.
Okunikko’s natural assets
In the upper reaches of the sacred city, the mountainous region of Okunikko is stunning in every season. While the cedars planted in the late 17C serve as a backdrop for the temples and shrines down in the valley, at altitude the lakes, moors and rivers surrounding Lake Chuzenji complement the perfectly formed cone of the Nantai volcano to create a fabulous landscape.
Lake Chuzenji, a holiday resort for Westerners
When the country opened up to foreigners in the late 19C, the cool summer weather and high altitude of Lake Chuzenji (1 200m) quickly won the hearts of Western tourists, diplomats and writers. The resort offered an escape from the stifling heat of Tokyo, without visitors having to travel too far.