Tochigi: Destinations of Timeless Calm
Lake Chuzenji lies in the highlands of northwest Tochigi Prefecture, above the city of Nikko. Thanks to its altitude, it became a popular summer resort for foreign embassy officials during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). One of the first to discover its beautiful scenery was Ernest Satow, a British diplomat and linguist who had a major influence on Japan as it opened up to the world. Satow built his villa on the lakeshore, and often visited in search of recreation and relaxation. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Alfie Goodrich explores Lake Chuzenji in the guise of Ernest Satow. He visits some of the locations that Satow would have known, and also travels to other areas in Tochigi where modern-day approaches to recreation and relaxation have taken root.

Former British Embassy Villa

The 19th-century diplomat Ernest Satow built his personal villa on the southern shore of Lake Chuzenji. It was later taken over by the British Embassy. The two-story building has now been restored and is open to the public.

Water Garden

This park in Nasu has been beautifully landscaped with a total of 318 trees carefully laid out in a riverine setting. It provides a space for healing and relaxation, while inspiring visitors to think about man's relationship with nature.

Canyoning

The sport of canyoning involves hiking and sliding down mountain streams. There are numerous watercourses suitable for canyoning in the Kinugawa area.

Access

From Tokyo, it takes about two hours by train to Nikko; from there, it's a 50-minute bus ride to Lake Chuzenji. To Kinugawa-Onsen, it takes about two and a half hours by train. And to reach Nasu, it takes about 70 minutes by Shinkansen bullet train to Nasushiobara.