Lake Chuzenji is known for its incredible beauty, its attractive small-town atmosphere, its nearness to the World Heritage shrines and temples in Nikko, and of course, its onsen (hot springs).
People visit Lake Chuzenji from all around for its onsen, making it one of the region's chief tourist draws. The soothing water is said to be good for your body, able to relieve everything from simple aches and pains to diabetes and high blood pressure. Regardless, it truly helps you to feel relaxed, refreshed, and good all over.
But the big question for many visitors to Lake Chuzenji is: just where are the hot springs? They're not so obvious to find. The easy answer is that many hotels and inns around the area have their own private hot spring bath areas for their customers, so you should go there. But what if you're just visiting on a day trip, or are traveling on a budget and don't want to pay for one of the lavish, expensive hotels in the area?
That's where the Nikko Lakeside Hotel comes in. It's a large, beautiful hotel with wonderful accommodations, but best of all, they open their very nice onsen to the public for a pretty fair cost. Visitors can pay to visit just one time, and they offer some nice combination deals as well for lunch and hot spring bathing.
As for the hot springs themselves, they are located in a special bathhouse adjoining the main hotel building (although you pay and check in at the main hotel reception, first). There are separate areas for the men's and women's baths. Best of all, the bath rooms offer a wonderful view of scenic Lake Chuzenji. Whether you're visiting during the time of the beautiful fall leaves, during cherry blossom season, or at any other time for that matter, the gazing across the placid waters of the lake and the peaceful mountains and trees beyond them adds to the overall relaxation experience.
As with most onsen in Japan, the bath room is connected to a shower and changing room. Towels are available for rental, and the changing room is stocked with sinks, hair dryers, lotions, and so on. Visitors put their clothes and belongings on a bin on a shelf while they bathe, and there are no lockers, so if you are carrying valuables that you hesitant to leave in a public area, it would be best to store them elsewhere before you go.
As for the lunch, it was quite good. The hotel has a very luxurious dining area. There were two sets of lunch menus at two different prices. The curry I selected was very good, and came with salad, drinks, and dessert.
The Nikko Lakeside Hotel is located on the east side of Lake Chuzenji, between the lake itself and the town's welcome area where the bus stop and tourist information building is.