“Nikko is included in the itinerary of almost every traveler to Japan, but whosoever sees it in spring and fails to return in the summer and penetrate to beautiful and restful Chuzenji … can not be said to know it.
“… The surroundings are among the most beautiful and perfect in Japan. Forest-clad hills encircle the lake and rise to an imposing height. In May and early June, when a wealth of pink, white, and purple azaleas decorate the environs; when the giant trees are festooned with lovely wistaria clusters and trailing Lycopodium sieboldii [club moss]; or in Oct., when the subtle alchemy of Nature paints the maples and other deciduous trees with the gorgeous tints of the sunset’s richest afterglow, the scene is entrancing.
“The most beautiful time, however, is midsummer, when the tranquil pool drowses like a lapis-lazuli mirror in a faultless green frame and reflects every soft outline of the billowy clouds that ride lazily above it. Then it recalls nothing so much as a gigantic porcelain plaque with a myriad shy beauties visible beneath its translucent glaze. At that time the days run softly; the hours are long and sweet and satisfying; the increasing complexities of life are removed to the remote limbo reserved for all forms of strenuosity; and a renewal of youth becomes a reality.”
– Terry’s Japanese Empire, T. Phillip Terry, 1914
“Let him who has but a few days to tarry hasten at once to Lake Chuzenji, which lies encircled by a wooded plain at the foot of Mount Nan-tai-zan, 5,000 feet above the sea. The distance to this beautiful lake is eight long miles, although but three and a half from where the journey is continued afoot.
“While it is customary to leave the ricksha at Uma-gaeshi, a small hamlet lying at the base of the mountain and known as the ricksha stable, the entire distance may be made in chair, kago, or ricksha, by ladies or others not able to endure the exertion of the mountain road on foot.
“… The road to Chuzenji on the morning of our visit was lined with bands of white-robed pilgrims, with sandalled feet and wide mushroom-shaped hats, each carrying staff and bundle, which signified that they had travelled from some remote section of the empire and were bound for the sacred temple on the summit of Mount Nan-tai-zan. There were also troupes of school children, who had been sent to Nikko by a paternal government to pay homage to the spirits of the illustrious dead, as well as to enjoy the magnificence of the mountain scenery.”
– An Army Officer on Leave in Japan, by Col. L. Mervin Maus, 1911