Okunikko means Inner Nikko. This small town is nestled between wild geographic features including Mt. Takayama, Mt. Nantai (a sacred volcano), Ryuzu and Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji, and Akechidaira Plateau.
ABOUT THE PHOTO
After hiking around Lake Chuzenji we noticed off in the distance a ropeway with bright red trolley cars. It’s winter so I’m not expecting for them to be operational but they must lead somewhere. The next day I’m on a bus packed with other curious tourists. The driver takes us up this winding road called Irohazaka. At the top is Akechidaira Plateau which hosts an observation deck with views for miles. I had full confidence in the driver’s abilities but nonetheless is was a scary ride (similar to the Road to Hana in Hawaii, the dive up Mt. Evans in Colorado, or parts of Highway 1 along the west coast. I recommend all of these drives). Once we arrived we found that the ropeway was in full swing and 400 yen later we’re at the top. Looking west you see Okunikko in all its wonder. This can’t be real I thought. I could see the entire town. The hotel I was staying in, the restaurants I visited, the shops I wandered in and out of. All of it tucked in between at least four landscapes that merit their own attention! The dramatic Kegon Falls and beautiful Lake Chuzenji straight on. On the right the enormous and overwhelming sacred volcano, Mt. Nantai. Behind it all the snow speckled mountain range to the west. I took some photos that included the volcano but it was so big that it swallowed the town. To this day, every time I see this photo I ask myself “Is that real?”