Bringing you bird’s-eye view aerial footage of scenic landscapes all over Japan. This time we fly over Lake Yunoko in Nikkō National Park.

Text : Yūji Fujinuma / Music : 水城雄 Yu Mizuki / English Version : Judy Evans

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Oku-Nikkō and Lake Yunoko basking in the spring sunshine. Our drone rapidly ascends to 120 metres above the lake and its trout fishermen. Once the camera sights fix on distant Mount Nantai, the drone rotates slowly counter clockwise above the lake, before heading down towards the fishing boats. Lake Yunoko is at its prettiest in the morning.

(Filmed in late spring – 19 May)


Lake Yunoko

Lake Yunoko lies just south of Yumoto Onsen Village, deep inside Nikkō National Park. The lake is a natural dam, formed when the Yugawa River was blocked by lava from the eruption of Mount Mitsudake (1,945 m) to the northeast. The lake level sits at 1,478 metres above sea level (around 200 metres higher than Lake Chūzenji) and has a maximum depth of 13.5 metres. Lake Yunoko measures one kilometre in length from north to south and is up to 300 metres wide, with a circumference of around three kilometres. The eastern side of the lake is accessible by road, but otherwise the area retains a strong sense of wilderness. Dense forests filled with asunaro cypress (Thujopsis sp.) and Nikkō fir (Abies homolepis) surround the lake.

A hiking track encircles the lake, allowing for a pleasant walk from May onwards when a variety of plants begin to flower. The spectacular Yutaki Falls, 50 metres high and with a width of 25 metres, spill from the lake at its southern end. Another walking track follows the river from the base of the waterfall as far as the Senjōgahara Marshlands. This river cuts through the marshlands before spilling into Lake Chūzenji via the Ryūzu-taki Falls.

Lake Yunoko is one of the country’s top fly-fishing spots. Trout fishing began here during the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) when Scottish entrepreneur and arms dealer, Thomas Glover, released trout into the rivers of Oku-Nikkō. The lake attracts anglers from all over Japan during the trout fishing season, many of whom come for a nationwide fishing event. The Japan Fisheries Agency is currently conducting an ecological survey of introduced trout species in the area.