If you ever have the chance to visit Japan, you should really visit Nikko. I would say the same about Tokyo and Kyoto. Last weekend we visited Nikko with our buddies, C&J. It was my second time, C&J's 3rd time and Daz's 1st time. Our goal was to camp near Lake Yumoto, but after calling and finding out that the campground was only bare bones and that we'd have to take EVERYTHING with us in addition to bad weather conditions, we settled on staying in a small log cabin at Shobugahama Camp Village next to Lake Chuzenji. Much more comfortable for a pregnant woman now in her third trimester!!
I completely recommend staying there. Our log cabin had three tatami mats on the bottom and a loft with another three tatami mats - perfect sleeping conditions for two couples. They provide futons and blankets (except no sheets) so our night spent there was just as comfy as home. Although Claire did say that they loft attracted a multitude of bugs so don't forget your insect repellent. You can also pitch a tent there and there were a lot of choice locations next to the lake, so if you have time I would totally recommend that.
Since it was C&J's 3rd time to Nikko they skipped the shrines and headed straight to Lake Chuzenji where they head out on an epic hike from Ryuzu no Taki to Lake Yumoto with some amazing scenery. You can check out their photos here. In the meantime we headed to the shrines and the weather was really perfect - foggy and cool. It gave the shrines the most freaky kind of atmosphere and all of the heavy fog in the tall majestic cedar trees was spooky and mystical.
That being said, Lake Chuzenji looked even better in the fog. It was a horror story waiting to happen. I was tempted to hop on one of these swan boats but I kept imaging them disappearing into the fog never to be seen again.
the next day we took it easy eating a leisurely breakfast by the lake, visiting Ryuzu no Taki, Kegon waterfalls (after it being completely obliterated by fog the day before), and the shops leading up to the shrines from Nikko station.
and here's a belly pic in front of Ryuzu no Taki at 28 weeks. I'm feeling a lot bigger all of a sudden.
Japanese friends were horrified that I would travel and go camping while pregnant, but it was fine. I got some good exercise and that fresh air was desperately needed. You can see the rest of our Nikko photos here.
Again I truly recommend a trip to Nikko if you haven't been. It's one of the most affordable weekend trips from Tokyo. There are a number of travel passes including the Nikko Free Pass which entitles you to four days travel on the Tobu train to and from Asakusa in Tokyo and you can ride all of the buses in Nikko during that time to for only 4400 yen.