Japan is a country that prides itself on being a place that values nature. This is quite evident in how they construct their landscapes which incorporate the nature in that area to the best that their engineers and designers can because, as much as possible, the Japanese would want their landscapes to be smooth, free flowing, and natural-looking. If that isn’t enough to convince you, you should hit up the famous waterfalls found in Japan. Not only will you understand how the Japanese seamlessly mix nature to their designs but you will also be able to enjoy the beautiful scenic views which the waterfalls here are known to be.
The Three Great Waterfalls in Nikko, Japan
Japan is blessed with hundreds of beautiful and unique waterfalls spread throughout the entire land. Japan has so many great options that it is sometimes hard for tourists to decide which ones they would want to see. This is where the power and influence of “word of mouth” come into play and a trio in Nikko, Japan has definitely had its fair share of gossips and news about how great of a place it is to see if you are looking for quality waterfalls in Japan.
The trio is known as the “Three Great Waterfalls of Japan” and they are the Kegon Waterfall, Nachi Falls, and Fukuroda Waterfall. Focusing in on the Kegon Waterfall, it is not only considered to be a part of the three great waterfalls in Nikko but also a part of the 100 best waterfalls in Japan. A lot of tourists have even deemed this waterfall as the best they have seen in Japan.
It is found in Okunikko which is in the Tochigi Prefecture and it was found by a Buddhist monk who had the privilege to name this place after the scripture in Buddhism known as the “Kegonkyo”. This waterfall is 97 meters high with a width of 7 meters. The dimensions of this particular waterfall are what makes it possible for 2 tons of water to fall per second. The amount of force created by the falling water makes this waterfall not suitable for casual swimming but that doesn’t change the fact that this waterfall is stunning beyond measure.
There is an interesting origin to this waterfall because it was formed by nature in a unique way. When the lava flows redirected the water from the Daiya River, the water started passing the routes that lead to the falls itself. The routes that the water passes through nowadays have been there before the water even used it as routes. This adds awe to the scenery because of how a simple change like that created a beauty like this one.
This place is also tourist friendly which means that travelers can find parking, modern restrooms, and a gift show here. You can also find and make use of observation decks which are located at the bottom of the falls and at the top of the falls. The top deck observatory is free to visitors but making use of the bottom observation deck would require you to pay an amount of 520 yen. From the Nikko station, use a Tobunikko bus to Kegononotaki Iriguchi and from there, you should be able to walk to the site of the falls within 2 minutes. As beautiful as this place is, it is not advisable to go here during the rainy seasons because fog tends to limit the vision of the waterfall during these seasons.
The second of the three great waterfalls is the Nachi Falls. This falls is found in the southern portion of the Wakayama Prefecture and is also a part of the top 100 waterfalls found in Japan. This fall stands at a height of 133 meters with the water running through it at a width of 13 meters. At that particular height, the Nachi Falls holds the title for the highest waterfalls to be found in Japan.
An interesting thing about this waterfall is that there is a shrine at the bottom of the falls. The history of the shrine may take a while to discuss but that is okay because all you really need to know about it is that it was significant enough for it to be given the title of UNESCO as a “Sacred Site and PIlrimage Route in the Kii Mountain Range”.
Like the Kegon Falls, the Nachi Falls is also a place where tourists can find parking for their journey. If, by any chance, you are unlucky and unable to park near the falls, don’t worry because the Seigantoji Temple is a place you can go to enjoy the great view of this waterfall. To get there, ride the JR Kise Line to Nachi from the Shingu Station. Once arriving at Nachi, ride a bus that can take you to the Nachisankan Kanko Center.
The waterfall that completes the trio is the Fukuroda Falls. It is located in Fukuroda, Ibaraki Prefecture and it is one of the most popular waterfalls visited by tourists. It stands at a height of 120 meters which is divided into 4 drops because the layout of this particular waterfall is unlike the usual ones. This fall has giant rocks that serve as steps for the water so the water does not fall straight down. It is because of this that this waterfall is also known as the “Four Times Falls”.
The Fukuroda Falls is the type of waterfall to be visited all year round because it shows a different side of itself every season. For example, during the winter, people go here to go ice climbing since the water here freezes and since there are step-like structures, it is a lot safer to do this activity. It is also blessed with a lot of hot springs spread out through the area so it greatly adds to the falls’ attractiveness towards tourists.
If you simply want to see it, you can use the observation for a price of 300 yen and like the rest of the great waterfalls, this place is also offers parking areas, restaurants, and gift shops to add more to your trip here. You can reach this waterfall via Fukuroda Station. Take any train line that would take you to this station and from the station, just ride a bus to the Fukurodanotaki or the Fukuroda Falls.
Waterfall in Japan that is a Great Hiking Spot
Much like how Japan has a lot of waterfalls to choose from, the waterfalls that are great hiking spots as well also present a variety of waterfalls to choose from. Each of these spots showcases a different style of nature’s beauty so you can be sure that no matter which spot you choose, you will be seeing something that is unique and mesmerizing. Since there are a lot of places to choose from, the top waterfall that tourists go to for the hiking experience will be the focus here and that particular waterfall is the Akiu Otaki.
The Akiu Otaki or the Akiu Great Falls can be found near the area of Sendai which is by the northern part of Honshu in the Miyagi Prefecture or the Miyagi-ken. There are a lot of travelers that have said that this particular waterfall is one of Japan’s most beautiful waterfalls but that statement is hard to back up because preference and perspective play a vital role in determining if something is beautiful or not. Nevertheless, for it to be constantly talked about as one of the most beautiful falls in Japan means that there is something special about this spot.
Your hiking experience to the Akiu Falls starts at the temple that is found in front of the entrance of this place. There should be a torii that can be seen from the Akiu Otaki bus stop and that torii would be where you can locate the said entrance. Once there, you can also see what the waterfalls look like from a cozy observation deck. The view from this deck, however, is still quite far from the actual falls so you might want to head closer to it and that would lead you to the hike itself.
After the observation deck, there will be a walking path that is connected to the main viewing complex of this waterfall. From this area, you will be presented with a crossroads. Going left from the main road of the viewing complex would lead you to a bridge that connects tourists to another walkway that would eventually lead them to the base of the falls. Overall, this hike should take you 1 hour and a half at most but it will surely be worth your time once you see this waterfall up close.
If you have been here or if you are looking for another waterfall that offers the hiking activity, you can also research waterfalls like the Tendaki Waterfall found in the subregion of the Hyogo Prefecture, Nunobiki Falls in Kobe or the Furepe Waterfall found on the western coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula. The Tendaki offers you a more difficult hike but its difficulty is compensated by the view you will be enjoying at the end of the hike. The two latter options offer a slower, more romantic hike. With this being said, if you are planning for a couple’s hike, the two latter waterfalls might be a better choice for you. If you are set on having a good hike though, it is a no-brainer to take a closer look at the Tendaki waterfall.
Some Unique Waterfall Experiences in Japan
No waterfall is exactly the same as another. This is can be attested to by people who have seen more than a couple of waterfalls. All are beautiful but some waterfalls just really stand out above the rest. If you are interested in finding those gems then you need not look further than Japan. Considering the diversity of waterfalls to be found here, you are sure to find something you haven’t seen before.
The number of waterfalls used to be a problem to tourists planning a trip because they did not know what was worth checking out. Nowadays, with the power of the internet, one can easily research it to know what it looks like and if it is what he or she is looking for. Here are a couple of unique waterfalls in Japan that you might consider unique based on the feedback and reviews of adventurers who have had the privilege of traveling to these wonderful locations.
In the Gifu Prefecture, specifically in Okuhida, there is a waterfall that is considered to be unique because of how the seasons change its look so much. This waterfall is the Hirayu Great Falls and people have described this waterfall to be “ever-changing”. By this, they mean that every season brings something new. From springtime to summer time, this place is packed and surrounded by beautiful and hypnotizing shades of green. Come autumn, those different shades of green turn into shades of yellow, red, and orange. This is the kind of waterfall you see in movies with the main stream of water gushing down at a massive size. Because of this, once winter comes, the frozen water looks like a serene painting and this site is complimented by the snow that covered everything else.
There is another waterfall worth looking into and it is found in the Shizuoka Prefecture. It is called the Shiraito Falls and although it does not freeze in winter, it is considered to be one of the unique waterfalls you could possibly find because it creates an illusion. The water that flows here does not come from one stream alone. The mini-streams that fall in this waterfall makes it look like silk is flowing down from the forest. If that did not make you curious enough, they also offer a local grape-flavored ice cream here that has been getting a lot of attention from the crowds too and it seems to be the perfect snack as you bask in the beauty of this silk-like waterfall.
There are many other notable waterfalls to be found in Japan. If you look into the areas of Osaka, Nara, Nagano, Hokkaido, and Yamanashi, you can find jaw-dropping waterfalls like the Senga waterfall and the like. You should take note that majority of the waterfalls in Japan are best visited in the second half of the year. This means that from the month of May or June onwards, you should be safe from all weather conditions that might create complications to your trip to these places. Remember to always stay safe on the paths because the moisture from the waterfalls might make it slippery and don’t forget to enjoy and take in the beauty that you will see as you go from fall to fall in Japan.