Tochigi #8: Kegon Falls (華厳ノ滝)

Nikko is one of Tochigi Prefectures most famous locations for good reason… the splendid shrines and temples, the cooler temperatures even in summer, and gorgeous fall colors make it a popular place for both Japanese and foreign tourists to visit. I’ve already done a post on the Irohazaka, or the colorful winding road that leads from the shrines and temples of Nikko up to Oku-Nikko, home of nature and Kegon no Taki, the Kegon Waterfall.

Along with Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki Prefecture (also a postcard), and Nachi Falls in Wakayama Prefecture, Kegon Waterfall is considered one of the three most beautiful waterfalls of Japan. Its almost 100 meter falls can be seen from a free viewing platform or a paid viewing platform, and in all seasons. In winter, the waterfall often freezes solid!

I visited Kegon no Taki many years ago during the cherry blossom season. Unfortunately, spring is actually probably the most unattractive season in the area, as the snow has already melted, but the trees haven’t turned green yet. At that elevation, there weren’t any cherry trees, so everything just looked bare and brown. But you could see the waterfall really clearly! I’d love to go back one year for fall colors, but since everyone else in Japan tends to have that same plan, it can be the most crowded season then as well. Maybe summer, like it is pictured in the postcard, is best!


Kegon no Taki
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Hokkaido #8: Odori Park (大通公園)

Odori Park is a large strip of green park in Sapporo, Hokkaido which separates the city and provides a nice, relaxing area in the city center. In the winter, the Sapporo snow festival takes place in this park, while in other seasons various flowers bloom and other events are held. At the head of the park stands the Sapporo TV Tower, which has an observation deck for good views over Sapporo.

When I visited, I was more interested in seeing the Clock Tower and the old red-brick Prefectural Building that I didn’t spend much time here. Also, they were setting up for some kind of event while I was there, so I just took the one picture of the clock tower and moved on! Sapporo is on my “must visit again” list, so one year maybe I’ll get the chance to retake this picture with the 2016 postcard!


My one Odori Park picture

Miyazaki #8: Aoshima Shrine (青島神社)

Tomorrow the new postcards are released into post offices across Japan, so to kick off that exciting event, here’s some information about Miyazaki’s newest postcard, featuring the amazing Aoshima Shrine. The shrine is located on the tiny sand- and tree-covered island of Aoshima, and is surrounded by a unique geological feature called the “Devil’s Washboard” which can be seen at low-tide. It’s definitely worth a trip!


Heading out to the island, the bridge is relatively new. These days, anyone can visit at anytime, but 100 years ago or so, the island was considered sacred, so normal people could only visit 2 weeks out of the year!


Around the back in the middle of a small grove of trees is the main shrine area.


Through a small path through the trees lined with ema…


You reach the tiny shrine in the true middle of the island. It’s so peaceful!


At low tide, you can see the interesting devil’s washboard rocks. They really look man-made up close, but they are a completely natural phenomenon!


Cool, huh?


The postcard shot… well, close enough!

During the We Love Japan Tour 2015, my southern blogger partner Emma visited this shrine, so I recommend checking out her blog post to read all about it, and its connections to the very first Emperor of Japan, Jimmu.

Don’t forget to pick up your new Miyazaki card tomorrow, and stay tuned for more posts about the new cards!