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

Ibaraki #4: Fukuroda Falls (袋田の滝)

Ibaraki’s 4th postcard features the beautiful waterfall of Fukuroda, which is ranked the third most beautiful waterfall in Japan. The first two are Kegon Falls in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, and Nachi in Wakayama Prefecture. Neither of those have postcards, so we’re looking at the top waterfall in the postacollect collection!

Fukuroda Waterfall is actually 4 falls in a row, stacked one on top of the next. It is located in Daigo City, in the Northern area of Ibaraki Prefecture. It can be reached most easily by car, but there is also a nearby JR train station. Once you get near the falls, you pay an admission fee (around 300 yen), then walk further toward the falls through a long tunnel. The original viewing platform is the first you come to, and shows 3 of the 4 falls, but the 1st fall can’t be seen from here. A brand new viewing platform has recently been build, and is a short walk and elevator ride up to the new platform. The platform has 3 levels to view the full set of 4 falls.

The falls can be visited at any time, though the postcard looks to be a general summer view. In winter, the falls sometimes freeze over and there is a light and sound show in January and February. You can even climb the ice-covered falls then! In spring, trees in the area bloom, though none so close to the falls. Summer brings lush green trees, and in fall the colors change to brilliant and beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows. Fukuroda is truly a place for all seasons!

I visited Fukuroda Falls in September two years ago:

The falls from the lower viewing platform

All four falls visible from the new upper platform

View from the bridge downstream as the sun peaks through, showing the lower viewing platform

Enjoy your visit to one of the top 3 waterfalls in Japan!

Edit 2015.11.13: I got the chance to visit the waterfall once again this October, and actually remembered to bring the postcard this time! So here are a few more pictures of the falls:

Postcard and falls

And another

From the top with a few fall colors scattered around

From the bridge looking back