Waterfalls of Japan
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Japan Waterfalls are sprinkled throughout this mountainous country that sees plenty of snow and cold Winter days as well as hot and rainy Summer days. The rugged topography has resulted in many different kinds of waterfalls. That said, waterfalls seemed to be somewhat boutique attractions as they're not widely known outside of the country. Indeed, it's more known for temples, bustling modernized cities, sushi, anime, and other things not necessarily related to Nature. All this meant Julie and I were busy trying to find these waterfalls as well as mixing in the country's signature sights. The result is this page, which is still a work in progress.
Nevertheless, Julie and I have seen quite a few waterfalls in Japan, and in order to better organize what we have seen, we've divided up the country into the following subregions - Hokkaido
, Northern Honshu
, and Western Honshu
The Hokkaido subregion pertains to the northernmost island, which just so happens to be the boundaries of the prefecture as well. It could very well be one of Japan's least developed parts of the country, which we experienced for ourselves in places like Shiretoko National Park. There were also mountains like Daisetsuzan, whose meltwaters were said to be so clean that a couple of famous Japanese beers are from here in Asahi and Sapporo. Among the waterfalls we've seen here were the side-by-side waterfalls of Ginga and Ryusei
as well as the hot-water Kamuiwakka Waterfall
The Northern Honshu subregion is pretty much all the prefectures directly north of Tokyo. Among them are the prefectures of Gunma, Niigata, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Fukushima, Yamagata, Miyagi, Iwate, Akita, and Aomori. Some of the waterfalling highlights in this subregion include the ones near the UNESCO World Heritage Nikko like Kegon-no-taki
and the Akiu Otaki
Finally, the Western Honshu subregion is pretty much all the prefectures directly to the west of Tokyo. Since this comprises the remaining prefectures not covered by the above two subregions, we're also including the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku though we don't have any waterfalls to show for our efforts so far in those islands. As for the main island of Honshu, the prefectures in this subregion include Kanagawa, Tokyo, Saitama, Nagano, Toyama, Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Ishikawa, Fukui, Shiga, Nara, Mie, Wakayama, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Tottori, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi. Some of the notable waterfalls in this subregion include one by a sacred temple such as Nachi-no-taki
and another fed by the melting snow in the Japan Alps like Shomyo-daki and Hannoki-no-taki
. We also saw a percoalting wide curtain in Shiraito-no-taki
on the western slopes of Mt Fuji.
Something that's worth mentioning is that the Japanese are very precise, and this is reflected in their public transportation system that's second to none. In fact, we've managed to see most of the waterfalls (as well as many of the non-waterfall sights) using their public transportation in an attempt to control cost (though the tremendous infrastructure also comes at a price). Therefore, for the waterfalls that we did visit by public transport, we're going to reflect our "driving" directions based on our public transport routes. For those waterfalls that we did self-drive to (mostly in Hokkaido), then we'll describe the driving directions as usual. In any case, considering that waterfalls are generally located in rural countrysides, the fact that we've used their system to visit most of the waterfalls without a car is quite an incredible statement to make!
Note: like the China
page, we're also incorporating a combination of romaji (romanized Japanese) along with kanji (Japanese script that borrows heavily from traditional Chinese characters). That's because often times you'll only have kanji to deal with so you'll have to try to match up the characters if English is nowhere to be found (this happened to us quite often in Japan!). I also haven't learned Japanese so I can't provide any further aids on pronunciations and translations besides our ability to translate some Chinese characters in kanji as well as translations already in the literature.
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To get a glimpse of what each waterfall looks like, check out the table below. Click on the waterfalls to read more about them.
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