The Kirifuri Waterfall (Kirifuri-no-taki [霧降の滝]; Kirifuri Falls) was another one of those off-the-beaten-path ones as far as Julie and I were concerned. However, in this instance, we discovered the main reason why this was the case was that the All Nikko Pass didn't work for the Kirifuri Highlands route, which was where this waterfall was located (even though it was closer to Nikko than say Kegon-no-taki).
The falls itself was actually quite tall, but during our visit, it was thin and mostly obscured by overgrowth that prevented it from being as impressive as its overall height would've led us to believe. We observed that there seemed to be three main parts to the falls, but not all of these parts were able to be seen together. And this further conspired to make the falls not very photogenic. The bottom two tiers were probably the easiest to see. However, I do reckon that since the falls was surrounded by so much foliage, it must be a gorgeous scene in the Autumn when the foliage would change into all sorts of Autumn colors thereby livening up the landscape.
From the nearest bus stop, we hastily ran right into the tourist area, where we then went up some stairs and followed a short walking nature walk path right to the wooden overlook deck. I think it took us around 30 hasty minutes to get here (15 minutes on the return, but we were running to catch the next bus back to town). Since this was one of those look-but-don't-touch waterfalls, there wasn't a whole lot more we could do to enjoy the falls from the official overlook. So we didn't linger here for long.
The Kirifuri Highlands is within the Japan Alps a little further east of the more familiar mountains closer to the Nagano Prefecture where they once held the Winter Olympics. There are more waterfalls up that way, but we were content to do a quick out-and-back trip to Kirifuri Waterfall from Nikko.
Given that the Kirifuri Highlands weren't part of the All Nikko Pass (which concentrated more on the western part of the Greater Nikko area) and we weren't willing to save money by walking several uphill kilometers on a highway to get to the falls, we ponied up the 300円 or so per person to ride the Kirifuri Highlands bus to get here (though do keep in mind they only show up either a half-hour or an hour apart). At least this route was definitely much quieter than the Yumoto Onsen route.
We caught the Kirifuri Highlands bus from the bus terminal area near the Tobu-Nikko Station.
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