About Choshigataki Waterfall (choshigataki [銚子ケ滝])
The Choshigataki Waterfall (choshigataki [銚子ケ滝]; “Sake Decanter Falls?”) was one of the waterfalls named after the shape of a sake decanter, and it actually kind of lives up to its name.
There are numerous waterfalls in Japan with the name choshi in it (e.g. Hida Choshinotaki and Choshi Otaki in Aomori just to name a couple), but the one in this write-up is on the slopes of Mt Adatara near Koriyama.
Whether you see it as a one-sided sake bottle or a two-sided one depends on its flow, and in our late July 2023 visit, we saw it sort of in its one-sided form.
In any case, this waterfall is where the Ishiguro River (which originates on the geologically active Mt Adatara) drops at a height of 48m.
With such an impressive size, pretty reliable flow, and its recognizable shape, it’s considered to be one of Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls according to the Japanese Ministry of the Environment (a list published in 1990).
I’ve also seen this waterfall referred to as Choushi Falls, Choshiga Falls, Choshigataki Falls, or just simply Choshi Falls.
Again, these variations come from the differing ways the Romaji can spell out Japanese words while the lack of consensus on whether to include the particle ga or ケ in its place name further adds to the confusion.
Experiencing the Choshigataki Waterfall
In order to reach this waterfall, we had to do a hike that started off with a flat to gentle climb before reaching trail junctions (starting at about 1.2km from the trailhead).
At these junctions, the other paths either go towards Lake Adatara or continue forward towards the peak of Mt Osho in the crater of Mt Adatara.
By the way, Mt Adatara is an active volcano that last erupted in 1996 and infamously killed 72 sulphur mine workers near its crater in 1900.
Anyways, the trail fork we’re interested in here (100m beyond the first trail junction) descends a long series of steps as it goes all the way to the bottom of the ravine that the Choshigataki Falls spills into.
Along the way, we could see clear signs of past rockfalls as well as landslides so I’m sure this trail always sees some degree of maintenance to keep it open for visitation.
Nevertheless, this was an upside down hike where we had to watch our step going down, and we really had to pace ourselves sweating our way back up after having our fill of the Choshi Falls.
At the end of the spur trail at the bottom of the Choshi Waterfall, the plunge pool was fringed by giant boulders attesting to how prone this area is to rockfalls and landslides given the steepness of the gorge walls.
So we didn’t linger for too long, and we definitely didn’t feel up for more boulder scrambling to get real cold in the waterfall’s plunge pool (let alone its spray).
Anyways, on our visit, we spent about 90 minutes away from the car, which covered about 1.6km in each direction (or 3.2km round-trip).
That said, perhaps the greater difficulty or confusion (especially if you’re using GoogleMaps) involved getting to the car park and trailhead (see directions below).
The Choshigataki Waterfall resides near the city of Koriyama in the Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. It may be administered by the local authorities in Koriyama. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Koriyama City website.
Since we made this drive from Koriyama City, I’ll describe our route in this manner for this section of the write-up.
From the Koriyama View Hotel (where we were staying), we headed westward towards Route 49.
There are many ways to do that, but the most straightforward way would be to head west on the Route 6 (for about 2.5km) before turning right onto Route 49.
From there, we’d follow Route 49 north for about 14km before turning right onto Route 24 towards the Ban-etsu Expressway.
Then, we’d continue going north on the Route 24 for about 8.5km before turning right onto an access road (there should be a sign directing you to go this way for the Choshi Falls).
At this point, we’d be on what looked to be a private road set up by whoever runs the farm or private property here.
I suspect they may get a subsidy or funding by the local government to develop tourism for Choshiga Falls because they don’t ask for a parking fee nor were there shops as of our July 2023 visit.
Anyways, we’d follow the signs and continue up the narrow (but well-paved) road for the final 3km before reaching the large unpaved car park for the Choshigataki Falls.
That unpaved lot is the main area to park, but if there’s space availabke, then about 100m before this was the actual trailhead for the hike where you can cut off that short distance and park in the limited spaces and pullouts there.
Overall, this drive took us over an hour, but because GoogleMaps led us astray, it took longer than it should have to do this drive.
Being Led Astray By Google Maps
Speaking of being led astray, GoogleMaps will try to keep you on the steeper twisty road going north for another 2.5km past the signed turnoff for the access road leading through a private road to the official trailhead.
That “GoogleMaps” route ended up being another car park that I suspect was the older car park.
There was some old signage in Japanese talking about Choshiga Falls, which might make you think this is the actual starting point.
However, the lack of utilization of a place as popular as this waterfall should tip you off that something is wrong (we know from personal experience)!
Indeed, do not go this way because from that older car park, you’d have to run across the Route 24 (blind turns and all which can be dangerous).
Then, you’d have to walk past the fence leading to that access road leading the rest of the way to the trailhead.
This adds an additional 900m of unnecessary hiking uphill on the access road to the trailhead (or 1.8km round trip) on top of the 3.2km round-trip hike you already have to do anyways.
For some geographical context, Koriyama was about 41km (under an hour drive) southeast of Inawashiro, 50km (under an hour drive) south of Fukushima City, 125km (under 2 hours drive) north of Utsunomiya, 135km (under 2 hours drive) northeast of Nikko, 260km (over 3 hours drive) north of Narita International Airport, and 248km (about 2.5 hours drive) north of Tokyo.
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