Fukuroda Waterfall (Fukuroda-no-taki [袋田の滝])

Daigo / Fukuroda, Ibaraki, Japan

About Fukuroda Waterfall (Fukuroda-no-taki [袋田の滝])


Hiking Distance: 2.7km round trip
Suggested Time: 60-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2016-10-16
Date last visited: 2016-10-16

Waterfall Latitude: 36.76434
Waterfall Longitude: 140.40703

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The Fukuroda Waterfall (Fukuroda-no-taki [袋田の滝]; also referred to as just Fukuroda Falls) was a grand waterfall consisting of multiple layers on the Takigawa [滝川; “Falls River”].

Its dimensions was reported to be a cumulative height of 120m and a width of about 73m.

Fukuroda_040_10152016 - Fukuroda Waterfall
Fukuroda Waterfall

Since it was on a fairly major river system, the falls was also said to have year-round flow and therefore provide the chance of experiencing it with the different moods of the seasons.

We had targeted the arrival of the koyo (or Fall Colors) with our mid-October visit, but apparently we were a few weeks too early as you can see from photo above.

Given our experience, I’d say that the koyo would probably peak more towards the end of October or early November depending on how soon the weather would turn cold.

Apparently on the year we visited, the weather was still more on the warm side at this lattitude and altitude.

During our visit, we were able to view the Fukuroda Waterfall from a handful of vantage points.

Fukuroda_026_10152016 - An in-your-face view of the Fukuroda Waterfall from the lower viewing deck
An in-your-face view of the Fukuroda Waterfall from the lower viewing deck

This included an in-your-face lower view where we were able to appreciate the reported dimensions as it was not possible to capture the whole falls in one picture.

Either that or you’d have to configure a smart phone in “pano” mode or doing some serious postprocessed stitching in some software like Photoshop after taking a bunch of partial shots.

We were also able to experience more contextual and less overwhelming views from higher platforms as you can see in the photo at the top of this page.

I’d imagine such vantage points would also be best for capturing the koyo with the waterfall together.

Fukuroda Waterfall and the Japan Top 100

The Fukuroda Waterfall was the first waterfall that we visited as part of a return trip to Japan that focused mainly on visiting as many of the registered Japan Top 100 Waterfalls as we could.

Fukuroda_045_10152016 - Fukuroda Waterfall as seen from one of the lower lookouts above the elevator
Fukuroda Waterfall as seen from one of the lower lookouts above the elevator

I especially targeted those waterfalls that I hadn’t seen in person previously.

Unlike most such lists that try to tackle this subjective and surprisingly tricky objective of ranking waterfalls (believe us, we know how hard this can be), the Japan Top 100 Waterfalls list actually has a bit of an official feel to it.

This was because we saw interpretive trail signage (typically in kanji though) that would let visitors know that it was gazetted into such a list.

This occurred on almost all such waterfalls we encountered, including the Fukuroda Waterfall.

Fukuroda_080_10152016 - Partial view of the lower sections of the Fukuroda Waterfall as seen from the area by the suspension bridge
Partial view of the lower sections of the Fukuroda Waterfall as seen from the area by the suspension bridge

It’s very rare to see such a list be recognized in this manner, but it underscored the backing or legitimizing by the Japanese government of this list.

Upon further research on the matter, we learned that the Japan Top 100 Waterfalls List was rubber-stamped by the Ministry of the Environment since 1990.

This explained the seemingly legitimate and official nature of the list as apparently this recognition went back at least a couple of decades!

Experiencing the Fukuroda Waterfall – from the Takimoto Bus Stop to the Entrance

As for our experience of the Fukuroda Waterfall, we used the public transportation system from Tokyo as a long out-and-back day trip.

Fukuroda_003_10152016 - Just as we were dropped off at the bus stop at Takimoto, we then walked in this direction to pursue the Fukuroda Waterfall
Just as we were dropped off at the bus stop at Takimoto, we then walked in this direction to pursue the Fukuroda Waterfall

We’ll go into more of the logistics in the directions, but we’ll describe how we walked to the falls after we were dropped off by the public transport at the nearest drop-off point.

So starting from the Takimoto stop where the local bus dropped us off, we walked east (upstream direction) along the road flanking the southern banks of the Takigawa (or Falls River).

On the day we visited (which was a Sunday), there were lots of people so it was pretty straightforward to know where to go.

However, without such visual clues and with the language barrier, it can be disorienting.

Fukuroda_009_10152016 - The roughly 1km walk from the Takimoto Bus Stop to the Fukuroda Falls entrance passed through yakitori stands, shops, and cafes
The roughly 1km walk from the Takimoto Bus Stop to the Fukuroda Falls entrance passed through yakitori stands, shops, and cafes

In any case, we wound up walking along the road for just under 1km as we started to notice more shops, cafes, and quite a few yakitori road stands.

Eventually, we’d come to a bridge, where we saw most of the people cross it then continue along the road on the other side of the river.

It turned out that it didn’t matter which side of the river we walked on because the path would ultimately loop.

However, we’ll continue describing our experience after crossing the bridge and continuing east.

Fukuroda_013_10152016 - Dad and Mom walking past this attractive garden area while following the blue signs to the entrance of the Fukuroda Waterfall complex
Dad and Mom walking past this attractive garden area while following the blue signs to the entrance of the Fukuroda Waterfall complex

By now, there were even more shops and cafes leading further east upstream along the northern banks of the Takigawa River.

We’d eventually see an arrowed signpost (in kanji) letting us know that the Fukuroda Waterfall was to our left at the next junction.

The path then switchbacked up a ramping paved incline (going past a terraced stair-stepped garden with signage urging visitors not to take a shortcut through this garden) before finally getting to an entrance booth.

This was where we paid about 300 yen per person (as of October 2016) to proceed further.

Experiencing the Fukuroda Waterfall – inside the touring area

Fukuroda_019_10152016 - Walking through the neon-lit tunnel within the Fukuroda Waterfall complex
Walking through the neon-lit tunnel within the Fukuroda Waterfall complex

Just beyond the ticket booth, the upsloping paved path went into a 276m tunnel that had interesting (almost night club-like) fluorescent lighting within it.

The tunnel had a couple of small shrines as well as a series of junctions.

There were four junctions on the right and one on the left. The first junction went to a so-called “Lover’s View” which was just a view of the Takigawa without a view of the falls.

The second junction descended to a suspension bridge with a partial angled view of the Fukuroda Falls.

Fukuroda_022_10152016 - Looking towards one of the shrines inside the tunnel of the Fukuroda Waterfall complex
Looking towards one of the shrines inside the tunnel of the Fukuroda Waterfall complex

Beyond the bridge, the path looped back towards the town as well as providing trail access to the upper trails along some very long and steep steps.

Back inside the tunnel, the third and fourth junctions went to the lower viewing deck, which was where we got our up-close in-your-face view and essentially got our first taste of the Fukuroda Waterfall.

The junction on the left went to an elevator that led up to the upper viewing decks.

The lower deck was close enough to the falls to feel some of the spray.

Fukuroda_023_10152016 - Context of the lower viewing deck with an in-your-face view of the Fukuroda Waterfall
Context of the lower viewing deck with an in-your-face view of the Fukuroda Waterfall

I’m sure that under higher flow, it would be harder to take photos due to the amount of spray that would be blasting the sheltered concrete deck.

The lower deck’s viewing area was wide enough to accommodate dozens of people without really getting in each other’s way.

When we had our fill of this view, we then queued up for the elevator, which took us out of the tunnel and onto the upper viewing platforms.

The way they labeled the walking path, they had us immediately go up the steps to the uppermost viewing decks.

Fukuroda_060_10152016 - Context of one of the lower viewing decks of the Fukuroda Waterfall above the elevator
Context of one of the lower viewing decks of the Fukuroda Waterfall above the elevator

That was where we were able to get the photo you see at the top of this page.

The viewing space was more limited than the lower deck (especially with the foliage below blocking parts of the falls) so we had to wait our turn up there.

We then slowly experienced the middle and bottom of the upper viewing decks before going back down the elevator.

From the tunnel, we then took the descending path that connected with the suspension bridge, which was pretty bouncy.

Fukuroda_110_10152016 - Context of the suspension bridge and lower viewing deck at the Fukuroda Falls
Context of the suspension bridge and lower viewing deck at the Fukuroda Falls

On the other side of the bridge, we had a choice of going up a steep series of steps or continuing on the flatter path that wound up completing the loop by returning to the road we had walked earlier from the Takimoto bus stop.

Experiencing the Fukuroda Waterfall – the upper trails and the walk back to Takimoto Bus Stop

My parents and I ultimately decided to take some time to go up the steep steps from the far side of the suspension bridge.

The steps were extensive enough and steep enough to cause us to sweat quite a bit from the workout.

And given the amount of time and effort it took to scale most of the steps, we didn’t make it to any of the destinations that the upper trails would’ve taken us.

Fukuroda_090_10152016 - Looking up at the steps leading towards the top of the Fukuroda Waterfall and some nature trails possibly to other bonus waterfalls
Looking up at the steps leading towards the top of the Fukuroda Waterfall and some nature trails possibly to other bonus waterfalls

Heck, we didn’t even get to the end of the climb before turning back near the top of the falls after nearly 15-20 minutes of climbing.

In hindsight, had we persisted for another 10-20 minutes more, then we might have had an opportunity to see an upper waterfall upstream of Fukuroda Falls.

We might have also been able to witness the spring where the Takigawa would emerge from the mountain.

My parents and I wound up spending a little over 1.5 hours in the area.

Fukuroda_100_10152016 - Partial view over the top of the Fukuroda Waterfall while we explored the trails climbing higher above the main viewing areas
Partial view over the top of the Fukuroda Waterfall while we explored the trails climbing higher above the main viewing areas

However, given the train schedule, we probably could have spent an additional hour more before returning to the bus stop.

The minimum hiking (or more like walking) distance was probably on the order of about 2.7km round trip.

I’m sure if we self-drove, then the walking distance might be a little less than that as we noticed car parks closer to the falls than the Takimoto bus stop.

Authorities

The Fukuroda Waterfall resides in the Okukuji Recreation Forest near Daigo of the Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. It is administered by the Ibaraki District Forest Office. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Fukuroda_007_10152016 - On our walk from the Takimoto bus stop to the Fukuroda Waterfall, it was reassuring that we started to pass more of these cafes, yakitori stalls, and shops as we knew we were headed closer to the waterfall at this point
Fukuroda_010_10152016 - We also knew that there would be lots of people on the path to the Fukuroda Waterfall during the Sunday we showed up, which helped to assure us that we were going the right way
Fukuroda_012_10152016 - This was the first signage we saw during our visit confirming that we were on the right path to the Fukuroda Falls
Fukuroda_018_10152016 - After paying our entrance fee, we then entered this tunnel into the Fukuroda Waterfall complex
Fukuroda_028_10152016 - From the lower viewing deck, this was the in-your-face view of the Fukuroda Falls
Fukuroda_029_10152016 - This was the other shrine we saw inside the tunnel of the Fukuroda Waterfall complex. It was near the last junction on our right
Fukuroda_032_10152016 - After going up the elevator then up to the top of the steps, this was what the middle viewing deck for the Fukuroda Waterfall looked like from the top
Fukuroda_034_10152016 - This was the view from the uppermost viewing deck of the Fukuroda Falls
Fukuroda_046_10152016 - View of the Fukuroda Waterfall from the penultimate highest viewing deck above the elevator
Fukuroda_058_10152016 - This was the view from the lowest of the above-the-elevator viewing decks of the Fukuroda Falls
Fukuroda_071_10152016 - Looking from the area before the suspension bridge towards the bottom half of the Fukuroda Waterfall
Fukuroda_082_10152016 - After finishing up the main lookouts of Fukuroda Falls, we then went across the tunnel then across this bouncy suspension bridge
Fukuroda_083_10152016 - Looking back at the alternate entrance to the tunnel (by the suspension bridge) had we walked the loop in the opposite direction
Fukuroda_094_10152016 - On the opposite side of the suspension bridge, there were steep steps leading a long ways above the Fukuroda Falls.  Towards the top of these steps, you can see the steepness (and unevenness) of the steps
Fukuroda_109_10152016 - A look down at how far up we had gone up those steps before turning back and going back down again after seeing the top of the Fukuroda Waterfall
Fukuroda_115_10152016 - Mom and Dad following the trail past some giant boulders as we were making our way back to the Takimoto Bus Stop and completing the loop walk at the Fukuroda Waterfall

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We visited the Fukuroda Waterfall as part of a long out-and-back day trip from Tokyo.

The thinking was that since we were ultimately going to go west of Tokyo on our trip, I didn’t want to deal with driving through the Tokyo congestion (it’s a huge city that even merges with neighboring cities like Yokohama among others).

Moreover, the parking situation would be a hassle (due to lack of availability as well as cost) so we’d delay picking up the rental car until we got out of the greater Tokyo area later on in the trip.

To further complicate our experience, we also managed to catch the wrong train from Tokyo to Mito, which ultimately costed us on the order of 2-3 hours of cumulative delay for the entire day.

This was due to the infrequency of the JR Suigun Line.

In hindsight, I probably would have self-driven from Narita Airport to Fukuroda anyways or perhaps even flown directly to Fukuroda itself to save on time.

Fukuroda_118_10152016 - Given that the train tracks at the rural Fukuroda Train Station were single-track, it's no wonder why the local trains on the JR Suigun Line were pretty infrequent (almost once every 90 minutes to 2 hours)
Given that the train tracks at the rural Fukuroda Train Station were single-track, it’s no wonder why the local trains on the JR Suigun Line were pretty infrequent (almost once every 90 minutes to 2 hours)

Nevertheless, since we can only describe the public transport option as that was the way we did it, then this is what we’ll focus on here.

From Tokyo, we had to catch the train to the Tokyo Ueno (上野) Station.

From the Ueno (上野) Station, we then had to catch a special rapid express train (i.e. shinkansen) on the JR Joban Line to Mito (水戸) (make sure you wait at the correct train platform or else you risk doing what we did and wind up taking the wrong train).

Once in Mito (水戸), we had to connect to the local train on the JR Suigun Line (bound for Koriyama or 郡山) to the Fukuroda (袋田) station.

At the Fukuroda (袋田) station, we then caught a local bus to the Takimoto bus stop (costing us about 210 yen per person), where we then proceeded to do the walk as described in the introduction above.

Fukuroda_119_10152016 - The outside of the small Fukuroda Train Station
The outside of the small Fukuroda Train Station

Just to give you an idea of the time commitments involved (and why I would recommend self-driving instead of taking the train), we’re providing the following pair of timetables.

The first timetable tells you what we should have taken.

The second timetable tells you what we ended up taking.

Note the differences in time resulting from the infrequency of the JR Suigun Line.

For the way we should have taken…

  • Tokyo-Ueno (上野) Station to Mito (水戸) Station on JR Joban Line: leaves 8:00am and arrives 9:18am on shinkansen or special rapid express train. (We also could have taken the train leaving at 7:30am and arriving at 8:50am). Covered by JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
  • Mito (水戸) Station to Fukuroda (袋田) Station on JR Suigun Line: leaves 9:22am and arrives 10:31am on local train. Covered by JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
  • Fukuroda (袋田) Station to Takimoto Bus Stop: leaves 10:35am and arrives at about 10:42am. 210 yen per person.
  • Takimoto Bus Stop to Fukuroda (袋田) Station: leaves 1:10pm and arrives at about 1:17pm. 210 yen per person.
  • Fukuroda (袋田) Station to Mito (水戸) Station on JR Suigun Line: leaves 1:55pm and arrives 3:06pm on local train. Covered by JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
  • Mito (水戸) Station to Tokyo-Ueno (上野) Station on JR Joban Line: leaves 3:22pm and arrives 4:39pm on shinkansen or special rapid express train. Covered by JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
Mito_030_10152016 - Having taken the wrong train to the Mito Station from Tokyo, we wound up getting to know the Mito Station a lot better than we had anticipated
Having taken the wrong train to the Mito Station from Tokyo, we wound up getting to know the Mito Station a lot better than we had anticipated

For the way we ended up doing it (i.e. the incorrect way)…

  • Tokyo-Ueno Station to Mito Station on JR Joban Line: left 7:32am and arrived 9:44am on rapid express train (it wasn’t the special rapid express shinkansen train that we should have taken).
  • Mito Station to Fukuroda Station on JR Suigun Line: left 11:15am and arrived 12:29pm. (note this was the next train after the one we missed at 9:22am)
  • Fukuroda Station to Takimoto Bus Stop: left 12:30pm and arrived 12:37pm.
  • Takimoto Bus Stop to Fukuroda Station: left 2:10pm and arrived 2:17pm. Given the train schedule, we could have waited to take the 3:10pm bus to get to the station at 3:17pm.
  • Fukuroda Station to Mito Station on JR Suigun Line: left 3:42pm and arrived 4:55pm. (note this was the next train after the one we missed at 1:55pm)
  • Mito Station to Tokyo-Ueno Station on JR Joban Line: left 5:27pm and arrived 6:37pm on non-stop shinkansen or special rapid express train.

Finally, just to give you an idea of how much more flexibility we would have had if we self-drove, we could have picked up the rental car from the Narita Airport.

Then, we would have driven north on the Joban Expressway to the Route 118.

We then would continue north on the Route 118 to the Route 324 turnoff in the town of Fukuroda, and then follow the 324 to its end.

This would have taken us around 2 hours in each direction.

Long video showing the context of the lower lookout including the sheltered deck and the tunnel before focusing on the falls itself


More elevated perspective of the waterfall from the top two lookout decks

Tagged with: daigo, mito, fukuroda, waterfall, ibaraki, japan, top 100, omiya, takigawa



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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