About Hagoromo Waterfall (Hagoromo-no-taki [羽衣の滝])
The Hagoromo Waterfall (Hagoromo-no-taki [羽衣の滝]; Hagoromo Falls or “Angel’s Robe Falls”) sat on the western side of Daisetsuzan National Park in the Tenninkyo Gorge.
This one was said to drop some 270m in multiple steps comprised of sheets of water giving it the appearance of an angel’s robe as the kanji translation seemed to hint at (Mom says it’s “feathered clothing waterfall” in Chinese).
Aside from the multitude of man-modified waterfalls scattered around this falls, there was also another natural one 300m further upstream on the Chubetsu River called the Shikishima Waterfall.
Unfortunately, bear activity closed the trail to that one on our first visit (along with strong discouragement from Julie) while landslides definitely shut down that trail on our second visit some 14 years later.
Experiencing the Hagoromo Waterfall – Landslide Aftermath
In the 14 years between our first and second visits to the Tenninkyo Gorge, we noticed that many things have changed regarding the Hagoromo Waterfall experience.
First, the walk from the Tenninkyo Onsen Complex to the waterfall was now 1km in each direction (or 2km round-trip) along a more primitive and undulating forested trail.
The extra hiking distance was a combination of the old car park and the nearest onsen building both being destroyed by a major landslide across the gorge (that also impacted the road bridge) along with the old riverside trail also being obliterated.
Second, the viewing area for the Hagoromo Waterfall is now limited to a streamside opening at what was once a picnic area (before rockfalls now littered the area with giant boulders).
The former trail to a more elevated lookout showing a companion waterfall converging with the main waterfall is also no longer accessible legally.
Moreover, as alluded to earlier, the trail continuing to the Shikishima Waterfall was no longer accessible due to the rockfalls and landslides around the confluence of the Hagoromo Stream and the Chubetsu River.
Indeed, landslides and geological instability seemed to have heavily impacted experiencing this waterfall, and thus the excursion was almost completely different from how it was the first time.
Experiencing the Hagoromo Waterfall – How It Used To Be
Just to give you an idea of how much has changed, here’s a quick run down of how we experienced the Hagoromo Waterfall on our first visit back in June 2009.
From the nearest car park within the onsen complex in Tenninkyo, we followed a very well-developed 600m path alongside a river with a few man-modified waterfalls on it.
We then made it to a bridge spanning a tributary stream just downstream from the Hagoromo-no-taki.
We noticed some signage and a few picnic tables in the area, which suggested to us that it would’ve been a pretty nice place for a picnic (thanks in large part to the view of the waterfall).
However, we weren’t satisfied with this view so we took a spur trail that left the main trail before the bridge, followed alongside a smaller tributary, and then climbed up some stairs.
Once we got to the top of the stairs, we found ourselves at a viewing platform at the spur trail’s end giving us a more direct view of the Hagoromo Waterfall (i.e. the view you see at the top of this page).
It took us about 45 minutes round trip to do this excursion, which was pleasantly quiet and naturesque.
The walk was mostly flat alongside the river with the lone exception being the stairs to the upper overlook.
Shortly after the main trail continued beyond the bridge spanning the Hagoromo Falls’ tributary stream, we were then stopped by a signed barricade indicating the trail’s continuation was closed due to bear activity.
Even though the Shikishima Waterfall was barely 300m from where we were at, we opted not to chance it (though part of me still regretted not doing this).
The Hagoromo Waterfall resides near Asahikawa in the Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan. It is administered by the Daisetsuzan National Park. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Ministry of the Environment website.
It’s about a 30- to 45-minute drive from Asahikawa to the car park at the onsen complex in Tenninkyo.
I believe we took the 1160 then the 213 to go the roughly 42km to get here.
It’s worth noting that landslides have dramatically changed the trailhead area in Tenninkyo so the public car park is now just beyond the last tunnel.
However, a road barricade prevents anyone from driving onto the road bridge that led to the former car park across from the onsen that was once here (before both were badly damaged by a major landslide that still threatens this area).
This has the ultimate effect of extending the hike by another 300-400m in each direction (while also shortening the drive by a similar distance).
For geographical context, Asahikawa was 137km (2 hours by car or 2 hours by train) northeast of Sapporo. Sapporo was about 9.5 hours by train or 90 minutes by flight from Tokyo. It was also possible to fly to Sapporo from Osaka (under 2 hours) or Kobe (2 hours; this was how we did it on our trip).
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