About Mogami Shiraito Waterfall (mogami-shiraito-no-taki [最上川白糸の滝])
The Mogami Shiraito Waterfall (mogami shiraito-no-taki [最上川白糸の滝]; Mogami “White Thread Falls”) was a tall waterfall spilling right into the wide Mogami River.
Although there are many waterfalls around Japan with the name shiraito meaning “white thread”, I added “Mogami” to its name to distinguish it from the others.
By the way, the Mogami River is one of the widest and longest rivers in Japan with Rhein-like characteristics such as supporting transport boats, including sightseeing river cruises.
The Mogami Shiraito Falls is said to drop 120m towards a torii gate sitting across the Mogami River from the rest stop along the Route 47.
It’s said to be the largest of 48 waterfalls located within the Mogami Valley, and it’s perhaps one of the reasons why it was named one Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls by the Ministry of the Environment in 1990.
In theory, this waterfall should be easily seen across from across the Mogami River rest stop.
However, there seemed to be a concerted effort to limit the views from the outside unless you take a riverboat cruise on the Mogami River.
The only frontal views that we’ve found were from a sitting area within one of the shops where you can get a good look at the falls through a floor-to-ceiling window.
That means if you want pictures of it, you’ll have to contend with glare.
Meanwhile, viewing waterfalls indoors somehow takes away from the how waterfalls are meant to be enjoyed, which is outdoors!
Now while we did manage to get some views from the outside, they were very limited and perhaps unsanctioned (plus the rain also didn’t help our cause of lingering longer).
Prior to our visit to Mogami Shiraito Falls, I recalled studying the Gaia GPS topo map to see if it was possible to hike to the base of the falls.
It did appear that there was a path along the north side of the river leading closer to the waterfall, but upon seeing this place in person, I realized that the path appeared to be for some kind of hydroelectric contraption.
Therefore, that access was not public, and it pretty much comes down to doing the riverboat cruise or seeing it from afar across the river at the rest stop.
Interestingly, another waterfall not far from Sakata called Tamasudare Falls wasn’t on the Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls List.
To be honest, I thought that waterfall should have gotten the nod over this waterfall for a place on that list.
That said, perhaps since that list was made over 30 years ago, maybe the Shiraito Mogami experience was different back then…
The Mogami Shiraito Waterfall resides near the town of Tozawa in the Mogami Valley between Sakata and Obanazawa in the Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. It may be administered by the local authorities of Tozawa Village. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Official Mogami Regional Tourism Council website.
You can easily route to the “Shiraito Falls drive-in” (白糸の滝ドライブイン) on GoogleMaps, which is a well-established waypoint along the National Route 47.
There’s a large sign as well as a pretty large car park between the river and the Route 47 accommodating both buses and cars.
For more information about this rest stop or “drive-in” (e.g. hours or what’s sold in the cafes and shops here), you can visit their website.
Just to give you an idea of the driving times, it took us a little over a half-hour to get to the rest stop from Sakata.
It would take us around an hour to get there from Ginzan Onsen (or roughly 45 minutes from Obanazawa; as we had gone in the opposite direction).
For some geographical context, Sakata was 75km (under 90 minutes drive) northwest of Obanazawa, about 69km (under 90 minutes drive) south of Yurihonjo, 115km (under 2 hours drive) northwest of Yamagata City, 109km (under 2 hours drive) south of Akita, 176km (about 2.5 hours drive) northwest of Sendai, 160km (over 2.5 hours drive) north of Niigata, and 497km (about 6.5 hours drive) north of Tokyo.
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