Oshinkoshin Waterfall (Oshinkoshin-no-taki [オシンコシンの滝])

Utoro / Shiretoko National Park, Hokkaido, Japan

About Oshinkoshin Waterfall (Oshinkoshin-no-taki [オシンコシンの滝])


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2009-06-07
Date last visited: 2009-06-07

Waterfall Latitude: 44.03817
Waterfall Longitude: 144.93536

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The Oshinkoshin Waterfall (Oshinkoshin-no-taki [オシンコシンの滝]) was a very beautiful wide fan-type waterfall that was kind of split in the middle by a tree-covered rock as the water made it way into the Sea of Okhotsk not much further downstream.

In a way, Julie and I thought of it as a precursor to the gorgeous and naturesque beauty of Shiretoko National Park as this waterfall was for all intents and purposes right at its doorstep!

Experiencing the Oshinkoshin Waterfall

Oshinkoshin_009_06062009 - The Oshinkoshin Waterfall
The Oshinkoshin Waterfall

From the elongated roadside car park (see directions below), we walked up a short but wide stairway terminating at the misty front of the falls.

The higher up we went on the steps, the more mistier it got so most of the photos we took of it were at an angle looking from the bottom up.

In order to get full frontal shots of the falls, we would’ve needed a very wide angle lens as well as some luck since the swirling mist most certainly got our camera lenses wet.

Julie and I weren’t sure if there was another way to get different views of this waterfall from its top.

Oshinkoshin_023_06062009 - Context of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall and the steps before it
Context of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall and the steps before it

We made this speculation because we did see what appeared to be railings up there.

If true, then in hindsight, we probably should’ve taken the time to look for a way to go up there so we could experience a top down perspective of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall backed by the Sea of Okhotsk.

Further adding fuel to our speculation, I thought I did notice some photo to that effect on some tourist brochures.

On the other side of the road (definitely have to cross it carefully as cars quickly speed on this stretch of highway), we could see what was left of the cascading stream spilling right into the sea.

Oshinkoshin_021_06062009 - Looking past the bottom of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall back towards the Sea of Okhotsk from the base of the falls
Looking past the bottom of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall back towards the Sea of Okhotsk from the base of the falls

The rocky coastline limited what we could see up and down the coast, but given how cold it was up here, this was certainly no place for a swim!

Nomenclature and the Ainu of Japan

The name of the falls was actually an Ainu word, which might explain why there are so many characters in its written name in Japanese.

I suspect most of those characters were probably sound characters to aid in its pronunciation.

We’re not sure what its meaning was though.

Akan_Kohan_012_jx_06092009 - Ainu heritage on display at the Akan Kohan further south of Shiretoko in the southeast of Hokkaido
Ainu heritage on display at the Akan Kohan further south of Shiretoko in the southeast of Hokkaido

The Ainu were natives of Japan, especially in the Hokkaido region.

In a way, it was almost analogous to how one might see the influence and/or presence of Eskimos in Alaska or Sami people in northern Scandinavia.

The Ainu were part of the heritage of this region of Japan so we noticed a few small towns and museums (including one in Akankohan as well as Sapporo) devoted to these people as we toured throughout much of Hokkaido.

Authorities

The Oshinkoshin Waterfall resides near Shari in the Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan. It is administered by the Shiretoko National Park. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Ministry of the Environment website.

Oshinkoshin_045_06062009 - Contextual look across the road at both the Oshinkoshin Waterfall and the steps next to it
Oshinkoshin_043_06062009 - Approaching the steps leading closer to the Oshinkoshin Waterfall
Oshinkoshin_002_06062009 - Looking up at the steps leading closer to the Oshinkoshin Waterfall
Oshinkoshin_014_06062009 - The Oshinkoshin Waterfall revealing more of itself the higher up the steps I went
Oshinkoshin_016_06062009 - Looking directly at the Oshinkoshin Waterfall
Oshinkoshin_017_06062009 - An even more direct view of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall
Oshinkoshin_018_06062009 - Focused on just the right half of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall
Oshinkoshin_026_06062009 - Looking back at as much of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall as I could see from the steps
Oshinkoshin_040_06062009 - Looking upstream towards the mostly obscured Oshinkoshin Waterfall from the road bridge right before the tunnel
Oshinkoshin_050_06062009 - Looking at the outlet of the Oshinkoshin Waterfall as it joins the Sea of Okhotsk
Utoro_004_06072009 - Twilight view towards the town of Utoro from our accommodation at Dolphin Bay
Utoro_045_06082009 - I can't translate the kanji characters in this sign, but given that it's repeated four times, I suspect it's more of a warning (not to drink the water perhaps) than it is informative.  This waterfall was right in the town of Utoro

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


It took us a brutally long 5-hour drive to get from Asahikawa to Oshinkoshin Waterfall along a combination of Hwy 40 (to get out of Asahikawa), Hwy 39, and Hwy 334.

Unfortunately, the 50km/h speed limit throughout much of the drive didn’t help in that regard.

Oshinkoshin_001_jx_06062009 - The elongated pullout and parking area along the road right before the tunnel by the Oshinkoshin Waterfall
The elongated pullout and parking area along the road right before the tunnel by the Oshinkoshin Waterfall

We switched from Hwy 39 to Hwy 334 at Abashiri, and then continued further east to Shari.

The drive from Shari to Utoro was about an hour or so to the north along the northeastern coastline at a leisurely pace.

Eventually as the Hwy 334 was about to approach a tunnel, we spotted the elongated roadside parking lot for the Oshinkoshin Waterfall on our right.

The car park was large enough to accommodate a bunch of cars and a handful of tour buses.

On the other side of the tunnel, the town of Utoro (the closest civilization to the nearly pristine reserve Shiretoko National Park) sat another 10 minutes further.

Oshinkoshin_001_06062009 - Looking in the other direction towards the tunnel, which was right besides the walking area for the Oshinkoshin Falls
Looking in the other direction towards the tunnel, which was right besides the walking area for the Oshinkoshin Falls

This was where Julie and I based ourselves for exploration of Shiretoko National Park.

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).

Direct look at the waterfall from close up


View of the cascade beneath the falls from the highway bridge

Tagged with: utoro, shiretoko, national park, hokkaido, oshinkoshin, okhotsk, ainu, japan, waterfall



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