About Ryumon Waterfall (ryumon-no-taki [龍門の滝]
The Ryumon Waterfall (ryumon-no-taki [龍門の滝]; “Dragon Gate Falls”) was an attractively wide waterfall spanning the Egawa River that had a bit of a semi-urban feel to it.
It’s said to have a height of about 20-25m with a width that could be as much as 60-65m in times of high flow.
As you can see from the photo above, this waterfall didn’t have high enough flow during our mid-April 2023 visit to appear like a long, contiguous wall of water, but it was still attractive.
Moreover, you wouldn’t know it from all the green surrounding this waterfall, but it was surrounded by shops, a visitor center, the Takiheiji Temple, and even a railway.
It’s this infrastructure and proximity to Nasukarasuyama Town that gave me semi-urban vibes though the presence of vegetation really concealed a lot of the concrete jungle typically found in Japan’s more built-up areas.
Given its position to the east side of Honshu (east of Utsunomiya on Japan’s main island though still in the Tochigi Prefecture), it was a nice short stop for us that was somewhat on the way to the Narita International Airport starting from Nikko.
This waterfall was not considered to be one of the Top 100 Waterfalls of Japan according to the Ministry of Environment in their landmark 1990 publication though it arguably could have belonged on that list.
However, there is actually another waterfall by the same name in the Kyushu Region, which is a part of that list, and that just goes to show you how special the waterfalls must be to belong there.
Experiencing the Ryumon Falls
From one of two car parks nearby the visitor center for the Ryumon Waterfall (see directions below), we basically walked across one of two bridges spanning the Egawa River upstream of the falls itself.
The first bridge was a road bridge leading to the closest car park while the other bridge was a pedestrian bridge sandwiched between some local shops.
Once at the visitor center complex, there was a lollipop loop trail that descended from the visitor center with elevated angled views down towards the impressive waterfall.
At these elevated viewing angles, it’s possible to see the waterfall with passing cars on the access road as well as the odd train on the JR Karasuyama Line.
The loop trail descends towards steps that lead down to a low concrete bridge with holes in it to let water go past, but it did look like in times of high flow, this bridge could be inundated with the Egawa River.
Given the lower flow of our visit, however, we were able to walk right onto a dry “island” in the middle of the river right in front of the main section of the Ryumon Falls.
We were also able to walk all the way across the river for a different perspective as well as the chance to see the falls with a remnant bloom of flowers.
After having our fill of the short lollipop loop route, we then went to the visitor center, where they had a terrace yielding a pleasing elevated and angled view down to the Ryumon Falls.
That terrace even included a purple door that might be useful for YouTube or TikTok videos (something our daughter figured out and got Julie to put into her Instagram Reels).
In any case, that was the extent of our visit, which took the better part of a leisurely hour though we easily could have extended it to include a visit to the Taki Shrine.
The Ryumon Waterfall resides near the town of Nasukarasuyama, which was about an hour east of Utsunomiya in the Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. It may be administered by the Nasukarasuyama City Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Nasukarasuyama Tourism Association website.
The Ryumon Waterfall resides by the Nasukarasuyama Town in the Tochigi Prefecture, and it’s a pretty easy “virtually roadside” attraction.
There are many ways to get here, but the key thing is to route your GPS (if you’re self-driving) to Nasukarasuyama, and then follow its access road towards Taki (there might even be a sign pointing the way by this point).
Moreover, if you’re taking public transportation, we noticed that there was a train station stop at Taki on the JR Karasuyama Line, which you could also take and then walk here as well as back to the station or to Nasukarasuyama Town.
Anyways, the route we took from Nikko involved driving on the E81 Expressway (or Route 119) towards Utsunomiya.
Then, we followed this expressway to its end, where the Route 119 continued as local city streets towards the Route 4 before turning left to follow the Route 4 towards its fork with the Route 10.
Keeping right at the fork to continue on the Route 10, we then drove ???km to a turnoff (there’s a sign for Ryumon Falls at this time), and we took this access road for ???km to a bridge and spllover car park space.
Technically, we could have driven over this bridge where there’s another car park right next to the Ryumon Falls Visitor Center.
Overall, this drive took us about 70 minutes give or take.
For some geographical context, Nasukarasuyama (or just Karasuyama) was about 30km (45 minutes drive) northeast of Utsunomiya, 55km (about 1 hour drive) east of Nikko, 51km (over an hour drive) northwest of Mito, 123km (over 90 minutes drive) south of Koriyama, 143km (over 2 hours drive) north of Narita International Airport, and 164km (about 2.5 hours drive) north of Tokyo.
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