Sakura Waterfall (sakura-no-taki [さくらの滝])

Kiyosato / Sattsuru / Shari District, Hokkaido, Japan

About Sakura Waterfall (sakura-no-taki [さくらの滝])

Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2023-07-17
Date last visited: 2023-07-17

Waterfall Latitude: 43.73199
Waterfall Longitude: 144.52309

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Sakura Waterfall (sakura-no-taki [さくらの滝]; “Cherry Blossom Falls”) was where the Shari River dropped 3.7m over its entire width with a bit of a horseshoe shape across its brink.

While the waterfall had a modest size, it was the salmon run (where the fish tries to jump over the falls to continue further upstream to spawn) that really made the experience.

Sakura_Falls_094_07162023 - The Sakura Waterfall in northeastern Hokkaido
The Sakura Waterfall in northeastern Hokkaido

It turned out that the waterfall was named by the public in 2002, and it was an ode to the cherry salmon species here (called sakura-masu) that can be a pink color like the namesake cherry blossom.

The cherry salmon tends to start off with a silver color in July, but they then gradually become a cherry color in August when the egg-laying season approaches.

The run is said to occur from early June to early August though other sources say it’s more like July, and our visit happened in mid-July so this natural phenomenon didn’t disappoint!

Sakura Falls is located about 7km south of Sattsuru Village though signage for it was not easily seen until we were already on the narrow spur road leading to it (see directions below).

Sakura_Falls_010_07162023 - The context of the viewing area where people were getting a kick out of salmon suddenly jumping up on the falls out of the frothing white plunge pool
The context of the viewing area where people were getting a kick out of salmon suddenly jumping up on the falls out of the frothing white plunge pool

Once at the large unpaved car park, it was a short jaunt down to the viewing area right beside the plunge pool fronting the Sakura Falls.

Now because bears naturally live in this part of Japan, it comes as no surprise that sometimes they may try to feast on these salmon (at which time the viewing area may be off limits).

Nevertheless, despite its somewhat obscure nature, Sakura Falls was still popular as we not only saw numerous Japanese visitors, but we also saw gaijin (foreigners) as well.

That said, fishing is banned throughout the Shari River to ensure this natural phenomenon can continue its normal annual cycle.


The Sakura Waterfall resides near the village of Sattsuru and Kiyosato in the Shari District, Hokkaido, Japan. It may be administered by the local authorities at Kiyosato. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Kiyosato Tourist Association website.

Drive_to_Mashuko_007_MingSung_07172023 - During our drive to Sakura Falls, we definitely need to slow down because of the presence of deer along the roads here
Sakura_Falls_001_07162023 - Given the long drives involved to even get to this out-of-the-way part of Hokkaido, I was certainly glad they had port-a-potties even if they were a bit primitive and smelly
Sakura_Falls_002_07162023 - Looking towards the start of the short walk down to the Sakura Falls from the unpaved car park
Sakura_Falls_014_07162023 - Already starting to see salmon jumping up and trying to get over the height of the Sakura Falls
Sakura_Falls_025_07162023 - Another look at the cherry salmon doing their thing trying to scale the Sakura Falls in an effort to spawn further upstream and pass on better DNA
Sakura_Falls_052_07162023 - Another look at the context of people checking out the salmon run at the Sakura Falls
Sakura_Falls_057_07162023 - Just focused on the Sakura Falls and its semi-horseshoe shape on the Shari River
Sakura_Falls_060_07162023 - Another look down at the context of the Sakura Falls and the lookout area in front of it
Sakura_Falls_069_07162023 - Yet another look at the salmon doing their jump up the Sakura Falls
Sakura_Falls_087_07162023 - It can be real addicting trying to both watch and photograph the salmon run, especially trying to time the photograph to see them still in the air in front of the waterfall
Sakura_Falls_104_07162023 - Another closeup of some more salmon doing their jump while trying to capture the whole thing in high ISO on the Sony Mirrorless
Sakura_Falls_004_iPhone_07172023 - Yet another look at a cherry salmon jumping up the Sakura Falls
Sakura_Falls_105_07162023 - Closeup look at a trio of salmon doing a jump up the Sakura Waterfall at the same time
Sakura_Falls_106_07162023 - Julie heading back to the car park after having her fill of the fun time watching the cherry salmon doing their thing at Sakura Falls

The Sakura Waterfall resides near the town of Kiyosato in the Shari District of Hokkaido.

While there are many ways of getting to this rural farmland part of the northeast of the island, I’ll just describe how we’d drive here from the town of Shari.

Drive_to_Sakura_Falls_102_MingSung_07172023 - Driving the rural road with some signage to help guide us along at the decision points to reach the Sakura Falls
Driving the rural road with some signage to help guide us along at the decision points to reach the Sakura Falls

So from the center of Shari, we’d drive south until we reach the Route 244/334, where we’d then head west until both the 244 and 344 split off at an intersection on the southern outskirts of Shari Town.

From this junction, we’d continue south on the Route 344 about 5.4km before the road splits off with the Route 1115.

Keeping left on the Route 1115, we then followed this road for another 17.8km to a turnoff on the left near the Aoba Shrine.

Taking this turnoff on the left, we then drove 750m before turning to the right at a three-way intersection on the east side of the Shari River.

Sakura_Falls_005_07162023 - Looking across the large unpaved clearing acting as the car park for the Sakura Falls, which was surprising busy when we showed up in mid-July 2023
Looking across the large unpaved clearing acting as the car park for the Sakura Falls, which was surprising busy when we showed up in mid-July 2023

Then, we drove south on this access road for the next 1.9km (there ahould be signs for Sakura Falls at this point though they’re small and they tend to be in Japanese).

Finally, we turned right into the large unpaved car park area for the Sakura Falls, where there’s also port-a-potties as well as some signage on the opposite end of the clearing closer to the start of the short walk.

Overall, this drive should take over 30 minutes.

For some geographical context, Kiyosato was about 13km (over 15 minutes drive) southwest of Shari, 48km (about an hour drive) southwest of Utoro, 120km (over 2 hours drive) east of Engaru, 120km (over 2 hours drive) north of Kushiro, 229km (over 3.5 hours drive) east of Asahikawa, and 365km (over 5 hours drive) northeast of Sapporo.

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Video showing elevated and lower lookout views of the falls with cherry salmon trying to jump up the falls

Zoomed in right to left sweep of the falls showing a closer look at the cherry salmon doing their thing

More focused video highlighting the cherry salmon jumping up the falls

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Tagged with: sakura falls, sakuranotaki, sakurano falls, sakurano waterfall, cherry salmon, salmon run, salmon jump, yamame, yamabe, shari, abashiri, kussharo, mashu

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About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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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