Senga Waterfall (Senga-taki [仙娥滝])

Shosenkyo Gorge / Kofu, Yamanashi, Japan

About Senga Waterfall (Senga-taki [仙娥滝])


Hiking Distance: 500m round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2016-10-18
Date last visited: 2016-10-18

Waterfall Latitude: 35.74956
Waterfall Longitude: 138.5662

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The Senga Waterfall (Senga-taki [仙娥滝]; also Sengataki Waterfall or just Senga Falls) was our waterfalling excuse to explore the vertical Shosenkyo Gorge just up the mountains from the city of Kofu.

The waterfall itself was said to be 30m tall though it appeared shorter than that as it reminded me very much of a slightly thinner version of Joren Falls, which was said to be 25m tall.

Senga_Falls_034_10172016 - Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall
Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall

That said, like the Joren Falls, the Senga Falls was also gazetted as one of Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls.

However, the Shosenkyo Gorge which encompassed this waterfall as well as the immediate gorge area both upstream and downstream of the falls dominated most of the scenery here.

The gorge featured impressively tall and vertical cliffs featuring scary-looking overhangs, balanced rocks, and giant boulders as the Arakawa River (荒川) weaved its way down towards the Fujigawa (富士川) or Fuji River.

Thus, after having experienced the Senga Falls, I tended to think of the waterfall as more of a side attraction to the Shosenkyo Gorge, which was something we didn’t realize or appreciate during our trip research.

Experiencing the Senga Waterfall

Senga_Falls_007_10172016 - Looking upstream from a footbridge spanning the Arakawa River while crossing it in pursuit of the Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall
Looking upstream from a footbridge spanning the Arakawa River while crossing it in pursuit of the Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall

The Senga Waterfall was actually supposed to be one of the easiest waterfalls to access and see.

To illustrate how popular and easy this place was, around the nearest trailhead to the waterfall, we saw a tourist village further upstream.

Even the trail itself passed by some cafes and shops selling local gemstones.

Once we finally found the nearest parking spot (see directions below), we merely walked across a road bridge towards the village.

Senga_Falls_015_10172016 - Mom descending the steps that were below the village and leading us into the depths of the Shosenkyo Gorge
Mom descending the steps that were below the village and leading us into the depths of the Shosenkyo Gorge

Then, we made another left beneath a signpost above the archway to go in the downstream direction on the opposite side of the river from the car park.

After passing between the cafes and shops, we then went through a natural-looking gray torii gate before descending some steps.

After a few minutes on these steps, we ultimately passed before the Senga Falls, which came into view during the descent.

If we were content with our visit of this falls, then we could have gone back up and returned to the car park (roughly 300m in each direction).

Senga_Falls_090_10172016 - Context of Mom enjoying the Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall from the steps between the village above and the rest of the Shosenkyo Gorge below
Context of Mom enjoying the Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall from the steps between the village above and the rest of the Shosenkyo Gorge below

Then, the whole excursion could have taken about 15 minutes.

Exploring beyond the Senga Waterfall into the Shosenkyo Gorge

However, curiosity got the better of Mom and I, and we continued walking down the trail to see where it went.

After rounding the first bend downstream of the Senga Falls, that was when we started to appreciate the verticality and overhangs within the Shosenkyo Gorge.

We actually walked as far as the next “developed” area where there was a smaller car park with some smaller food and souvenir stands.

Senga_Falls_045_10172016 - Looking back from within the precipitous Shosenkyo Gorge further downstream from the Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall
Looking back from within the precipitous Shosenkyo Gorge further downstream from the Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall

This area was about 800m from where we parked the car, but that stretch of trail was full of photo opportunities so there was hardly a dull moment.

Thus, our round trip walking distance was 1.6km, and if you’re visiting the falls, I’d highly recommend experiencing this interesting part of the Shosenkyo Gorge in addition to the waterfall.

Even with the extra walking distance, we wound up spending about 45 minutes away from the car.

The trail actually kept going beyond the next “developed” part as there was more to the gorge.

Senga_Falls_082_10172016 - Context of Mom walking back through the overhangs within the Shosenkyo Gorge as we were making our return hike
Context of Mom walking back through the overhangs within the Shosenkyo Gorge as we were making our return hike

So you can easily spend even more time here and fully experience what the gorge had to offer.

Apparently, I’ve seen photos in the literature showing the Shosenkyo Gorge with beautiful koyo (Autumn colors).

Unfortunately, our visit probably happened a week or two too early so we didn’t get the full effect.

Authorities

The Senga Waterfall resides in the Shosenkyo Gorge near Kofu of the Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. It is administered by the Yamanashi Prefectural Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Shosenkyo-Kankoukyokai Tourism website.

Senga_Falls_006_10172016 - Walking along the bridge over the Arakawa River towards the village up ahead which was also the way to walk towards the Sengataki Waterfall and ultimately the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_009_10172016 - Mom and Dad passing beneath the signposted archway leading past some cafes and shops towards the Senga Waterfall
Senga_Falls_011_10172016 - On the way to the Sengataki Waterfall, we showed up late enough for most of the cafes and shops to be closed, but there were still some shops like this one that had their lights on and were open for business
Senga_Falls_014_10172016 - Beyond the shops, we went down this set of steps amongst some giant boulders and cliffs leading to views of the Senga Waterfall
Senga_Falls_026_10172016 - This was our first look at the Senga Falls or Sengataki Falls
Senga_Falls_035_10172016 - Looking towards some kind of notch by the view for the Senga Waterfall
Senga_Falls_040_10172016 - Partial angled view back at the Senga Falls with some downstream cascade as we continued further down into the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_043_10172016 - Walking beneath some scary-looking overhanging cliffs within the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_046_10172016 - Looking along the Arakawa River cutting right through the Shosenkyo Gorge with part of the walkway on the topleft for a sense of scale
Senga_Falls_050_10172016 - It was a good thing we went further downstream in the Shosenkyo Gorge where we got to experience the scenery that the area was famous for.  Indeed, there were lots of vertical scenery along this walk within the gorge
Senga_Falls_052_10172016 - Balanced rocks like this one made us better appreciate why giant boulders could wind up at the floor of the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_055_10172016 - This little 'archway' within the Shosenkyo Gorge was where a couple of rocks were wedged together though I suspect there might have been some help from the trail building as well
Senga_Falls_060_10172016 - Looking back at a rest or picnic shelter along the walkway within the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_063_10172016 - This little developed spot was as far down the Shosenkyo Gorge as we went before turning back
Senga_Falls_065_10172016 - On the return hike, we got to experience the Shosenkyo Gorge scenery all over again
Senga_Falls_067_10172016 - Context of the pleasant walkway hugging the walls of the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_068_10172016 - Mom passing by some shelter again on the way back up the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_073_10172016 - Here's a contextual look at Mom walking the somewhat developed trail through the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_074_10172016 - Mom walking beneath an overhanging rock within the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_075_10172016 - On the return hike, we got to pay a little more attention to cascades on the Arakawa River within the Shosenkyo Gorge like this one
Senga_Falls_079_10172016 - Almost back at the bridge traversing the Arakawa River and taking us to the view of the Senga Falls within the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_081_10172016 - Context of the walkway and the Shosenkyo Gorge as we were getting closer to the Sengataki or Senga Waterfall
Senga_Falls_083_10172016 - Contextual view of the boulder-fringed plunge pool before the Sengataki Waterfall
Senga_Falls_088_10172016 - Back at the Senga Falls again after having explored the Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga_Falls_092_10172016 - Mom walking back up the steps from the Senga Falls up to the village
Senga_Falls_093_10172016 - About to go under the torii gate at the top of the steps above the Senga Falls. Funny how we didn't notice this on the way down.  Perhaps we weren't paying attention at the time
Senga_Falls_095_10172016 - Mom going back through the village and shops after having our fill of the Shosenkyo Gorge and the Senga Falls
Senga_Falls_096_10172016 - Looking upstream from the bridge over the Arakawa River after we were coming back from the Shosenkyo Gorge and Senga Falls

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While the Senga Waterfall was supposed to be one of the easiest and most straightforward waterfalls to see, our Japanese GPS took us on another one of those detours or “joyrides” that almost prevented us from visiting this falls.

Fortunately, we still managed to see this falls while there was still daylight as you can see on this page, but we were running out of time.

So we’ll detail how we should have come up here from the city of Kawaguchiko via the city of Kofu in this section.

We’ll spare you the details of the more roundabout paths that the Japanese GPS took us on.

This waterfall was straightforward enough to reach that we noticed there were public transport options to get here from Kofu.

However, since we didn’t exercise this option, we can’t say anything more about it.

Senga_Falls_005_10172016 - Looking upstream from one of the many bridges spanning the Arakawa River in the vicinity of the Shosenkyo Gorge and the Sengataki Waterfall
Looking upstream from one of the many bridges spanning the Arakawa River in the vicinity of the Shosenkyo Gorge and the Sengataki Waterfall

There were actually a couple of ways we could have done this drive from Kawaguchiko to at least get to Kofu.

The first way was by driving a local highway straight through the mountains and towards Kofu.

Then, we’d go up into the mountains towards the Shosenkyo Gorge.

The second way was by driving the Chuo Expressway then getting off at one of the nearest exits before continuing on local roads into the mountains towards the Shosenkyo Gorge.

We’ll first describe the shorter route before we’ll describe the expressway route.

Senga_Falls_003_10172016 - The car park for the Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall, where we would then walk towards the entrance of the falls from within the nearby village
The car park for the Senga Waterfall or Sengataki Waterfall, where we would then walk towards the entrance of the falls from within the nearby village

Both ways would have taken a similar amount of time, but the expressway route would cost more money given that expressways required tolls and it would probably require more gas given the longer distance.

So for the shortest route from Kawaguchiko, we would have driven on the Route 137 for about 33km as it would pass through the mountains towards the city of Kofu.

Once in Kofu, we’d make our way towards either Road 104 or Road 7 (both via Road 6), which would eventually head north into the mountains where the Shosenkyo Gorge could be accessed.

According to GoogleMaps, this drive be about 50km total and take under 90 minutes barring traffic in Kofu.

Senga_Falls_001_10172016 - The nearest car park for Senga Falls was adjacent to the exit (or entrance depending on your direction of travel) of this tunnel along the Road 7
The nearest car park for Senga Falls was adjacent to the exit (or entrance depending on your direction of travel) of this tunnel along the Road 7

As for taking the Chuo Expressway route, we would have driven on the high speed motorway for about 68km to the Futaba IC rest stop and exit.

Then, we’d make our way towards the Route 106 heading north, then take Route 6 heading east, then finally take Route 7 heading north.

The Route 7 would eventually take us into the mountains and eventually the Shosenkyo Gorge.

While there are other exits around Kofu City, this way would avoid the most traffic.

However, it was also possible to exit at the Kofushowa IC exit (this was the one we wound up taking, and it’s about 4-5km before the Futaba IC rest stop and exit).

That said, this route made us have to navigate through more city streets and traffic lights before finally reaching the Route 7.

In any case, this drive would have taken us around 90 minutes to go the roughly 70km.

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Sweep showing the falls as well as the viewing area and walkway in immediate area

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Tagged with: kofu, shosenkyo, gorge, canyon, waterfall, japan, yamanashi, arakawa, fuji river, top 100



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Johnny Cheng

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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