About Shirahige Waterfall (shirahige-no-taki [白ひげの滝])
The Shirahige Waterfall (shirahige-no-taki [白ひげの滝]; “White Beard Falls”) was an attractively wide waterfall spilling into the sky blue Biei River backed by attractive peaks.
This waterfall was actually a wide series of springs emerging from cliffs beneath hot springs resorts at the Shirogane Onsen village.
In a way, it reminded me a lot of Mossbrae Falls near Mt Shasta in Northern California, where the Sacramento River went right in front of its series of springs.
However, in this instance, we got to view the waterfall and the gorge it spilled into from a bridge spanning the Biei River.
By the way, this waterfall should not be confused with the Shirogane Waterfall in Ginzan Onsen within the Yamagata Prefecture.
The Shirahige Waterfall happens to be in the Shirogane Onsen so it can easily be called the Shirogane Waterfall mistakenly.
In any case, visiting the Shirahige Falls was easy as it was a mere 150-200m walk from the car park and bus stop (see directions below) to the bridge above the Biei River.
The top down view over the Biei River and the Shirahige Falls really brings out its context as well as the colors of the water, especially if the weather cooperates and the sun comes out.
I’m sure there can be other ways to get to this waterfall if you happen to be staying at one of the resorts in the Shirogane Onsen town.
Beyond the Biei River Bridge in Shirogane Onsen, there was also a sheltered stepped pathway ascending towards the Tokachidake Volcano Observatory and Information Center.
That path was closed during our visit, but bad weather also kept any of the views of neighboring volcanos and peaks shrouded in clouds.
Nevertheless, we only spent about 35 minutes away from the car.
This waterfall was also a tour bus stop so periodically, the bridge gets inundated with lots of people before they move on.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the blue we saw in the Biei River at Shirahige Falls was the very same one that feeds the man-made (Shirogane or Biei) Blue Pond about 3km further downstream.
That’s a famous, man-made pool with ghostly standing trees that are partially submerged, and the pronounced blue color of the water really reminds me of the alpine lakes of Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan, China.
It’s said that the color of the water is the result of high levels of aluminum hydroxide.
Speaking of man-made interventions, it’s also speculated that the Shirahige Falls may have some degree of man-modification since it sits below the Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel.
So the outflow of the onsen waters of various spas in the Shirogane Onsen town may very well feed this water to further amplify its flow on top of what’s already naturally there.
The Shirahige Waterfall resides in the Shirogane Onsen area near the town of Biei in Hokkaido, Japan. It may be administered by the local authorities of Biei. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Biei Town website.
The Shirahige Waterfall resides in the Shirogane Onsen village near Biei.
From Asahikawa, we would pretty much drive south on the Route 237 towards the town of Biei (roughly 31km).
Once in Biei, we then followed the signs for the Shirogane Onsen, which ultimately took us on the local road 966 heading southeast towards the Shirogane Onsen.
Notice that at around 17km, the signed turnoff for the Shirogane Blue Pond would be on the left (parking there costed us 520 yen according to my notes.
At about 3km later or 20km from Biei, there was a car park and bus stop area between the Shirogane Free Harbour and a couple of buildings all fronting the Daisetsuzan Shirogane Kanko Hotel.
Overall, this drive would take about an hour (it’s about 25km or over 30 minutes drive between Biei and Asahikawa).
For some geographical context, Biei was about 25km (30 minutes drive) north of Nakafurano, 25km (over 30 minutes drive) southeast of Asahikawa, 164km (about 2.5 hours drive) northeast of Sapporo, 262km (about 3.5 hours drive) northeast of Noboribetsu Onsen, and 463km (about 6 hours drive) northeast of Hakodate.
Find A Place To Stay
Related Top 10 Lists
Trip Planning Resources
Featured Images and Nearby Attractions
Visitor Comments:Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...
No users have replied to the content on this page
Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:If you have a waterfall story or write-up that you'd like to share, feel free to click the button below and fill out the form...
No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall