Shiraito Waterfall (Shiraito-no-taki [白糸の滝]) and Otodome Waterfall (Otodome-no-taki [音止の滝])

Fujinomiya / Mt Fuji, Shizuoka / Yamanashi, Japan

About Shiraito Waterfall (Shiraito-no-taki [白糸の滝]) and Otodome Waterfall (Otodome-no-taki [音止の滝])


Hiking Distance: 1-2km round trip (both falls)
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes (both falls)

Date first visited: 2009-05-27
Date last visited: 2009-05-27

Waterfall Latitude: 35.31297
Waterfall Longitude: 138.5873

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The combination of the Shiraito Waterfall (Shiraito-no-taki [白糸の滝]; Shiraito Falls) and Otodome Waterfall (Otodome-no-taki [音止の滝]; Otodome Falls) was one of the more unique waterfall duos in Japan.

This waterfall pair was memorable to Julie and I because of the trouble we went through to access them.

Shiraito_070_05262009 - The main part of the Shiraito Waterfall
The main part of the Shiraito Waterfall

After all, it was a little off the beaten path on the western slopes of Mt Fuji, but we also found some unique characteristics about each of the waterfalls to be memorable as well.

About the Shiraito Waterfall

The Shiraito Waterfall especially was different in that it was a very wide percolating series of weeping walls through moss and other foliage.

The waterfall stretched for such a wide area that there was practically no way any photograph could do it justice and convey its scale.

The stitched photograph you’ll see later on in this page was our best attempt at capturing it, but even that didn’t show the the entire width of the overall waterfall.

Shiraito_032_05262009 - Context of the Shiraito Waterfall and bridge fronting it
Context of the Shiraito Waterfall and bridge fronting it

Although the shops and cafes kind of kept it from being completely naturesque and peaceful, it was still one of our favorite waterfalls in the country.

Adding to the scenic allure of the Shiraito-no-taki was the pool at its base, which exhibited some deep blue colors when the sun came out.

It certainly added a bit of color to the scene.

We also noticed that the relative tranquility of this place attracted both families and groups of respectful elders alike to bask in the unusual waterfall attraction before us.

About the Otodome Waterfall

Shiraito_008_05262009 - The Otodome Waterfall (i.e. 'stop the sound' waterfall), which preceded the Shiraito Waterfall
The Otodome Waterfall (i.e. ‘stop the sound’ waterfall), which preceded the Shiraito Waterfall

Meanwhile, the Otodome Waterfall was just a few paces walk before the Shiraito Waterfall, and this was more of a narrower, classical waterfall.

It plunged into an oblong pool that also exhibited some of that greenish blue color we saw at the larger Shiraito-no-taki.

To Julie and I, this was really more of a warm-up to the Shiraito-no-taki act.

A sign here indicated that this 25m falls meant “stop the sound”.

An old legend here indicated that the Soga Brothers tried to silence the roar of the falls in order to have a moment of quiet and consultation before attempting a revenge killing of their father by a rival named Kudo Suketsune.

Shiraito_001_jx_05262009 - Sign explaining the Otodome Waterfall
Sign explaining the Otodome Waterfall

We could’ve guessed the meaning of the word from looking at the kanji characters as well, where the first two characters also translated into “sound stop.”

The effort of reaching both the Shiraito and Otodome Waterfalls

To Julie and I, the greater effort in experiencing this waterfall involved figuring out how to use the public transport from Kawaguckiko (where we were staying) to get here and back as a day trip.

We’ll get into the specifics of the logistics in the directions below.

As for the the walk to get here from the bus stop, it only took us roughly 20 minutes.

The walk was pretty much all downhill on the way to the Shiraito Waterfall, but it was such a developed walkway that I’d hardly consider it a hike.

Shiraito_049_05262009 - Paying closer attention to the seepage all along the walls around the Shiraito Waterfall
Paying closer attention to the seepage all along the walls around the Shiraito Waterfall

So the walk began with us trying to follow the signs leading the way to the falls.

After a few minutes, it ultimately led us to a side street that was flanked on one side by a series of cafes and ice cream stands while the other side was a stream.

Barely a few minutes beyond this initial set of shops, the path then hit another series of shops (this one contained more souvenirs and crafts than food), but these shops faced in the opposite direction.

And that was because they were facing the Otodome Waterfall where it was visible behind a protective railing lined in front of a couple of these shops.

On its own, this waterfall could’ve easily occupied us, but we knew there was another one to see so we continued on.

Shiraito_130_05262009 - Context of the Shiraito Waterfall with the viewing area and walkways before it
Context of the Shiraito Waterfall with the viewing area and walkways before it

Beyond these shops, we crossed over once more through more shops and cafes where they were primarily facing in the opposite direction again (i.e. the same direction as the first set of shops).

This was when the shops started to thin out as the walking path descended down some steps.

Right before the path descended in earnest, we could see the Shiraito Waterfall in the distance ahead of us.

Once we made it down the steps and the sloping path, the length of the Shiraito Waterfall became apparent as we could already see parts of its percolating falls tumbling next to us.

We then still had to continue walking a short distance to reach the Takimibashi Bridge crossing over the stream of Shiraito-no-taki.

Shiraito_084_05262009 - Looking back away from the Shiraito Waterfall revealing the extent of its reach (and thus its overall size)
Looking back away from the Shiraito Waterfall revealing the extent of its reach (and thus its overall size)

It was from this point forward that the Shiraito Waterfall lined almost uninterruptedly along the surrounding walls to its main section at the head of the small gorge.

There was another building nearby its pretty blue-green plunge pool that contained a handful more shops.

But just beyond the end of the building was a main viewing deck as well as a short scrambling path to get right up to the pretty plunge pool and frontal view of the main part of the waterfall (see photo at the top of this page).

Authorities

The Shiraito Waterfall and Otodome Waterfall reside in the Fujinomiya area of the Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. It is administered by the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Ministry of the Environment website.

Fuji_075_05262009 - We had some time to kill before we caught the fairly late bus to Shiraito and Otodome Waterfalls.  So we walked around the lake Kawaguchiko
Fuji_133_05262009 - During our stroll around the lake, we managed to get this view of Mt Fuji over Kawaguchiko though I'd imagine the skies would be clearer and less hazier under cooler weather than the Summer time
Fuji_140_05262009 - Some interesting trees seen alongside the Kawaguchiko Lake
Shiraito_143_05262009 - Signs indicating the distances to reach both the Otodome Waterfall and the Shiraito Waterfall
Shiraito_003_05262009 - Arriving at the Otodome Waterfall
Shiraito_038_05262009 - Looking down at Shiraito Waterfall and a nearby shop as we approached it
Shiraito_046_05262009 - Looking at the Shiraito Waterfall with the Takimibashi footbridge before it
Shiraito_053_05262009 - Looking alongside the stream up towards Shiraito-no-taki revealing some of the extent of how wide the waterfall is
Shiraito_057_05262009 - View of the clear plunge pool and the main section of the Shiraito Waterfall
Shiraito_076_05262009 - Shiraito-no-taki and colorful pool just as the sun started to come out
Shiraito_098_05262009 - Closer look at the Shiraito-no-taki and its other sections away from the main part
Shiraito_105_05262009 - A family enjoys the Shiraito Waterfall along with its colorful plunge pool
Shiraito_131_05262009 - Looking back at the Shiraito Waterfall as we had our fill and headed back up
Shiraito_136_05262009 - Another look at the Otodome Waterfall on our way out
Shiraito_138_05262009 - Last look back at the Otodome Waterfall
Fuji_145_05262009 - Mt Fuji from its northeast slope as seen from out the bus window at one of the bus stops on the way back to Kawaguchiko from the Shiraito and Otodome Waterfalls

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This Shiraito Waterfall and Otodome Waterfall pair is located on the quieter western slopes of Mt Fuji.

It involved a bit of planning as buses quite infrequently go out that way (say around 5 times a day mostly concentrated between late morning and early afternoon) regardless of whether you’re leaving from Kawaguchi-ko (河口湖, which was where we were staying) or from Fujinomiya (富士宮) to the southwest of Fujisan.

So if we missed the targeted bus departure after lunch, we could’ve been stuck out here for a few hours.

And given the trouble it took to get here, even the info center at the train station at Kawaguchi-ko recommended against doing this excursion, but I’m glad we did it anyways.

So given the nontrivial logistics we had to deal with, the time table below breaks down how we managed to do it (keep in mind we were there in late May so the additional Summer routes weren’t available).

  1. Caught 9:40 bus at Kawaguchi-ko Station (河口湖駅) bound for Shin-Fuji Station (新富士駅)
  2. Arrived at Shiraito-no-taki (白糸の滝) stop at 10:32 and proceeded to sightsee
  3. Caught 13:25 bus back to Kawaguchi-ko Station arriving at 14:25

Even though the itinerary above seemed real straight forward, what was difficult was trying to be flexible enough with our day to accommodate the bus schedule.

In fact, the itinerary above might have been the only way we could do it after studying the schedule for so long.

Moreover, we were stressing about getting off at the correct bus stop since no English was spoken and all the signs were in Japanese kanji.

For additional context, Kawaguchi-ko was around 2.5 hours by bus or train (this route is not on JR network) from Shinjuku Station (新宿駅) in western Tokyo.

View of the falls from an opening on the cliffside looking down at the scene


Brief bottom up sweep of the impressive falls on the way to Shiraito-no-taki


Broad sweep trying to communicate how wide the main part of the falls is

Tagged with: fujinomiya, mt fuji, mount fuji, fujisan, fujiyama, shizuoka, yamanashi, japan, waterfall



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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of 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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