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: about 2-2.5km round trip (both falls and all lookouts)
Suggested Time: allow at least 1 hour (both falls and all lookouts)

Date first visited: 2009-05-27
Date last visited: 2023-07-24

Waterfall Latitude: 35.31293
Waterfall Longitude: 138.58745

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

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 on our first visit in May 2009 (back then, it was a little off the beaten path on the western slopes of Mt Fuji).

Shiraito_Fuji_147_07232023 - Mt Fuji seen together with the Shiraito Waterfall
Mt Fuji seen together with the Shiraito Waterfall

However, when we got wiser and self-drove to this place 14 years later in July 2023, we were treated to hot weather that also revealed to us that it was possible to witness the Shiraito Falls together with Mt Fuji!

Moreover, the Otodome Falls and Shiraito Falls each had some unique characteristics about them, and we’ll delve right into these traits as well as how experiencing these falls had changed over the years.

About the Shiraito Waterfall

The Shiraito Waterfall was different in that it was a very wide percolating series of springs (said to be 150m long) appearing like weeping walls through moss and other foliage.

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

Shiraito_057_05262009 - The main part of Shiraito Falls seen from the plunge pool during our first visit back in May 2009. We found out on a subsequent visit 14 years later that you can't legally get this perspective anymore
The main part of Shiraito Falls seen from the plunge pool during our first visit back in May 2009. We found out on a subsequent visit 14 years later that you can’t legally get this perspective anymore

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

On our first visit to the Shiraito Falls in May 2009, there were buildings closer to the gorge containing this waterfall, and this included a shop right across the plunge pool from the falls itself.

Back then, the shops and cafes kind of kept this place from being completely peaceful and naturesque, but when we came back 14 years later, all the buildings were either re-located or gone.

I suspect that a series of rock falls and landslides demonstrated the folly of building so close to the falls, and thus it made sense to not roll the dice with Nature by not building there anymore.

Shiraito_032_05262009 - Context of the Shiraito Waterfall and bridge fronting it as seen in May 2009
Context of the Shiraito Waterfall and bridge fronting it as seen in May 2009

Nevertheless, after having done this waterfall twice over a span of 14 years, we have to say that the Shiraito Waterfall has to be one of our favorites in Japan, and it certainly deserves to be in our Top 10 Japan Waterfalls List.

Further 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.

About the Otodome Waterfall

As if the Shiraito Waterfall alone wasn’t reason enough for a visit, the Otodome Waterfall was nearby, and this was more of a narrower, classical waterfall with pretty good volume.

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

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

To Julie and I, this was really more of a warm-up to the Shiraito-no-taki act, but it was a legitimate waterfall in its own right (almost reminding me of a smaller version of Snoqualmie Falls.

A sign here indicated that this 25m falls meant “stop the sound”, which also told of a legend behind the name.

Basically, it told of the desire of the Soga Brothers to silence the roar of the waterfall in order to have a moment of quiet and consultation before attempting a revenge killing (for their father’s death).

In any case, 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.”

Shiraito_Fuji_006_iPhone_07242023 - Direct look at the Otodome Waterfall. Notice the fallen infrastructure on the left side of the gorge, which might have explained why the lookouts were limited and the shops were relocated during our July 2023 visit
Direct look at the Otodome Waterfall. Notice the fallen infrastructure on the left side of the gorge, which might have explained why the lookouts were limited and the shops were relocated during our July 2023 visit

Now like the Shiraito Falls, there used to be shops built right onto the gorge containing the Otodome Falls, but landslides and erosion over time forced the relocation of these shops.

In fact, we saw evidence of fallen infrastructure in the gorge, and the new lookouts were limited to just a couple of spots on the rim fronted by overgrowth.

That said, it did appear that a new viewing platform was being developed as of our July 2023 visit though it’s not clear to me when that will be finished (it didn’t matter to our visit anyway).

The effort of reaching the Shiraito and Otodome Waterfalls

We visited the Shiraito Waterfall and Otodome Waterfall twice over a span of 14 years, where the first time was via public transport while the second time was by self-driving.

Shiraito_130_05262009 - Context of the Shiraito Waterfall with the viewing area and walkways before it as seen in late May 2009
Context of the Shiraito Waterfall with the viewing area and walkways before it as seen in late May 2009

In both instances, we were staying in Kawaguckiko so that served as our base for taking a bus or self-driving.

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

That said, realize that via public transport, this took the better part of a day (definitely longer than a half-day) to work with the infrequent bus schedules (something the visitor center in Kawaguchiko even advised us against doing).

Conversely, it took us around an hour to self-drive in each direction while we spent between 1-2 hours leisurely exploring as much of both the Shiraito and Otodome Falls as we could.

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

Therefore, it’s a good idea to budget at least 3-4 hours for this excursion if afforded the flexibility and freedom of self-driving.

As for the the walk to experience both waterfalls, the Otodome Falls was about 200m from the car park while the Shiraito Falls was about 450m from the car park.

There are many options for extending a visit or shortening it to just a few lookouts before leaving, and in my personal example, I did a 1km loop spending the better part of nearly 2 hours (mostly to stop and take lots of photos).

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_Fuji_164_07232023 - Wide look at the Shiraito Waterfall from the Takimibashi Bridge. Notice the lack of buildings around the waterfall during this July 2023 visit, which contrasted mightily with our late May 2009 visit
Wide look at the Shiraito Waterfall from the Takimibashi Bridge. Notice the lack of buildings around the waterfall during this July 2023 visit, which contrasted mightily with our late May 2009 visit

After getting to the bottom and crossing the Takimibashi Bridge to get to where the Shiraito Waterfall viewing area was, there was also a climb up to an observation deck that afforded me a view of both Mt Fuji and Shiraito Falls together.

Beyond the observation deck, the trail continued on a much longer loop through a quieter part of the Shiraito Falls Park, but this deck was my out-and-back turnaround point, which made the overall walking distance on the order of 1km.

While there were more buildings and more opportunities to get close to each of the waterfalls on our first visit, on our second visit, we couldn’t have as intimate of an encounter with these falls given the barriers were more set back.

Anyways, most of the shops were re-located to an open area closer to the nearest car park a bit upstream from the Otodome Falls.

Shiraito_084_05262009 - Looking back away from the Shiraito Waterfall revealing the extent of its reach (and thus its overall size) as seen in late May 2009. Notice that the building is no longer there during our July 2023 visit
Looking back away from the Shiraito Waterfall revealing the extent of its reach (and thus its overall size) as seen in late May 2009. Notice that the building is no longer there during our July 2023 visit

Finally, while the Shiraito Falls and Otodome Falls were already somewhat popular on our first visit with Japanese visitors, our second visit 14 years later definitely had a more international feel.

I’m pretty sure that this is one of those places that blew up on the socials over the years so you’re likely to be sharing the experience with lots of people (both foreign and domestic).

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.

Shiraito_Fuji_013_07232023 - Looking towards Mt Fuji on the way down to both the Otodome Falls and the Shiraito Falls during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_018_07232023 - Relocated shops further upstream of the Otodome Waterfall (where they once stood) as seen during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_022_07232023 - The old lookout for Otodome Falls was now limited to queueing up for this elevated spot to see above the overgrowth fronting the familiar waterfall and plunge pool as seen during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_024_07232023 - Looking towards a large grassy area where I'd imagine the shops and lookouts once stood besides the Otodome Falls
Shiraito_Fuji_025_07232023 - People making the most of their limited opportunity to take a picture of the Otodome Falls given the temporary lookout arrangement as seen in July 2023
Shiraito_Fuji_026_07232023 - Rainbow in the mist above the Otodome Waterfall as seen from the temporary lookout during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_029_07232023 - Broad look at the Otodome Waterfall and its oblong plunge pool as seen from the temporary lookout during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_032_07232023 - Another look at the queue to see the Otodome Falls during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_037_07232023 - Looking back at the lawn area and some of the shops still standing around the Otodome Falls area as seen during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_038_07232023 - One of the shops located between the Otodome Falls Lookout and the Shiraito Falls as seen during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_042_07232023 - Frontal look at the Otodome Falls during our July 2023 visit, but notice the fallen infrastructure at the bottom of the gorge to the bottom of this picture
Shiraito_Fuji_046_07232023 - It looks like they're working on a new stepped lookout deck to improve the Otodome Falls Viewing Experience compared to how we saw it in July 2023
Shiraito_Fuji_048_07232023 - Descending towards the Shiraito Falls during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_052_07232023 - There used to be a building down here, but now there's nothing more than a viewing area and a relocated bridge before the Shiraito Falls during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_060_07232023 - Crossing the bridge to get into the shadier side of the gorge for a less hot experience at the Shiraito Falls in July 2023
Shiraito_Fuji_062_07232023 - Looking downstream towards some kind of infrastructure remnant while standing on the bridge before the Shiraito Falls during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_067_07232023 - While the shadows made things a bit cooler during our Shiraito Falls visit, it did make taking photographs a bit more difficult during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_090_07232023 - Looking back at the far end of Shiraito Falls along with the bridge and the viewing area where a building used to be
Shiraito_Fuji_109_07232023 - Looking down at the closest lookout area without a building that used to be here (but no longer) during our visit to Shiraito Falls in July 2023
Shiraito_Fuji_112_07232023 - While we couldn't access the plunge pool before Shiraito Falls, there was a bit of an interactive 'play' area further downstream as shown here during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_131_07232023 - A slight rainbow in the mist of the furthest springs from the main segments of the Shiraito Falls as seen during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_144_07232023 - Looking towards Mt Fuji along with part of Shiraito Falls as seen from the observation deck during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_032_iPhone_07242023 - Another look at Shiraito Falls and Mt Fuji seen together from the observation deck on the quieter side of the Shiraito Falls complex as seen in July 2023
Shiraito_Fuji_158_07232023 - Another look at the busy context of the viewing area during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_164_07232023 - Taking advantage of the even lighting to get this wide look at the extent of the Shiraito Falls during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_177_07232023 - Looking down at the context of Shiraito Falls and Takimibashi Bridge but without the buildings below as seen during our July 2023 visit
Shiraito_Fuji_187_07232023 - Checking out the cafe right above the brink of the Otodome Waterfall during our July 2023 visit
Fuji_075_05262009 - We had some time to kill before we caught the fairly late bus to Shiraito and Otodome Waterfalls on our late May 2009 visit.  So we walked around the lake Kawaguchiko. Note that this photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery took place on that first visit
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_001_jx_05262009 - Sign explaining the Otodome Waterfall as seen during our late May 2009 visit
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_070_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


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

Since we managed to visit these waterfalls both by public transportation as well as self-driving, we’ll describe how we did each method in this section.

Self Driving from Kawaguchiko to Shiraito Waterfall

Drive_to_Shiraito_Fuji_055_MingSung_07242023 - Following the rural road 71 while glimpsing Mt Fuji on the way to the Shiraito Waterfall
Following the rural road 71 while glimpsing Mt Fuji on the way to the Shiraito Waterfall

As far as driving from Kawaguchiko to the Shiraito Falls, there were a couple of options though they both involved driving the Route 139 through Narusawa to the west.

At that point, we had the option of taking a narrower rural route (Route 71) before rejoining the Route 139 in the northern outskirts of Fujinomiya.

We also could have stayed on the Route 139 the entire way before reaching signs pointing the way to the Shiraito Falls.

Either way, this surprisingly busy drive took us a little over an hour in each direction.

Shiraito_Fuji_003_07232023 - Looking across the car park for the Shiraito Falls with Mt Fuji looming in the background during our July 2023 visit
Looking across the car park for the Shiraito Falls with Mt Fuji looming in the background during our July 2023 visit

By the way, the car park for the Shiraito Falls costed us 500 yen on our July 2023 visit (for a lot that was supervised by quite a few attendants), but I also noticed that right across the street was a quieter lot that charged 300 yen.

So if you’re really pinching yen, then that might be something to consider.

Taking Public Transportation from Kawaguchiko to Shiraito Waterfall

It involved a bit of planning to come to Shiraito Falls via public transportation as buses quite infrequently go out that way.

Think 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 Mt Fuji.

Fuji_022_05252009 - Looking towards the Kawaguchiko Station when we were seeking out a bus to take us to the Shiraito Falls during our late May 2009 visit
Looking towards the Kawaguchiko Station when we were seeking out a bus to take us to the Shiraito Falls during our late May 2009 visit

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 us doing this excursion (though I’m glad we did it anyways despite all the trouble and discouragement).

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.

Fuji_145_05262009 - The bus made a brief stop at the Lake Shoji Inn Village on our way back to Kawaguchiko in the mid-afternoon (demonstrating that this takes the better part of a day when using public transportation)
The bus made a brief stop at the Lake Shoji Inn Village on our way back to Kawaguchiko in the mid-afternoon (demonstrating that this takes the better part of a day when using public transportation)

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 at the time (not sure if that’s still the case now).

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.

As far as driving was concerned, Kawaguchi-ko was 100km (about 1 hour and 15 minutes drive) west of downtown Tokyo (though this doesn’t account for Tokyo’s traffic).

Find A Place To Stay

Downstream to upstream sweep from the familiar vantage point though these days it looks more overgrown and viewing spots are limited (as of July 2023)


Brief sweep showing a more frontal view of the Otodome Falls, which was something we didn't get to do the first time


Left to right sweep of the main falls just as we were about to get onto a bridge


Right to left sweep from the main viewing area in front of the falls itself


Right to left sweep of the falls from the banks of the river beneath the main viewing area


Showing Mt Fuji with part of Shiraito Falls together from the observation deck on the less visited side of the loop trail


Evenly lit downstream to upstream sweep of the falls before examining the springs more closely as seen from the bridge


Brief video showing a distant contextual look at the falls from a lookout by a shop (as of July 2023)


View of the falls from an opening on the cliffside looking down at the scene (as of late May 2009)


Brief bottom up sweep of the impressive falls on the way to Shiraito-no-taki (as of late May 2009)


Broad sweep trying to communicate how wide the main part of the falls is (as of late May 2009)

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



Visitor Comments:

Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...

Comparison January 27, 2022 6:50 pm by Brian Jeppesen - When I first saw this waterfall, I immediately thought of Burney Falls in California. The seepage or maybe weepage was quite similar. Shiraito Falls is much wider. ...Read More

Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

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


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls


How To Build A Profitable Travel Blog In 4 Steps

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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.