About Yoro Waterfall (Yoro-no-taki [養老の滝])
The Yoro Waterfall (Yoro-no-taki [養老の滝]; Yoro Falls or Waterfall of Yoro) felt like a popular locals attraction.
It was a 32m high waterfall on the Takidani Stream, and it seemed to be quite the weekend hangout spot as well as one of the Top 100 Japan Waterfalls.
Indeed, it certainly appeared to be the perfect antidote for the heavily industrialized area further down the mountain towards the western outskirts of Nagoya.
We didn’t realize it at the time, but Yoro Park was a varied complex that seemed to cater to people of all ages.
At its base were more city park-like diversions like carnival rides, a golf course, miniature golf courses, a tennis court, playgrounds, and even a camp.
Further up the mountain, the park took on more of a natural feel as we noticed more trees, more shrines, and ultimately the impressive Yoro Waterfall.
So while the Yoro Park and its waterfall were quite popular, we seemed to be one of the few foreign tourists during our visit in October 2016.
Magical Properties of the Yoro Waterfall
It turned out that the popularity of the Yoro Waterfall may have had more to do with the properties of the water itself than the Yoro Park’s diversions.
According to the signage along the trail, the Emperor Gensyo of the Nara Period claimed that the water here would cure any disease as well as reverse aging (a “Fountain of Youth” if you will).
There was a Shinto Shrine built 500m further downstream of the falls in the year 717, which may be related to this history.
I believe we saw that shrine during our short waterfall hike (though there were a few other shrines in the Yoro Park).
In any case, the water was also said to be the key ingredient to the local Yoro Cider.
We didn’t have the fortune of trying it out (as we weren’t aware of it at the time), but maybe we might have a go next time.
Even one legend claimed that the water from this falls could be made into sake.
Anyways, the waters of the Takidani Stream were said to have been filtered through the mineral-laced undersurface of Mt Yoro.
I guess it was these minerals that might have given rise to the healing properties of the water here.
Experiencing the Yoro Waterfall – the Shortest Path
It turned out that our visit of the Yoro Waterfall was probably a more abridged version that what the majority of the people here had experienced.
We began from the nearest car park (see directions below), which involved driving a very narrow and winding towards a pricey private lot.
From that car park, it was only about a 500m walk round trip to the waterfall and back.
The short upside down hike descended along a sloped path as well as some steps before reaching a trail junction near a small shrine.
I wasn’t sure if this was the same shrine that I suspected was the historical one mentioned in the interpretive sign, but we did see a more substantial Yoro Shrine further downhill in the park.
Anyways, going right at this junction, we then descended towards a flat area where there were benches and some yakitori stands.
At the far end of the flat area were some big boulders as well as the plunge pool fronting the Yoro Waterfall.
There was also a little informal memorial next to the pool as well as some more rest benches nearby.
Experiencing the Yoro Waterfall – the Longer and Busier Path
When we became aware that most of the foot traffic was coming from a different trail that led up to the Yoro Falls, we actually spent some time descending a very well-used trail along the Takidani Stream.
Along the way, we noticed an alternate view of the waterfall with some intermediate cascades, which yielded the photo you see at the top of this page.
We also walked by some more buildings as well as a smoking area (which we thought was quite unusual for a forested area like this).
We didn’t make it all the way to the end of this other trail because it turned out that the commercial part of Yoro Park was where the trail went.
That area was ultimately over 2km away in each direction (or 4km round trip).
Had we started the hike from there instead of the nearest car park, then I probably would have changed the difficulty rating to 2.5 or 3 instead of 1.5.
The Yoro Waterfall resides in Yoro Park near Nagoya of the Gifu Prefecture, Japan. It is administered by the Yoro Park on behalf of the Gifu Prefectural Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.
Since we made our visit to the Yoro Waterfall from Inuyama, we’ll first describe the recommended driving directions from there.
We’ll spare you our misadventures as we wound up taking all sorts of detours as a result of missing the key exits, which we’ll definitely warn you about and get to in this section.
The directions from Nagoya would also apply here.
Finally, we’ll describe the directions from the other direction as if we were driving east from the Kansai area like say Osaka or Kyoto.
Driving from Inuyama or Nagoya to the Yoro Falls
From Inuyama (more specifically Inuyama Castle), I’d recommend taking the Highway 21 west towards the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway.
Then, we’d take the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway south towards the Meishin Expressway heading west.
We actually took the Route 41 south from Inuyama Castle to the Inuyama Expressway, and it was so slow and full of traffic that I wouldn’t recommend going this way.
By the way, if you’re driving from Nagoya, I’d take a highway or expressway north of the city towards the Meishin Expressway.
Anyways, heading west from the Ichinomiya Junction (of both the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway and Meishin Expressway), we would then drive west on the Meishin Expressway for about 15km to the Ogaki IC exit.
Then, we’d take the Route 258 south for a little over 4km before turning right onto the Route 213.
After another 5km going west on Route 213, we’d turn left onto Route 56 and go south for about 1km before turning right towards Yoro Park (by now there was clear signage telling us to turn off from the Route 56 here).
Taking this local road for another 500m or so, we then reached a junction.
Signs suggest going right to get up to the Yoro Falls, and this was what we ultimately did.
However, tricky (dare I say deceptive?) signage leading to the Yoro Park, which was behind the signs telling us to turn right at this fork, would have had us go left for another 400m to the entrance to the Yoro Park.
The parking fee here I recalled was 500 yen, and it seemed like this was the tamer and more popular route to get to the falls.
In any case, we took the other way from that fork, which led down a narrowing road for the next 900m before the road really started to climb steeply while also narrowing to single lane.
The remainder of this fairly hairy drive persisted this way for another 2km or so before reaching the end.
Eventually, we’d reach the Yoro Falls Car Park near the top of this hill, where we had to pay a whopping 1000 yen to park here!
Oh well, at least the view towards the industrialized plains in the direction of Nagoya were nice.
All told, this drive (if done right) would have taken us about an hour or more.
Driving from Kyoto to the Yoro Falls
Coming from say Kyoto South IC (south of the city center of Kyoto), we would have driven on the Meishin Expressway for about 98km to the Sekigahara IC exit.
Then, we’d follow the Route 56 all the way to the signed turnoff for the Yoro Park.
Once on the local road, then we’d eventually reach that fork where we could decide where to park.
We could pay 500 yen to park at the Yoro Park then make the 4km round trip hike.
Or, we could park all the way near the falls and pay 1000 yen but reduce the hiking to a mere 500m or so.
The Possibility of Mass Transit from Nagoya to the Yoro Falls
Lastly, given the relative close proximity of the Yoro Waterfall to the city of Nagoya, I do want to make you aware that it’s possible to visit this falls using public transportation.
This can be an attractive option given how much traffic there was in and around one of Japan’s largest cities.
We can’t go into too much detail about it since we didn’t make our visit in this manner, but we heavily considered it when we were planning out this part of our trip.
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