Yudaki Waterfall (Yu-daki [湯滝])

Nikko, Tochigi, Japan

About Yudaki Waterfall (Yu-daki [湯滝])

Hiking Distance: 2-3km shuttle
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2009-05-25
Date last visited: 2009-05-25

Waterfall Latitude: 36.79542
Waterfall Longitude: 139.42859

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Yudaki Waterfall (Yu-daki [湯滝]; also seen it spelled Yutaki and just Yu Falls or Yu Waterfall) was a pretty unique-looking waterfall draining the lake Yu-no-ko by the Yumoto Onsen.

The word yu was familiar to Julie and I because we had visited a few Japanese restaurants in Japan (especially ramen or udon joints) and realized from the menus that the word meant something like “hot water” or “soup”.

Yudaki_023_05242009 - The Yu Waterfall (or Yudaki)
The Yu Waterfall (or Yudaki)

This probably had to do with the lake Yu-no-ko having a bit of a sulphur smell as some of its expanse was geothermally heated from beneath as well as added to by other hot spring waters.

For that reason, the Yumoto Onsen (湯元温泉), which was further upstream from the lake, was a pretty popular destination for those wanting to get a little further away from both Nikko and Chuzenji Onsen (中禅寺温泉).

From the quantity of tourists riding in the bus with us all the way to the Yumoto Onsen, that seemed to support the notion that it was popular.

That said, we didn’t take the time to soak in the onsens here so we can’t say more about them.

What really cracked me up about this waterfall was a sign at the car park that said something about appreciating its “feminine qualities.”

Yudaki_041_05242009 - A closer examination of the sign nearby the Yudaki Falls. I think its contents pretty much speaks for itself
A closer examination of the sign nearby the Yudaki Falls. I think its contents pretty much speaks for itself

Even Julie got a real good crack up out of it.

From looking at the photo at the top of this page, we’ll leave it up to you to figure out what they meant by it.

Experiencing the Yudaki Falls

The way we experienced this 70m waterfall was as part of a fairly long but pretty one-way walk starting from Yumoto Onsen and rejoining the bus just downstream near the car park for the Yu Waterfall.

The intent was to build up the waterfall experience by absorbing the picturesque nature here before culminating in the waterfall itself.

However, I must admit that we probably didn’t have to go all the way to the Yumoto Onsen to start the walk.

Yunoko_004_05242009 - The scenic Yu-no-ko Lake had a bit of a geothermal sulphur smell to it, but it also sourced the Yu Waterfall (or Yudaki)
The scenic Yu-no-ko Lake had a bit of a geothermal sulphur smell to it, but it also sourced the Yu Waterfall (or Yudaki)

In any case, we enjoyed the pleasurable hour-long walk around the Yu-no-ko lake to the top of Yu-daki.

We noted that the lake drained into the waterfall itself.

After going down some steps and a couple of switchbacks, we ultimately made it to the viewing platform right in front of the Yu Waterfall, which happened to be crowded with Japanese students when we arrived.

Overall, the experience was very relaxing, very peaceful, and very scenic. What more could you ask for?

But if you were so inclined to reduce the length of this 2-3km excursion, there’s really nothing to stop you from doing it since they do have a bus stop right in front of the Yu Waterfall.

Yudaki_005_05242009 - Julie descending to the bottom of the Yu Waterfall (or Yudaki)
Julie descending to the bottom of the Yu Waterfall (or Yudaki)

In fact, had we visited the falls in this manner, then we probably would’ve given it a 1 instead of a 2 for difficulty rating.

The higher rating reflected the fact that we took a much longer walking route to get here.


The Yudaki Waterfall resides in the Nikko area of the Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. It is administered by the Nikko National Park. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Nikko Tourism Association website.

Chuzenji_001_05242009 - Chuzenji-ko. We saw this lake when we left Kegon-no-taki and continued up the mountain towards the Yumoto Onsen
Yunoko_001_05242009 - Yu-no-ko. this was the lake we walked around from the Yumoto Onsen to the top of the Yu-daki Waterfall
Yunoko_007_05242009 - Julie on the established boardwalk along the shores of Yu-no-ko Lake
Yunoko_008_05242009 - Another look back at the scenic lake Yunoko as we took the longer scenic trail along the lake towards the Yudaki Waterfall
Yunoko_012_05242009 - Looking back in the direction of Yumoto Onsen over Yu-no-ko en route to the Yudaki Waterfall
Yudaki_001_05242009 - Looking over the top of the Yu-daki Waterfall right before descending towards its base
Yudaki_007_05242009 - Context of the steps leading to the bottom of the Yudaki Waterfall
Yudaki_003_jx_05242009 - Finally at the bottom but it was quite crowded down here
Yudaki_018_05242009 - Looking up at the Yudaki Waterfall from the main viewing area at its base
Yudaki_032_05242009 - Angled look back at the Yu-daki Waterfall showing just half of its segmented drop

As for logistics, the buses from Nikko (日光) to Yumoto Onsen (湯元温泉) leave less frequently than the Chuzenji Onsen (中禅寺温泉) route.

That said, it’s roughly on the order of once every half-hour to an hour, which is still very reasonable.

I think it was something like another 30- to 45 minutes to go from the Chuzenji Onsen stop all the way to Yumoto Onsen (though my notes were a little unclear about this).

As for cost, this route is part of the two-day All Nikko Pass, which turned out to be a good value during our time spent in the general area.

For more details on the logistics of getting to Nikko, see the Kegon-no-taki page.

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Looking up directly at the Yu Waterfall

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Tagged with: nikko, tochigi, japan, waterfall, unesco, chuzenjiko, chuzenji, lake, all nikko pass, yumoto onsen, yu-no-ko, chuzenji onsen, geothermal

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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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