Refreshing Waterfalls to Beat the Heat
There is something about waterfalls that captivates and beckons us to take a closer look. Perhaps it’s the sight and sound of falling water that refreshes and energises especially in Japan’s humid summer where cooling down even a smidgen is a godsend. While it’s not always apparent, Tokyo is filled with nature, waterfalls and beautiful scenery it’s just that reaching this beauty requires a little effort. Below are ten amazing waterfalls you’ll want to check out this summer.
1. Hyakuhiro Waterfall (Okutama)
A bonus of climbing Mount Kawanori is passing by the rather impressive 40-metre-high Hyakuhiro Waterfall located in a remote corner of Okutama. A beautiful spot to visit at anytime of the year but especially in the humid summer. Give yourself plenty of time as a return hike will set you back upwards of 3 hours.
Access: take a 15 minute bus ride from Okutama Station and get off at the Kawanoribashi bus stop.
2. Mito Otaki Falls (Hinohara Village)
Around a 20-minute walk from the Tokyo Citizen’s Forest finds the Mito Otaki Falls. The waterfall itself is surprisingly high cascading some 33 metres and a suspension bridge allows you to get closer to the action.
Access: from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station take a bus bound for Kazuma / Tomin no Mori (1 hour). Take a free 15 minutes shuttle bus from Kazuma bus stop.
3. Mitsugama Falls (Okutama)
There are few more beautiful places in Okutama than the Unasawa Valley. The main drawcard are three waterfalls including the Mitsugama Falls which snake their way along the Unasawa River downhill of Mount Odake. It’s also a terrific location to visit in the autumn.
Access: from Shiromaru Station cross the Tama River and follow the Unasawa Creek to the Unazawa enchi rest area.
4. Hossawa Falls (Hinohara Village)
Along with being the highest waterfall in Tokyo at 60-metres-high the Hossawa Falls has been designated as one of the “One Hundred Waterfalls of Japan”. The falls are an easy 10-minute walk from the bus stop following a well-worn path.
Access: take a 20 minute bus ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station and get off at the Hossawa no taki iriguchi bus stop.
5. Godan Waterfall (Okutama)
A must for those who like waterfalls and adventure! The 25 metre high, five tiered Godan Waterfall 五段滝 is located along a forestry road in the Kurasawa Valley. When I came across it recently there was no one around making it a great place to chill out. The valley has several excellent waterfalls to savour albeit from a distance as accessing the river bank is not easy to access.
Access: take a 21 minute bus ride from Okutama Station and get off at the Kurasawa bus stop a 1 hour walk.
6. Odake Falls (Hinohara Village)
The Odake Falls are another little-known waterfall in the back reaches of Tokyo worth checking out. The falls are 1.2 kilometres up the road from the Odake Cave with the last 300 metres veering off a hiking trail. The cascades are 30 metres high and given their seclusion means a good chance to enjoy them in peace.
Access: take a 30 minute bus ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station and get off at the Odake Shonudo Iriguchi bus stop.
7. Kotengunotaki Falls (Hinohara Village)
The 10-metre-high Kotengunotaki is the first of three waterfalls which track along the pristine waters of the Senzoku River in Hinohara Village. It’s a 15-minute walk up hill from the from the Senzoku bus stop.
Access: from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station take a bus bound for Fujikura and get off at the Senzoku bus stop (26-minute bus ride).
8. Tenguno Falls (Hinohara Village)
A further 10 minutes up stream finds the 38-metre high Tenguno Falls. The water spilling down the falls divides in the middle and its restrained flow makes it a nice setting to enjoy some peaceful contemplation.
Access: Same as for the Kotengunotaki Falls.
9. Aya Falls (Hinohara Village)
The final of the trio is the Aya Falls another 20 minutes up from the Tenguno Falls. These falls are relatively secluded and a great place to get back to nature near Tokyo.
Access: Same as for the Kotengunotaki Falls.
10. Kongo Falls (Hachioji City)
As the closest of the sightseeing locales the Kongo Falls are in Hachioji City just 40 km west of Tokyo. These little-known falls are quiet, relaxing and a perfect spot to cool off in the summer. They drop 25 metres in two distinct sections, with the higher waterfall at the back accessible by means of a chiselled-out rock tunnel.
Access: from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station the Kongo Falls are about a 50-minute walk.