Kawanori Valley 川苔谷

In Search of a Cooler Destination

Summer in Japan used to be somewhat tolerable when there was an understanding that it would roll past by early September. Here we are, two-thirds of the way through September, and it continues unabated, thanks to the vagaries of global warming. Not even the aftermath of Typhoon No. 13, which drenched eastern Japan a week ago, offered any meaningful respite. This brings me to the subject of hiking. Rather than hitting a local mountain trail, as one normally does at this time of year, I found myself searching for a refreshing waterfall to cool off. I had initially planned to do an overnight hike during the recent long weekend. However, faced with a forecast of consecutive days with temperatures soaring to 35 degrees, I made the decision to seek a cooler destination.

In search of a new waterfall to check out, I thought to return to the Kanwanori Valley, a short bus ride from Okutama Station and about halfway to the Nippara Shonyudo Limestone Cave. This marked my third visit to the area. The first time was to visit the delightful Hyakuhiro Falls, and on the following occasion, to climb Mt. Kawanori. Along the road to the Hyakuhiro Waterfall, there are a few places to access the river, with the easiest being a small road open to the public and managed by the Tokyo Bureau of Waterworks. From here, you can either head up or downstream via some rough, cladded bridges. I had hoped to photograph the Hijiri Falls, which reside in a concealed pocket accessible from an aluminium ladder from the road. However, this wasn’t to be, as after finding the ladder, I discovered there wasn’t any obvious way down. It’s something that will need some further investigation.

GPX TrackKML Track


Kawanoribashi bus stop entrance.


Early morning sun along the Kawanori Valley.


Enjoying the slightly cooler conditions.

Along the Kawanoridani Stream.

  Access: From Okutama Station, take a bus bound for Kawanoribashi bus stop entrance (15 mins, 290 yen).

  • Nice!

    I never got down to that river despite walking by it many times. I didn’t know those bridges were down there.

    I have fond memories of Kawanori and Hyakuhiro Falls. I had hoped to get there around 2019 but we had that typhoon that closed so much up for so long.

    • Previously, I had glimpsed the path leading down to the river but never ventured to explore it until today. It’s managed by the Tokyo Bureau of Waterworks, and you are allowed to pass through, but there are signs everywhere about not camping and lighting fires. Nice spot but.