The Waterfalls of Mt. Chokai

Yuza Town

If you are inkling to head out into nature, or simply just want something to do, the waterfalls on Mt. Chokai are an excellent proposition. Accessible year-round, these waterfalls are great for a picnic during the warmer months, or for a spot of adventure during the snowy winter.

Quick Info:

 

Accessible year-round ​even during the winter.

 

A taxi or rental car is needed to reach here.

See available rental car options here.     

Price: 

Free! 

Other Tips:

- Recommended length of visit 1-2 hours if you see ichi-no-taki and ni-no-taki.  3-4 hours if you also want to see san-no-taki.

- This area may be difficult to access after heavy snowfall in January and February.  

- A parking lot is available with bathrooms.   

- We recommend bringing a bear bell if you plan on hiking alone.  

Access:

-These are the coordinates of the parking lot and trailhead.  

39.054624, 139.990254

Ichi-no-taki on Mt. Chokai
Ichi-no-taki, Ni-no-taki, and San-no-taki waterfalls on Mt. Chokai

 

Of the many hundreds of mountains in Japan, Dewa’s Mt. Fuji, Mt. Chokai, enjoys the highest precipitation, with an estimated 30,000 tons of total snow and rain fall annually. Indeed, Mt. Chokai has many natural water features, including some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan.

The aptly named Ichi-no-taki, Ni-no-taki, and San-no-taki, are a set of waterfalls located on the southern side of the mountain that have been adored for centuries, and if you’re wondering about the names, they are literally the order in which you come across them as you head up the mountain, what better way to learn how to count in Japanese?

To get there, head north-east on route 60 out of Yuza Town and you will soon find yourself in the deep forests of Mt. Chokai. Be careful not to get in the way of other motorists if you’re tempted to take photos of the amazing view!

Stop by at Dohara-no-taki halfway up the mountain to fill up your water bottle; there are two natural springs 100 metres apart from each other that have completely different-tasting water, and the carpark for the falls is only a short drive from there.

The Hike 

From the carpark there are two main walking routes you can take; the unsealed road heading up, or the path on the steps through the shrine gates heading down. We recommend going through the shrine gate as the other route can be unnecessarily hard to climb.

Roughly five minutes from the shrine gates, Ichi-no-taki waterfall is very easy to reach and is a great destination for those who are short on time or have trouble walking long distances. Follow the path down through the gates where you will come across the shrine for Ichi-no-taki waterfall. 

Once you pay your respects, it is a short walk to the stairway for the viewing platform that offers an excellent view of the watefall! Although this waterfall is smaller than the others, the flow sure is powerful, and the cave beneath the falls actually goes quite deep.

Continue up the path for a further 15 to 20 minutes and you will come across the awe-inspiring 20m tall Ni-no-taki waterfall.

If you are feeling a little adventurous, climb down onto the rocks and have a taste of the extremely fresh water. The water on the southern side of the mountain is safe to drink, however be aware that on the northern side the water is unsafe due to its high acid content.

The red bridge offers excellent views, and there is also another viewing area off the path to the right of the falls, so make sure to check that one out too.

Follow the path past the waterfall and up further into the mountain, after about another 15 to 20 minutes you will come across San-no-taki, another picturesque waterfall that is well worth the hike up.

Although by far the easiest time of year to reach the waterfalls is summer or autumn, it is also possible to reach them in the winter, however if you choose to do this we would recommend a guide, and you will definitely need snowshoes. 

Also note that the hiking trail is marked by red arrows and ribbons.  Keep an eye out for them if you are ever in doubt.  

Generally though, the trial is well maintained and you need not worry about getting lost.  

This waterfall freezes solid in the winter and makes for an incredible sight to see.  

Note that the roads leading up to the parking lot are covered by meters of snow and a route though the forest must be taken instead.  This is a hike that easily takes over two hours each way and requires snow shoes and an experienced guide who can guide you to the falls.  

For more info on this please email us at thehiddenjapan@gmail.com

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