Do you enjoy beautiful nature? How about waterfalls? Do you like those? What about a natural epicenter of a country? If you said yes to any of these, then Nikko is the place for you to visit in Japan! I did a bit of hiking up there in my continued training for Fuji with some friends, where we partook in the first ever waterfall crawl through the national park.
Waterfall Crawl: What is it?
Good question! It’s when you plan a route to visit as many waterfalls as possible during your hike. Think a pub crawl, but instead of beer and bars, it’s trail mix and stunning sights. We ended up taking two separate beginner trails to make up our four-hour hike.
We started up high, taking a local bus to Yutaki Falls. These were incredibly stunning to behold! From there, we walked downhill through the national park to Kotaki Falls and through the Senjogahara Moor. After the Moor, we went to the end of the trail where we saw Ryuzu Falls, these large, meandering and shallow falls that snake down the mountain.
From the base of the Ryuzu Falls, we skipped down the road and began the second trail that lead us along Lake Chuzenji. The lake is massive and expansive, and on the day we visited, particularly calm and reflective. You can rent swan boats on the western shores in town but we decided to pass on this opportunity, but know it’s there if you’d like.
After completing this trail, you can continue down the main road through a massive Tori gate down to an observation area for Kegon Falls, one of the three largest waterfalls in Japan. Now, you can’t actually get too close, as that would create many safety issues, but there are two levels of free decks you can view the falls from. While you are a couple hundred feet away, the immense scope and volume of the falls really makes you realize how powerful and grand Kegon truly is. There is also a paid elevator you can use, which takes you further below the free decks to get a more straight-on view. We opted to stay on the free decks as they provided more than enough of an eyeful for us to enjoy.