This is the Parking area for 六角堂 Rokkakudou which is a hexagonal-shaped shrine just by Fukiware Falls.
吹割ノ滝 Fukiware-no-taki is situated in Okkai, Tone-machi, Numata-City of Gunma Prefecture in Japan. Ukishima Bridge(Right) & Fukiware Bridge(Left) in full view.
We stayed overnight at Oigami Onsen which is a hot spring resort in the mountains of Gunma Prefecture bordering Numata City. It is about 4km up river from Fukiware Falls & took about 10mins drive to get to. We parked across the road outside a restaurant & walked through an underpass before descending about 2-3 flight of stairs to get to the water’s edge.
A Festival procession to offer prayers for safe water levels after the thawing of winter frost swell the Katashina River & also for the safety of visitors who come to Fukiware Falls. This Rogation day usually falls on April 18th every Spring.
Over a million visitors come yearly to see these spectacular falls which have become a national treasure of sorts & it is especially beautiful during Autumn when the surrounding foliage or 紅葉 Kouyou are at their stunning & blazing best. When the winds are strong you can feel the spray of mist churned up from the mighty 7m splash.
Fukiware-no-taki is a horseshoe-shaped waterfall that spans 30m & drops 7m into the granite riverbed below. The sight & sound of the rapid gushing vortex of water hitting the river bottom is a mesmerising & powerful impression.
吹割ノ滝 Fukiware-no-taki Fukiware Waterfalls.
The 片品渓谷 Katashina Keikoku – Katashina Ravine stretches over 1.5km & the elements & river continue to change the landscape over time & carve out rocks of unusual & interesting shapes.
This is a calmer section where we get to appreciate the crystalline waters & granite cliffs more closely.
A cave lies around the corner & the deeper section of the river appears an attractive emerald green.
Continue along the concrete footpath that skirts the ravine 吹割渓谷 Fukiware Keikoku & river, then turn around & have a look at the colourful rugged rock face; a natural phenomena that is worth more than a second look.
We approached a second granite plateau before another waterfall greeted us.
The downstream flow of water gathers speed & form a swirling mass before plunging into the section below.
A multi-coloured composition of rocks with traces of mineral deposits & the bright orange parts hinting of either an iron or non-metallic sulfide.
We reached the lower section of the ravine & got to 鱒飛ノ滝 Masutobi-no-taki which drops a further 15m before we turned back.
浮島橋 Ukishima Bridge spans 150m & crosses to 浮島 Ukishima Island where 浮島神社 Ukishima Kannon Temple is located.
Looking upstream at Katashina River from Ukishima Bridge.
Ukishima Bridge sans hordes of tourists.
Ukishima Kannon Temple is a Buddhist temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy. It also houses the work of legendary Japanese sculptor, artist & carpenter Jingoro Hidari who lived during the Edo Period circa 1596-1644. It is believed that he created many deity sculptures throughout Japan including his famous 眠り猫 Nemuri-Neko Sleeping Cat & 三匹ノ猿 Sanbiki no saru Three Wise Monkeys.
眠り猫 Nemuri-neko Sleeping Cat at the Kuguri-mon Gate at Nikko’s 日光東照宮 Toshogu Shrine.
三匹ノ猿 Sanbiki no saru Three Wise Monkeys at 日光東照宮 Toshogu Shrine in Nikko.
This kind gentleman from the Ukishima Kannon Temple offered me a drink of fermented sweet rice wine.
Condiments of pickled radish (daikon) to go with the Amazake, a traditional sweet low alcohol Japanese drink made from koji (fermented rice) & the koji mold Aspergillus oryzae which is commonly served at shrines during festivals.
Fukiware Bridge which is 140m in length offers splendid views of the Katashina Gorge below.
View from 吹割橋 Fukiware Bridge with 浮島 Ukishima Island on the left.
A parking area & a rest-stop to catch a breather before we retrace our steps back to our car & head to Kusatsu Onzen.
A tourist map near the parking area & rest-stop that highlights the walking trails & spots of interest.
Fukiware Waterfalls was a pleasant surprise & it certainly exceeded my expectations. Though it is more convenient to get there by driving compared to public transport, I deem it worthy of a visit & I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the walk & the interaction with the local folks.