Nippon’s Miniature Niagara

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This is the Parking area for 六角堂 Rokkakudou which is a hexagonal-shaped shrine just by Fukiware Falls.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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吹割ノ滝 Fukiware-no-taki  Fukiware Waterfalls.

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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.

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This is a calmer section where we get to appreciate  the crystalline waters & granite cliffs more closely.

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A cave lies around the corner & the deeper section of the river appears an attractive  emerald green.

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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.

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We approached a second granite  plateau before another  waterfall  greeted us.

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The downstream flow of water gathers speed & form a swirling mass before plunging into the section below.

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A multi-coloured composition of rocks with traces of mineral deposits & the bright orange parts hinting of either an iron or non-metallic sulfide.

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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.

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浮島橋 Ukishima Bridge spans 150m & crosses to  浮島 Ukishima Island where 浮島神社 Ukishima Kannon Temple is located.

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Looking upstream at Katashina River from Ukishima Bridge.

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Ukishima Bridge sans hordes of tourists.

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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.

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眠り猫 Nemuri-neko Sleeping Cat at the Kuguri-mon Gate at Nikko’s 日光東照宮 Toshogu Shrine.

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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.

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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.

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Fukiware Bridge  which is 140m in length offers splendid views of the Katashina Gorge below.

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View from 吹割橋 Fukiware Bridge with 浮島 Ukishima Island on the left.

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A parking area & a rest-stop to catch a breather before we retrace our steps  back to our car & head to Kusatsu Onzen.

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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.

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