The Best Waterfall in Japan


Not seeing the Best Waterfall in Japan; © Ian Poole.

It is common in Japan to have a list of “Top Three … in Japan” and people will try to visit all three in their lifetime.  The Kegon Waterfalls in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture is on that list.

My very good, long term friend, Hideharu Matsuhisa, was kind enough to offer to take me there.  Whist I have traveled to Japan often over the past couple of decades, I had not visited the shrines of Nikko, nor it’s famous waterfall.

On arrival late in the afternoon of a winter’s day, we were met with a chilled and dark entrance to our hotel.  The temperature at that time was hovering around OoC – quite cold for a Queensland boy.  Following a great dinner, looking


Matsuhisa-san with his self-constructed pinhole camera.

out to the frost covered garden outside, it was decided that we should take a bath in the hotel’s onsen.  I didn’t know at that point that this required a walk along an outside path wearing little other than a cotton robe, to gain access to the warmth of the bath!


Three Wise Monkeys; © Ian Poole, Nikko.

The next morning Matsuhisa-san wanted to test out his latest pin-hole camera, and the frost covered trees and bushes nearby seemed a suitable subject.  From there we made our way to one of the best waterfalls in Japan.  As the bus took us closer and closer, the fog was as amazing as were the icicle covered trees and bushes.  A slippery and scary walk brought us to the sound of roaring water, but there was no way a view of the falls were to be had that day.The trip down the mountain, via public bus, was a test of the driver’s ability.  The shrine of Nikkō Tōshō-gū was completed in 1617 and is a major attraction for both local and overseas tourists. For many tourists an important site is the three monkeys carving – Three Wise Monkeys – Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.  Which were duly photographed.



Frost Covered Pathway.

One thought on “The Best Waterfall in Japan

  1. Ian quote: “It is common in Japan to have a list of “Top Three … in Japan” and people will try to visit all three in their lifetime. The Kegon Waterfalls in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture is on that list.” unquote; an insightful comment indeed.

    The Japanese show a respect for their landscape they could teach to some Australians. And they have, it seems, a cultural passion for enumerating those landscapes even beyond the “top three”.

    Hiroshige produced 36 views of Mount Fuji.
    Hokusai also produced 36 views of Mount Fuji later extended to One Hundred views of Mount Fuji.
    There is now a list of 100 Landscapes of Japan including 8 Views (Kegon Waterfalls is third!) and 25 Winning Sites (of 1927 vintage).

    Australia could do with such lists. We have the natural wonders. As a landscape photographer I sometimes encounter sights such as a grand and ancient tree which would have a number in Japan or be named after a past President in the USA. Ok, we have the Cazneaux Tree and I have made the pilgrimage to it but we have others that merit acknowledgement beyond the fact they were too hard to fell or too crooked for saw logs.

    Thanks, Ian, for a delightful tale and give my regards to Hideharu Matsuhisa.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s