Nikko's Kegon Waterfall


NIKKO in Tochigi Prefecture is indeed a land of wonders. The Shinkyo Bridge is ranked one of the three most beautiful bridges in Japan, and then there's Kegon Waterfall (referred to as Kegon-no-taki by the Japanese). Just like the vermillion enameled bridge, Kegon Waterfall lands on a prestigious list.

Apart from being hailed as the most famous among Nikko's many attractive waterfalls, it ranks as one of three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan with Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama Prefecture and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraka Prefecture; and as far back as 1927, it was recognized as one of the "Eight Views" which best represented Japan and its culture in the Showa period.

With Daiya River rerouted by lava flows, Kegon Falls was formed. "Kegon" derives from Kegon-kyo, one of Buddhist sutras. It is said that the priest Shodo was the first to find the falls in the 8th century.

Located at Lake Chuzenji in Nikko National Park, Kegon Falls is the only exit for the waters of the lake. Water abundantly falls 97 meters high with about seven meters in wide. With water leaking through hardened lava flows, more than 12 other smaller falls from around the lower part of the main fall.

The observation platforms provide the most scenic view of the natural wonder. The upper observation desk, which can be accessed for free, provides a bird's eye view of the falls, while the paid platform, located 100 meters deep in to the ravine, offers a more breathtaking view.

No matter what season, Kegon Falls is a sight to behold. It's a cool respite during summer and winter freezes the water almost completely solid. Fall is the most popular season for the site with the the foliage around the waterfalls wear its autumn colors reaching its most colorful on the latter half of October.

How to get here: It's about a 50-minute bus ride from JR or Tobu Nikko Station to Chuzenjiko Onsen bus stop. It's about 5-minute walk from the bus stop to Kegon Falls.

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