Within a short drive of Yokota Air Base, you’ll find the city feel of Tokyo quickly fades away and some wonderful nature spots can be found. If you want to go chasing waterfalls, some of Japan’s top spots are nearby. […]
Within a short drive of Yokota Air Base, you’ll find the city feel of Tokyo quickly fades away and some wonderful nature spots can be found. If you want to go chasing waterfalls, some of Japan’s top spots are nearby. From easy routes for toddlers to more challenging routes for seasoned hikers, there are dozens of options in the nearby mountains for all kinds of explorers.
Check out this interactive google map for locations to all of those listed below, and see links to posts with more info and descriptions below. If you’ve been to any of these spots and have tips (parking, trail directions, descriptions of difficulty to hike, weather or times of year to visit, etc) please comment below or email us!
Areas Within An Hour Drive
Hossawa Falls – this 15 minute hike on an easy, well maintained trail is a wonderful spot for families with young children or less mobile hikers, as well as photographers. It’s beautiful in any season, but be sure to go back in the winter to see the falls frozen over. A coffee shop waits at the bottom of the trail for a special treat when you’re done.
Kongo Falls – starting from the Komine Visitor Center (where you can park for free), this area offers a 2.5 hour roundtrip moderate hike, with options to extend your time by checking out Komine Park, Kotokuji Temple, and Sawado Bridge, in addition to Kongo’s Waterfall.
Tengu-no-taki – a short drive from Hossawa, this trail is about an hour hike, mostly uphill, and passes multiple waterfalls. The first waterfall is about 15 mins in for an easy option, and for more of a challenge, go past the second waterfall, a view of Hinohara Village awaits at the top of Tsuzura Rock.
Hanamizu Falls – also a few minutes down the road from Hossawa, this moderately difficult trail takes about 30 mins to get to the falls. Relatively kid friendly with a few inclines, yet probably not for toddlers as there are several wood bridges with no hand rails and potentially slippery surfaces when wet. Keep an eye out for monkeys!
Kanoto Rock – also nearby all of these trails if you’re feeling more adventurous, and need to cool off! Climb ladders and hang onto chains installed in the rock walls to wade through the water and see waterfalls nearby. This is a moderate option, likely for hikers 5 years old and up.
Shiraito Falls of Hinode aka Shiroiwa-no-taki – this is a great trail for those who want flexibility in their day. It has 3 falls and the experience can range from an easy 10 min hike suitable for small children to get to the first waterfall, to a 1 hour 45 min hike to the top of Mt. Hinode for a more challenging experience.
Ayahiro Falls and the Rock Garden at Mt. Mitake – follow this hike past the shrine at Mt. Mitake for a peaceful experience at this waterfall deep in the forest. Make sure to go back in autumn for fall colors. Over an hour one way, easy to moderate difficulty.
O Falls at Mt. Odake – nearby the Otake cave and many other hiking trails in the area, these falls can reportedly be reached easily, in about 10 mins from a parking area. * not confirmed – please share if you’ve been! *
A Bit Farther Out – Waterfalls 1.5+ Hours Away
Hinohara Tokyo Citizens Forest near Mt. Mito – this spot is a little further out (closer to an 1.5 hour drive) between Hinohara and Okutama, but offers many hiking trails, an impressive suspension bridge, and the Mito Otaki waterfall.
Unazawa River Valley in Okutama – this area is full of waterfalls to drive or hike to, but here are a few to consider: the Unazawa 3 Fall Trail will lead you all the way to Otaki Falls, or visit Hyakuhirono Falls, or the Izushikubo Waterfall in the area. Stopping by some of these falls can also be a great addition to a trip to the Nippara Limestone Caves.
Nishikawa Gorge (Nanatsugama Goda no Taki) – drive 1.5-2 hrs away with tolls to get to this 10km hike that will take you to a famous 5 tiered waterfall with emerald green water. Please take lots of photos and report back!!
Shiraito Falls near Mt. Fuji – 2 hrs away (with tolls) will bring you to one of the most captivating waterfalls in Japan. As a bonus, about a 5 min walk away you’ll also find Otodome Falls. Combine this visit with other Fuji Five Lakes points of interest, or stop by Makaino Farm nearby to give the kids a treat on the way home!
Kawazu Seven Waterfalls, Izu Peninsula – this hiking trail follows seven waterfalls, with onsens and recreational pool facilities spread throughout the natural hot springs. Add it as a day trip from Shimoda or on a road trip through the peninsula.