Kirifuri Falls, located in Nikko City, is one of Nikko's Three Famous Waterfalls. There are two steps of the waterfall, the upper being 25 meters, and the lower being 26 meters with a total length of 75 meters. The water splashing against the rocks is a beautiful and powerful sight. The spot is also famous for the ukiyo-e painting “Waterfalls of Various Districts: Kirifuri Waterfall at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke”.

Katsushika Hokusai’s “Waterfalls of Various Districts: Kirifuri Waterfall at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke”

“Waterfalls of Various Districts: Kirifuri Waterfall at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke”, a famous Hanging Scroll Painting

"Waterfalls of Various Districts: Kirifuri Waterfall at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke" is a work by the world-famous Ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai. It is estimated that it was drawn around 1833. Among Ukiyo-e, it is also called colored Nishiki-e, and is also famous for being a hanging scroll.

Hokusai's Symbolism and Pilgrims in Kirifuri Waterfall Tapestry

"Shokokutakemeguri" or "Waterfalls of Various Districts" is a series of eight painting works including Kirifuri Waterfall. Each painting is characterized by the style of drawing water flowing through the waterfall. The symbol of Hokusai can be seen in "Kirifuri Waterfall at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke",which the waterfall resembles a giant creature rather than just water flowing down. Because of this, foreigners often refer to it as “cool!”, and is very popular. In addition, the two travelers who look down at the waterfall and the three travelers who look up at the waterfall drawn in Ukiyo-e are also interesting. They are considered to be worshipers of the nearby Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

It is no longer Shimotsuke Kuro Kamiyama

The title of the Ukiyo-e painting mentioned Shimotsuke, which refers to the old administrative division, Shimotsuke no Kuni. Currently, Kirifuri Falls is located in Nikko City in Tochigi Prefecture. However, there is a place called Shimotsuke City nearby, so be careful not to get mixed up. In addition, Kurokami Mountain is considered to be an alias, and is currently called Nantai Mountain.

The View from Kanbaku Dai Observatory

Currently, there is no need to approach the side of Kirifuri Falls like the travelers in the Ukiyo-e paintings. There is a gazebo built to look over the waterfall, called "Kanbaku Dai" (Waterfall Viewing Stand). From the entrance where there is a bus stop, walk on the promenade for about 15 minutes to get to "Kanbaku Dai". The newly renovated wooden “Kanbaku Dai” is pleasant, like a sunny terrace. The view of the waterfall in the lush green nature is amazing. The autumn leaves season, when the mountain is dyed red and yellow, is so beautiful and is a heart-moving experience.

Three Hidden Waterfalls of Kirifuri

※Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

Upstream of Kirifuri Falls, there is a little-known spot known as "Kirifuri Kakure Santaki" or The Three Hidden Waterfalls of Kirifuri. It is about 10 meters high, but there is the powerful "Choji no Taki", and “Tamasudare no Taki”, where like the name suggests, seems like a bamboo mat decorated with balls, and “Makkura Taki”, which used to be dark even during the day. Do pay a visit if you have time!

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Choji no Taki
  • Street Address: Nikko City, Tochigi
  • Access: From JR Nikko Station and Tobu Nikko Station, take the Tobu Bus bound for Kirifuri Kogen and get off at "Kakure Santaki", 20-minute walk from there.
  • Wi-Fi: Unavailable

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Tamasudare no Taki
  • Street Address: Nikko City, Tochigi
  • Access: From JR Nikko Station and Tobu Nikko Station, take the Tobu Bus bound for Kirifuri Kogen and get off at "Kakure Santaki", 40-minute walk from there.
  • Wi-Fi: Unavailable

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Makkura Taki
  • Street Address: Nikko City, Tochigi
  • Access: From JR Nikko Station and Tobu Nikko Station, take the Tobu Bus bound for Kirifuri Kogen and get off at "Kakure Santaki", 60-minute walk from there.
  • Wi-Fi: Unavailable

Access to Kirifuri Falls

From Tokyo, head to JR Nikko Station using the Tohoku Shinkansen and JR Nikko Line. From there, take the Tobu Bus bound for Kirifuri Kogen/Ozasa Bokujo and you will arrive at the "Kirifuri Falls Entrance" in 10 minutes.

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Kirifuri Falls
  • Street Address: Tokorono Nikko, Tochigi
  • Access: 10 minutes by bus from JR Nikko Station / Tobu Nikko Station
  • Wi-Fi: Unavailable

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