Photo: Ehime Prefecture

Shirai Falls

Risking it all to see a waterfall of ice

By JapanTravel Guest    - 3 min read

Shirai no Taki is one of the most famous waterfalls in Ehime. The reason for their fame is that they freeze in winter, forming a cascade of ice.

A lot of foreign tourists stay in Matsuyama and go to Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama castle, and other well-known places in Matsuyama. Of course, these are all very good tourist attractions and it’s easy to visit them. However, if you only go to easily accessible places, you miss out on the natural wonders of Ehime. There are some wonderful nature spots around Matsuyama that are also well worth a visit.

The city of Toon is located next to Matsuyama. On a cold Saturday in January, I took Route 11 and Route 494 from Matsuyama to Toon to see the beautiful waterfalls at Shirai no Taki. ‘Taki’ means waterfall.

To get to the main falls, you have to follow a mountain path. The main cascade is far from the nearest parking area, but along the walk you can enjoy the scenery of mountain streams and smaller waterfalls to the side of the path. These fast-flowing, narrow rivers typify the natural scenery of Japanese mountains.

The ultimate destination, Shirai no Taki, is well worth the time and trouble spent getting there. If you’re lucky, you can see a huge frozen waterfall. The view is magnificent. It’s a pity that many people who give up don’t know about this place. When I went to see the falls in January, about 30% of it was frozen. The state of the falls often changes according to the temperature, so if you want to check the state of falls, go to the website provided by the city of Toon. This page isn’t in English, but there are recent photos showing the condition of the falls.

As you go up to the falls, you have to pay attention to avoid slipping on the frozen path. When I walked up, I fell down twice! Walking sticks are provided at the start of the path, and I advise you to use them.

You can enjoy the scenery at Shirai no Taki even in other seasons. It’s also a good place for seeing fall colors. If you go here in autumn, you can see wonderful red and yellow leaves.

When you come to Ehime, I hope you’ll visit some places other than Matsuyama. Then you can appreciate Ehime more fully.

Name in Japanese 白猪の滝 — shirai no taki — Shirai Falls

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