By Nicole Bauer
Japan is not all about high-rise buildings and flashy neon lights, that's what I have come to know. Just a few hours ride from the bustling hyper-cities lie the real treasures of this country, tucked away in nature's safe abode.
One such amazing spot is the Kawazu Nanadaru (Seven Waterfalls) hidden in the mountains above the small town of Kawazu in southeastern Izu (100km southwest of Tokyo). As we (me and hubby) found out on our recent trip, the place does have a unique charm to it.
The Nanadaru can be conveniently reached by a 20-25 min bus ride straight from the Kawazu station (along the Izukyu train line), and there are actually two bus-stops for the spot, the former 'Kawazu Nanadaru' at the base (before the big spiral loop bridge) and the latter 'Mizudare' (after the big spiral loop bridge) atop the walking trail connecting these falls. We chose to alight at the second stop and walk the way downhill, meandering through the woods and waterfalls.
As soon as we entered the trail, we were welcomed by an amazing view which reminded me of the poem 'The Road not Taken' by Robert Frost, but thankfully unlike the underlying confusion in the poem, we were happy to find many signboards conveniently placed all through the trail pointing out the hidden locations of the waterfalls.
For the first waterfall, we had to walk down a series of steps, safely bound by log-fences, taking us closer and closer to the mighty falls. There were strategically marked points to take the best shot of and in front of all the falls, which range from the 30-meter ‘Odaru’ (Big Waterfall) to the 2-meter ‘Kanidaru’ (Crab waterfall).
The whole length of walking trail (about 1km) felt quite adventurous and serene too. There were many statues depicting the heroine of the short story 'Izu no Odoriko’ (The Izu Dancer), one of the many stories written by famous Nobel Laureate Kawabata Yasunari. There were few places to sit and rest towards the end of the trail, but finally at the base there is the Nanadaru Onsen for those who want to soak in some steamy delight. And let me tell you, Kawazu Nanadaru is just the perfect treat for aspiring nature photographers!
So, friends, if you are heading towards Izu anytime, make sure to check out this awesome place. I am sure you will be rewarded with a well-spent tranquil afternoon drinking in the joy of these gorgeous waterfalls amidst the beautiful dense woods!
P.S. It's always better to have a weather check for the trip, as this place in the woods can get really slippery during the rains. In such inclement conditions a few sections of the trail may be prohibited for the safety of the visitors.
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