By Cathy Cawood
When sightseeing in the Fujinomiya City area, the waterfall duo Shiraito no Taki Waterfalls and Otodome no Taki Waterfalls are a must-visit! Ranked among “Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls,” they are located in the southwestern foothills of Mt. Fuji and just five minutes walking distance from one another.
Otodome no Taki Waterfalls is the first you’ll encounter from the main entrance. A powerful cascade from the Shibakawa River, Otodome measures 25 meters high and 5 meters wide. A little challenging to photograph due to its location and safety precautions, but there’s a great story behind this. When translated Otodome means, “to stop sounds.” According to legend, there were two samurai warriors having a private consultation about avenging their father near the waterfall. They could not hear each other due to the roar of water. Suddenly one of them mourned, “Waterfall of heartless and mindless spirit, you never know our torture, do you.” Then, it is said that the sound stopped in due course.
Continuing onto the paved horseshoe-like path and five minutes later, you’re now in the presence of Shiraito no Taki Waterfalls. From the top of the mountain and yet another 150 meters away, the view from here captures the beauty and grandeur of the natural lush landscape. Just take a moment to soak it all in before heading down a set of 100 steps to the first viewing platform at Takimi Bridge.
Shiraito no Taki means, “waterfall of white thread.” The falls consist of snowmelt from Mt. Fuji that spills like threads of silk from the spaces between lava beds. Some 1.5 tons of water cascades each second over these famed waterfalls, which measure 150 meters in width and 20 meters in height. Unlike Otodome, visitors can walk towards the base of the waterfall to find themselves relaxing on the rocks; a nice contrast and compliment to Otodome Falls.
In 1936, Otodome Falls and Shiraito Falls were designated a “natural monument” for their scenic beauty. In 1990, they were selected as one of Japan’s 100 Greatest Waterfalls. It is said that this is a place where Hasegawa Kakugyo, the founder of Fujiko, carried out his training in the 16th-17th Century. This then became a place of pilgrimage for training and people who centered on Fujiko. The falls are regarded as sacred under the Fuji cult, so visitors do not swim in the striking, deep blue and green colored waters.
Come and see why this waterfall duo, Shiraito Falls and Otodome Falls, is the most popular sightseeing spot on the Shizuoka Prefecture side of Mount Fuji. To make your stay even more enjoyable, restaurants and souvenir shops are conveniently lined up along the main pathway to the falls. An Information Center is also nearby to ensure visitors maximize their sightseeing adventures surrounding Mt. Fuji!
To access, take a bus bound for Shiraito no Taki Bus Stop from Fujinomiya Station. By car, nearest I.C. is Fuji I.C. Parking is available at 500yen for small cars.
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Originally from San Diego, California, I lived in Japan for 4-1/2 years and now I am currently based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. In December 2010, I arrived in Yokosuka with a new outlook on my future. Mainly, to refocus on family and let my curiosities take us to places we’ve only dreamt of. Along the way, we’d hopefully develop new friendships and simply collect memories to last a lifetime. Then, there was the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. I will never forget that experience and the devastating effects it had on the entire country. I asked the community, “What can I do to help?” Collecting, sorting, and packing donations, was the least I could do. I also ended up going back to California for one month, raised a small monetary donation for Red Cross, and secured a few phone interviews to help spread the word on how others from the United States could assist. I was determined to show my family, friends, and folks across the world that it would be okay to return to Japan. After all, I wanted them to know that all of the little things that make up this beautiful country still existed. What better way than to use a platform such as JapanTravel.com to share photos and stories full of life, history, and culture. It is a pleasure to say I have contributed more than 150 articles to a database that now collectively holds more than 15,000! This journey has not only allowed me to realize my initial goals, but I’d like to think that it has somehow played a role in sparking an interest locally and across the globe for others to experience all that is published here and more. I invite you to also share your wonderful stories, offer comments, and ask questions right here on JapanTravel. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Safe travels! ٩( ๑╹ ꇴ╹)۶