Kegon-no-taki Falls (華厳の滝) are spectacular falls that flow and drop from Chuzen-ji Lake to the Daiya River. The falls have never dried up and continue to show us their mystic beauty throughout the year. The falls—surrounded by rich green forests in spring and summer, colorful leaves in autumn, and frozen white snow in winter—are stunning in all seasons.
Details of the falls
In Kegon-no-taki, the water plummets 97 meters into the gorge below. The width of the falls is 7 meters across. There are numerous other falls flowing out from rocks behind Kegon-no-taki. Another falls originates at the basin and is called “Nehan-no-taki” (falls of the dead).
To give these falls some perspective, Angel Falls in Venezuela is 10 times higher. Niagara Falls, however is about half as high but ten times wider on the Canadian side.
Viewpoints of the falls
Viewing the falls from the upper observation area is free of charge and is quite nice. But if you would like to feel the splash of the falls in your face and feel the power of the falls, take the 1-minute elevator ride down to the observation deck 100 meters below the falls. The elevator (530 yen/Kids 320 yen) runs straight down through the bedrock of the mountain. After getting off the elevator and walking down a long white tunnel-like corridor, you reach the multi-leveled deck. There stand the falls right in front of you, thundering away with foam and spray. It feels almost like being in a heavy rainstorm!
By the way, Akechi-daira is another viewing point for Kegon-no-taki. It commands a distant view, and is accessible by ropeway.
Naming of the falls
It is said that Kegon-no-taki Falls were discovered by the famous priest Shodo (勝道上人). He named this fantastic natural phenomenon “Kegon-no-taki” taking the name from the Kegon sutra (a description of the first sermon that Buddha made). Some other falls in Nikko were also named after Buddhist scriptures.
Food stands in the parking lot
There are a few stands selling local foods near the entrance to the falls. Depending on the season, you can enjoy some snacks here. If you are lucky, you can try grilled fish. Seasonal fresh river fish is a special treat, and is difficult to find outside deep mountain areas like this.
I highly recommend visiting Kegon-no-taki Falls. It might end up being one of your best memories here in Japan, even if you later visit many other exciting places.