Nikko’s Kegon-no-taki Falls

Enjoy their mystic beauty throughout the year

By Tomoko Kamishima    - 3 min read

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.

More info

Find out more about Kegon Falls.

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Tomoko Kamishima

Tomoko Kamishima @tomoko.kamishima

Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sharing this information with visitors to Japan. I hope you will enjoy it, too! ARTICLE INDEX & PHOTOS:  An index of most of my Japan Travel articles can be found at the entry page of my blog, and my photos are shown here.  日本はとても小さな国ですが、大通りから一本小道に入ればたくさんの発見があります。日本人が積み重ねてきた歴史を学びながら、古い建物や庭を訪ね、物語の舞台となった景色を眺めて、皆様といっしょに日本文化の奥深さを探求していきたいと思います。

Join the discussion

Elena Lisina 4 years ago
Nicole Bauer 8 years ago
I've been there too and the falls are very impressive indeed, much more than I expected. We went early in the morning, so we had the falls almost to ourselves—I can really recommend this! The fish on the stick at the entrance to the falls is delicious!
Abi Barber 8 years ago
I was recently in Nikko and visited the Kegon-no-Taki having been inspired by reading this article. It's the most beautiful place and well worth making the bus trip from Nikko to see it. From the bottom of the elevator you get covered in spray from the falls, and if the sun is shining there are loads of rainbows. A fantastic experience.