Visiting a waterfall in Japan usually consists of crowding into a single viewpoint and wading through the ensuing forest of selfie sticks. So Fukiware-no-taki was a nice surprise. A path weaves down the river and leads you above and around the expansive falls, giving you a real sense of the place.
A rope bridge spans the length of the valley which Fukiware Falls sits within. There are a few intriguing items to explore once across. The hanging metal cylinders that line the path for example, ready to be bashed together in the event of a bear sighting. As you get higher the falls present themselves in new and interesting ways.
Whilst walking alongside the most torrential point I could feel the power of the water surging beneath my feet. I was reminded of a time with a friend of mine. He's deaf, always has been. We were filming on the coast of England; the wind was extraordinary that day. Because of his inability to hear, his other senses are fine-tuned. He says that when laying in bed at night he can feel his own heartbeat thudding in his chest. On that day of filming, the extreme wind was too much for him. He felt like he was constantly vibrating, as if in an earthquake.
I didn't feel exactly like this at Fukiware Falls, but it was similar. I could feel the strength of the waterfall moving my bones in a way that was impossible to ignore. Raw, thundering power. Being so close to something like that affects you physically in a way that's fascinating and kind of awesome.
Words & Photography: Scott Norris (@_scott_norris) // spring 2015
Please note: Our map for this Fukiware Falls walk is not 100% accurate (no gpx is provided) as this was walked before the website was conceptualised. It is based on memory and aerial photos. However the path around the falls is obvious and well signposted. No maps or directions are required, although Google Maps will help in a pinch.
From Tokyo take a train to Takasaki. From here you have to head to Numata station (JR Jōetsu line). From Numata, take a bus (Kanetsu Bus about ¥1350 each way) to Tonemachi Okkai(利根町追貝).
A looping walk follows the eastern side of Fukiware Falls before crossing on bridges and coming back down the opposing side of the valley through trees before returning to the start point.