If you love hiking and plan to visit Kusatsu Onsen or Shima Onsen in Gunma Prefecture, consider having Yodate Eight Falls (世立八滝) on your itinerary. The waterfall group upstream of Shirasuna River (白砂川) in Kuni Village consists of eight waterfalls, each with its charm. If you understand Japanese or will be accompanied by an interpreter, you can even sign up for a canyoning tour to enjoy the waterfalls more thrillingly!
Listed accordingly to their distance from the motor road, the waterfalls are:
- Ōzen Fall (大仙の滝)
- Datta Falls (段々の滝)
- Hako Falls (箱の滝)
- Kyūnai Falls (久内の滝)
- Fushigi Falls (不思議の滝)
- Ido Falls (井戸の滝)
- Sen Falls (仙の滝) – on Yodao River (依田尾川)
- Satsuuzen Falls (殺人の滝)
Because a promenade connects the waterfalls, you can hike through the negative ion-rich area and find out how each waterfall differs. While summer is obviously a good time of the year to explore the waterfalls, Yodate Eight Falls is also a great spot for fall foliage hunting!
If you understand Japanese, you can also join a canyoning tour to enjoy Yodate Eight Falls further.
But just note that not much water will fall down the cliff if it hasn’t rained for a while.
Important: Choose your footwear carefully, as the promenade isn’t well-maintained.
The area’s name, Yodate (世立), is related to Minamoto no Yoshinaka (木曽義仲), a general in the late Heian period. He was brought to the area when he was two after his father was killed in a fight within the Genji clan. When Yoshinaka was set to leave for the Kiso Valley, he was told to become a great man who could lead the world, hence the name “Yodate”.
How to Get to Yodate Eight Falls
- Yodate Eight Falls is around 30 minutes by bus from JR Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station (長野原草津口駅).
- Please get off at Takimi-mae (滝見前).
Ōzen Falls (大仙の滝)
Ōzen Falls is a 10-minute walk from the trailhead near National Highway No. 292. It is the easiest waterfall to reach amongst the eight Yodate Eight Falls. It has a height of about 10 meters.
If you visit during winter, you might see 20-meter Ōzen Falls becoming an ice fall!
Tip: It is possible to climb down to the waterfall basin, but please be very careful.
Datta Falls (段々の滝)
The 30-meter-tall Datta Falls is the 2nd and the biggest waterfall of the Yodate Eight Falls in Kuni Village. But compared to Ōzen Fall, getting to Datta Falls is a lot more tiring. Why? Because you have to climb up and down 706 staircases!
Just like its name, Datta Falls is a two-tier waterfall. Its waterfall basin has high transparency that you can even see fish swimming!
Also, on the way to Datta Falls, there is a small lookout. It is for you to see the footprint of a Tengu (long nose goblin in Japanese legend) above Datta Falls. But it is really hard to tell if the dent on the cliff is a footprint…
While there is nothing atop the mountain, it is said that there was a Tengu Shrine centuries ago.
Satsuuzen Falls (殺人の滝)
If you know a bit of Japanese, you might wonder if the waterfall has killed somebody, as the waterfall’s name can literally be translated to “Murder Waterfall”. But there is nothing scary about this waterfall, and no monster or demon resides there.
According to the folktale, the waterfall was given such a horrible name as the waterfall was once a murder scene. Apparently, the locals pushed a mountain worshipper down the waterfall for his valuables…
To get to Satsuuzen Falls, you have to first hike to the summit of Mt. Konpira (金毘羅山). Although the hike can be tiring, you can overlook the Yotate Village (世立の集落) in the valley. During the fall foliage season, trekking your way to Satsuuzen Falls might actually be enjoyable when the vivid autumn colors surround you.
What differentiates Satsuuzen Falls from other waterfalls is that the water seems to be bursting out from the cliff crack in the middle of the waterfall! So while there isn’t much water falling from the top of the cliff, Satsuuzen Falls is a waterfall worth your effort to get to!
Discover Other Attractions Nearby in Nakanojō
If you want to enjoy Guma Prefecture‘s rural area, Nakanojō can be a nice option. It has one of the prefecture’s most famous hot spring towns, a gorgeous moss park, a few flower gardens, and more!
All of these attractions are not too far away from Yodate Eight Falls. So refer to our article on Kuni Village, the old name for a large part of Nakanojō!