Rurihime Festival is held in Shirataki in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, on November 23 every year to appease the soul of Rurihime (Lady Ruri), who threw herself into the waterfall.
Lady Ruri was the wife of Fujiwara Yukiharu, the castellan of Takinojo Castle. At the end of the Warring States period (1493-1573), the castle was attacked by the forces of the Chosokabe clan again and again until at last it fell.
Lady Ruri and her women attendants fought back with fukibari (needles blown from the mouth), naginata and shuriken, but they finally escaped from the castle and made their way to the waterfall, where they were cornered by the pursuers.
Lady Ruri told her two daughters to live on and dived from the top of the waterfall (presently called the Otaki Waterfall) into the basin 60 m below with her 2-year-old son Takaomaru in her arms.
On the festival day, the parade of girls in colorful costumes and boys carrying the flower mikoshi (portable shrine) heads for Lady Ruri’s grave mound, where the memorial service is performed and the flower mikoshi is thrown into the waterfall for the repose of her soul and children’s good health.
Ayutsubo Falls are located in Nagaizumi Town in Shizuoka Prefecture. The falls gush out of two cracks in the 10 meter high cliff formed by Mishima Stream of lava and flow down into the midstream of the Kise River. They discharge 3 to 7 tons of water per second.
They were named Ayutsubo (Sweet fish Basin) Falls because sweet fish stopped swimming and gathered together in the waterfall basins. As the water in the basins looks indigo blue, they are also called Aitsubo (Indigo Blue Basin) Falls. Or, the view of Mt. Fuji in back of the falls is so exquisite that the falls are called Fujimi-no-taki (Mt. Fuji Viewing Falls).
Ayutsubo Falls were prefecturally designated as a Natural Monument in 1996. When it rains heavily, water gushes out of every crack in the cliff with roaring sounds to form a dynamic cataract. The view of the falls from Ayutsubo no Kakehashi, the hanging bridge in the down stream, is further more beautiful.
Kawarage Jigoku located at the foot of Mt. Takamatsudake in Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture, is one of Japan’s three great spiritual places; others are Mt. Osorezan in Aomori Prefecture and Mt. Tateyama in Toyama Prefecture.
Kawarage Jigoku is the ruins of the sulfur mine, which had been flourished since the Edo period (1603-1868). It is said that the mountain was first trekked by the priest Doso in 807. Fumes of hot water gush out of the mountainside covered with grayish white lava, giving off strong smell of sulfur. The desolate scenery of naked hillside evokes us of the horrible images of Hell.
There are as many as 136 small and large Jigokus (geothermal pits) in the mountain area, 800 m above sea level. Jigokus include Chinoike Jigoku (Blood Pond Hell), Tsurugi Jigoku (Sword Hell), Bakuro Jigoku (Horse Dealer’s Hell), Hariyama Jigoku (Pincushion Hell) and Nusubito Jigoku (Thief Hell).
This high-temperature hot water flows down into 20 m high Kawarage Oyutaki in the downstream. The waterfall then flows into the basin in the huge rock, where people can enjoy soaking in a natural hot spring.
The Shikiro Waterfall is located in the valley behind Eigenji Temple in Higashiomi City, Shiga Prefecture. This 25 m tall waterfall flows down in two stages; the upper stage is 20 m tall and the lower is 5 m tall.
The name “Shikiro” derives from “Shikiro-an,” a hermitage built by Ogura Sanezumi, who was both a good warrior and a good scholar in the late Muromachi period (1336-1573). It is said that he took clear water from this waterfall to offer it to the statue of Buddha every morning. A small statue of Fudo Myoo stands beside the waterfall today.
The waterfall dynamically gushes down the tall cliff. It looks especially beautiful in fall, when it is surrounded with autumn leaves. The water flows at a slant in the upper stage into the first basin, from which it flows down as if it was kinked into the lower basin. The white flow and the emerald green basin make a wonderful contrast. You can enjoy a moment of coolness even in the midst of the hot summer.
The Oshikawa-Otaki Waterfall, 8 m in height and 3 m in width, is a dynamic waterfall in the Nakura River, one of the tributaries of the Yahagi River, in the eastern end of Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture.
From the Takimi-bashi (Waterfall Viewing) Bridge, you can see the whole beautiful flow of the waterfall. The promenades are provided to lead you to the top of the waterfall and the waterfall basin.
Going down to the riverside, you will find a wide and deep basin for a cascade of this size. You will be overwhelmed by its dynamic flow. In hot summer, cool splashes of water will make you refreshed. You can also enjoy camping on the shores of the river or enjoy swimming near the basin.
Masumi-no-taki is a waterfall in the eastern part of Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park in Takino, Minami-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido. This waterfall with 18 m high and 20 m wide flows down in the Masumi-no-sawa River, which springs out of 506 m high Mt. Shimamatsuyama. Together with the Ashiribetsu-no-taki Waterfall, the two falls are popular scenic spots in the park. The name “Masu-mi,” in which “masu” literally means “a trout” and “mi” means “to see,” derives from the legend that once a trout swimming up the river looked up at this fall.
As the paved promenade is arranged in the park, you can easily get to the waterfall basin. Standing under the splashes of water is really refreshing. Flowing gently on the rock surface, it gives an elegant impression. Surrounded with fresh greenery in spring or crimson foliage in fall, the waterfall changes its appearance from season to season.
The Hoshioki-no-taki Waterfall is in a valley adjacent to a quiet residence area in Teine-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido. It is a two-storied waterfall with a height of 14 m located in the Hoshioki River, which springs out of 949-meter high Mt. Teine.
The name “Hoshioki” is presumed to be borrowed from an Ainu word “hoshipoki,” which means “down the cliff.” There are clustering trees in the valley around the cliff, where you can enjoy forest bathing. Having been eroded by the river flow, the rock mass around the middle of the waterfall was hollowed into a conical shape, into which the upper part of the waterfall flows and forms a two-storied waterfall.
The dashing flow of water with white splashes is really dynamic and gives a masculine impression. Its roaring sound echoes through the quiet valley.
The Fukiware Waterfall in Tone-machi, Numata City, Gunma Prefecture is one of Japan’s most distinctively shaped waterfalls. It is designated as a national Natural Monument. It is a U-shaped waterfall with a height of 7 m and a width of 30 m. Visitors can come very close to the top of waterfall and look down into its basin. Being called “the Niagara Falls of the East,” the water dynamically flows down into the basin with splashes of water and roaring sounds. As its name “Fuki (blow)-ware (split)” represents, it looks like if it had split a huge rock in two.
The legend has it that the waterfall basin leads to the Dragon Palace. When villagers wrote the number of bowls and plates needed for a cerebration banquet on a piece of paper and threw it into the waterfall, the dragon god prepared the food vessels in necessary number and placed them on the rock beside the waterfall in the next morning. However, one villager once miscounted the number and forgot to return one of the bowls. Since then the dragon god stopped lending food vessels to the villagers. The bowl is called “the Dragon Palace Bowl” and has been treasured now.