The Ashiribetsu Waterfall in Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park in Sapporo City is the largest waterfall in the city. It is one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls. The word “ashiribetsu” means “a new river” in the Ainu language. The waterfall is in the upstream of the Atsubetsu River, which flows out of Mt. Soradake in the southern end of the city. It flows down the 30 m high cliff with dynamic splashes of water.
The waterfall shows different scenery in each season. It is lit up during the annual summer festival. The illuminated waterfall, together with the river that flows into darkness and white flowers of Pee Gee Hydrangea that shine on the river banks, creates a mysterious landscape. Though it is frozen in winter, visitors can either walk or ski along the trail and enjoy viewing it.
The Garo Waterfall in Shimamaki Village is one of Japan’s largest waterfalls. It is located in the Chihase River, which flows out of Mt. Kariba (1,520 m), the highest mountain in the southern part of Hokkaido. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls.
The waterfall, 70 m in height and 35 m in width, gushes down the cliff with roaring sound. It has no basin but water directly drops against the huge rock at the bottom with dynamic splashes of water.
There is a legend of a dragon that protects treasures which the Matsumae clan hid in the basin of the waterfall; hereby it is popularly called “Hiryu (Flying Dragon).” Aerated water spring out of a crack in a rock at the edge of the stream and it is called “Dragon Water.”
The Shinji Falls is the generic name for the six waterfalls located in the mid-stream area of the river flowing through Shinji Valley in Kitahira in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. The word “shinji” means the Three Sacred Treasure (the Imperial Regalia of Japan), consisting of the sword, the mirror and the jewel, which have been handed down as the symbol of the Imperial succession.
It is not clear why the falls were named so, but their shapes and brilliance in the sunbeams streaming through the leaves of trees do give a divine impression.
Each of the six waterfalls has a distinctive flow. Metaki (the Female Waterfall) is a 13 m tall and 1 m wide straight waterfall. The Second Waterfall is a 13 m tall two-staged waterfall, the lower stage of which is divided into two flows. The Third Waterfall is a 5 m tall and 2 m wide straight waterfall, Otaki (the Male Waterfall) is an 18 m tall and 8 m wide plunge-typed waterfall, the Fifth is 6 m tall and the Sixth is a 12 tall three-staged waterfall.
Of the 6 waterfalls, only Otaki is safely accessible. You can go down to the basin of the dynamic flow and enjoy cool splashes of water in summer.
The Fudo-Otaki Waterfall in Kasukawa-machi, Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture is the most magnificent waterfall in the prefecture. It is counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls. It is in the upstream of the Kasukawa River, which flows out of Lake Ko-numa near the top of Mt. Akagi-yama. The waterfall has a height of 50 m. The water dynamically falls down with roaring sounds.
With dark green leaves and acacia blossoms in early summer, fantastic mist and rainbows in summer, autumn foliage, and ice pillars in winter, the waterfall shows different scenery from season to season. Surrounded by the steep cliff formed by erosion, it is nothing but an exquisite work of natural art.
There are places of interests around the waterfall such as the rock cave where Kunisada Chuji (the Japanese Robin Hood) hid himself and Takizawa Fudoson Temple, which had been a training ashram for mountain practitioners in Mt. Akagi-yama until the Edo period (1603-1868).
Tenkasai Festival is a naked festival held at Matsudaira Toshogu Shrine in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, in February every year. It is said that the festival was originally held to pray for stability and peace of the country during the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392). It was discontinued in the Meiji period (1868-1912) and revived in the recent times as the valiant and dynamic naked festival.
Matsudaira Toshogu Shrine is well-known as the birthplace of the Matsudaira clan, the ancestors of the Tokugawa clan. It enshrines Matsudaira Chikauji, the founder of the clan. The water in the old well named “Ubuyu-no-ido (First Bath Well)” has been famous for its holy power since Chikauji’s days. When Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in Okazaki Castle, the water for his first bath was taken from this well in accordance with his family custom.
The festival is held to protect men of the unlucky age of 41. On the festival day, local men of this age get together wearing only a loincloth. They run into the shrine precinct, where they fiercely struggle with one another to touch the wooden ball called “Mizu-dama (Water Ball),” which was purified with the holy water in the well on the previous evening. It is believed that if they can touch the ball, their bad luck is purified. The precinct is filled with air of excitement.
There are a lot of stalls and open booths for visitors, who can also enjoy other events such as the service of the Senjin-nabe stew (Battle Field Stew), hana-mochi rice cake making, the dedication of a large Ema-plate, performance of Japanese drums and the demonstration of Bo-no-te (stick weapon techniques).
Furukawa Taiko is a dynamic drum performance handed down in the Furukawa area in Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. A lot of drum performing groups join and play at Furukawa Festival held in early August every year.
This drum performance has its origin in a legend pertaining to Sakanoue Tamuramaro’s expedition to the north land. Furukawa Taiko drumming style is unique in that the six drummers take turns beating one drum. Praying for a rich harvest of the year, the drummers valiantly beat the drum by turns to drive the demons away from their farming land. The stage reaches its climax when their brilliant drum-stick techniques and dynamic rhythm is greeted with thunderous applause from the audience.
During the festival period, about 200 Tanabata-kazari streamers are displayed in the town and the Furukawa Taiko mikoshi parade is held. The colorful Tanabata streamers and roaring sounds of drums put the whole town in a festival mood. Furukawa Festival is the biggest summer event of the city.
Ometsuki Festival, which dates back over 300 years, takes place every January 24th at Naburi, Ogatsu-cho, Miyagi Prefecture.
It is said to have started in 1781 after a big fire raged through the village and people started to pray at the shrine to prevent it happening again.
On the festival day, led by a person dressed as Shishi lion, Dashi portable shrines parade dynamically followed by Choujirushi portable shrines carried by children.
The biggest attraction in the festival is a series of performances called “Ometsuki”. What will be seen in the performances is kept secret until the day of the event. This is because young people who become lively after drinking “Omiki”, sake offered to a deity, used to demonstrate improvised performances on a whim. Ometsuki is said to have derived from the word, “Omiki” and “omoitsuki” or acting on whims. Although most of the themes in the performances are current social issues, they use a form of traditional Kyougen play with some similarity to Niwaka, a comical street performance, with exaggerated female and male roles. This is very unique in the nation and is a valued cultural event.
Ometsuki is designated as an important intangible folklore cultural asset by Miyagi Prefecture.
The Shiromizu Waterfall is an 80 m tall dynamic waterfall in the upstream of the Dogawa River, a tributary of the Omarugawa River, in Kamiyama Valley in Misato Town, Miyazaki Prefecture.
The waterfall seen from the top of the mountain trail is really dynamic and worth seeing. White lines of water flow down the sheer cliff into the river. From the Rindo (forest road) Bridge, 200 m down the stream, you can enjoy a fine combination of the waterfall and surrounding trees.
The area around the waterfall is designated as a prefecture’s natural environment protection zone with a vast expanse of virgin forest and rivers with many deep pools and waterfalls such as the Kuro-daki Waterfall, which is said to be a “visionary waterfall.” The forest area includes Japan’s southernmost beech tree forest. Also, the fir tree and the Isunoki tree on the way to Shiromizu Waterfall are selected as one of 100 huge trees of Miyazaki Prefecture.