In Gunma prefecture there is a quite unknown, yet wonderful tourist spot called Fukiware Falls. As you can understand by the name, we are talking about waterfalls: this place is surrounded by a lush and flourishing nature, and it is also a famous autumn foliage site among the locals.
What’s special about Fukiware Falls?
These waterfalls are 7 meters high and have a span of 30 meters. Just by saying this you may not make yourself well an idea about them, but they are called The Niagara falls of Japan.
Ok, but 7 meters are just nothing compared with the hugeness of the real ones in North America. However if you take a look at these pictures you can make yourself an idea about the reason of their nickname. Of course we are talking in relative terms, but the shape of the waterfall is somehow resembling the Niagara ones. They are much larger than high, as well as the shape of the step is irregular.
The view from the suspended bridge is also something you shouldn’t miss. The forest around the falls can offer lots of hiking and walking trails, making this spot a very enjoyable side trip to enjoy nature from the sometimes too lively and noisy Tōkyō.
How to reach Fukiware Falls
The exact place name where the falls are located is Tone town, Numata city, Gunma prefecture.
The falls are located at about 1000 metres above the sea level, actually quite far from the center of Numata. As the public transportation is not so plentiful (yet not absent), we would suggest you to get here by car (you can rent them quite easily in Japan).
If you choose public transportation here is how to reach them.
From Tōkyō first we go to Takasaki. If you own a Japan Rail Pass (even the Kantō version is enough) you can take a Shinkansen, reaching Takasaki in less than 1 hour. From here you have to head to Numata station, on the JR Jōetsu line. Once you are in Numata, take a bus (the bus company is Kanetsu Bus), in 45 minutes it will take you to the town of the falls. The JR pass doesn’t cover this bus ride, so you have to pay about 1350 yen (one way).
Take the Kanetsu highway and exit at Numata IC. From here take the national route 120 heading east for about 20 km
The area around the Falls？
Around the waterfall you will find a little town, mostly made of souvenir shops and restaurants. Some of them boast incredibly delicious dishes!
A little advice: during the autumn, when many people come to see the autumn leaves, parkings tend to be quite full, especially if you don’t arrive in the early morning, so be careful. Most of them charge about 500 yen, but some are free. At each parking area you will find plenty of signs referring to the path to the waterfalls, so you will find them for sure.
Fukiware Falls are located along the course of a river in a gourge. From the parking we walked down on the trail, in front of our eyes there was a breathtaking view. Especially because we visited the area during autumn, when the coloured foliage is in its full.
From afar we could hear the sound and see the mist of the waterfalls. We walked along the river to get close to them and finally we thought “wow, the Niagara falls of Japan!” (though we have never been to the real ones). The water of the river was so pristine that we thought we could drink it, the water shaped rocks were quite impressive.
That day (a Sunday), many people were here to see this wonderful scene, but we can’t say that it was crowded. There were many people, but there was space enough to enjoy and relax in front of this nature’s masterpiece.