The town of Nikko sits at the entrance to Nikko National Park. This place is especially famous for being the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu is the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate and the father of modern Japan. Within Nikko is the most lavishly decorated shrine in possibly all of Japan; Toshogu shrine. Nikko also houses the mausoleum of Tokygawa Iemitsu, the grandson of Ieyasu.
Nikko is well known for their beautiful shrines and temples; but also for the forces of nature which shaped the area. At this time of year, Nikko is particularly beautiful in fall colours. Nikko is famous for natural wonders, such as lakes, mountains and waterfalls. The most famous waterfall of all is the Kegon waterfall (Kegon no taki).
Kegon waterfalls is known as one of Japan’s top three most beautiful waterfalls, and it is obvious why. At 97 metres tall, Kegon falls is a continuous torrent of water pouring off the side of a cliff. Surrounded by lush trees, verdant green in spring and vermilion red in autumn, the waterfalls are set within a natural paradise. The water is fed through from Lake Chuzenji from Nikko National Park. Along with the central Kegon waterfall, there are twelve other smaller waterfalls all around making an amphitheatre of falling water, the sound is truly magnificent!
Along with being one of the top three waterfalls, Kegon falls was voted as one of the eight iconic views of the Showa era. The busiest time of year for the Kegon falls is autumn. A brilliant display of koyo autumn colours surrounds the area in a rainbow of hues. So if you find yourself in Japan at this time of year this is one of the best spots to see koyo!
Kegon falls is easily accessible with public transport. Take the bus to the Chuzenjiko Onsen bus stop and simply walk from there. One of the most exciting parts of visiting the Kegon falls is getting there. To see the falls from beneath, which is the best view, you must first travel 100 meters down in an elevator and walk through a tunnel carved into the side of the hill!