28th February: Nikko – Kegon Falls

The previous night I had hired a car, confident that this would be a fine day.  I headed off out the back of Nikko, up a very steep and winding road towards Lake Chuzenji.  Here, we are about two-thirds of the way up and the building is the station and restaurant for the Akechidaira Ropeway, which was closed at the time.

This is the view looking back towards Nikko, with various other conurbations in the distance.

On the left, the road crazily zigzags up the mountain, while in the distance there are many barriers on the mountainside, presumably to prevent erosion.  In the valley there are waterfalls over a succession of weirs, presumably for flood control.

Click for much larger view.

Looking further up, here is the horizon, a stitched panorama of many images.  You can see a much larger view by clicking on the image.

Having arrived at the top, it was a very short drive to the entrance for Kegon Falls.  Access is particularly easy because there’s actually a lift (that’s probably elevator in American) that goes down to various platforms at the bottom of the valley.  The falls are nearly 100 metres high, so the drop for the lift is greater.  It being winter, the falls were partly frozen and partly flowing.  This is looking towards the base of the falls from one of the lower platforms.

Across the valley, there was some nice light on some trees on a ridge (looks better in the larger view with the black background if you click on it).

At the bottom of the falls, the water picks its way down a rocky slope.

Water and icicles.

Frozen and unfrozen waterfalls.

Ice, rocks and water below the bottom of the falls.

A lone tree across the valley.

The top of the falls, from a long way away and a long way below.

These are basalt columns caused by volcanic activity.  The waterfall itself results from a barrier after a volcanic eruption which I surmise must have created or enlarged Lake Chuzenji.

A steep water schute near the viewing platforms, on the other side to the waterfall.

An overall view of the waterfall.  The light’s not really optimal but wasn’t able to wait for the sun to come around.

7 comments on “28th February: Nikko – Kegon Falls

  1. […] 28th February:  Nikko – Kegon Falls […]


  2. Lois says:

    Amazing, Murray. Did you climb up those mountains? I love the frozen waterfalls… those icy pictures remind me of scenes in ‘The Game of Thrones’. I was interested to see the basalt columns… I used to think they were unique to County Antrim at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland… but then I saw some in Iceland and realised they could be found elsewhere too.


    • Murray Foote says:

      Hi Lois. No, no time for any extended walks. The views were from beside the road and I didn’t even have to walk to the waterfall. Yes the frozen waterfalls are quite remarkable. There’s another coming up in the next post. I’ve seen a picture of huge granite columns beside a lake in the west of Iceland. I’m currently toying with the idea of going there next year.


      • Lois says:

        Oh you must! Your pictures would be sensational! There are basalt columns on a black beach in Iceland which are incredible.


      • Murray Foote says:

        I’m contemplating a trip including the Highlands, Western Isles & Orkneys, Lofoten Isles in Norway, Aurora cruise round Spitsbergen then Spitsbergen Greenland Iceland, then driving round Iceland. Still in the early planning stage.


      • Lois says:

        How wonderful! I have visited the Highlands a couple of times and other parts of Scotland but never reached the islands. I’ve been reading some novels set in the Shetlands so now I really want to go there, but it has been a long time ambition to go to Orkney and see the ancient ruins there, Skara Brae etc. There is something magic and strange about islands, but northern islands are very mysterious, aren’t tehy?


      • Murray Foote says:

        As a preconception, I’m mainly interested in standing stones (and other ancient structures), obscure ruined castles and landscapes. There’s also the Calanais standing stones in Lewis and I’d rather like to go to St Kilda, a small island 40 kilometres from the Outer Hebrides, inhabited for 3,000 years until 1930. My father’s mothers family came from Viking stock and the earliest mentions of them were at Caithness and the Orkneys. In the Orkneys, particularly Hoy, so it would also be interesting to go somewhere where ancestors may have lived. Mousa Broch in the Shetlands is very tempting, too.


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