Photo: Arata Matsumoto/Shutterstock

To Get to One of Japan’s Coolest Waterfalls, You Have to Take an Elevator

by Morgane Croissant Apr 11, 2024

If hiking isn’t your thing but you’d still like to enjoy the beauty of nature, Japan’s figured it all out for you. To get to see the country’s highest waterfall, you don’t even need to break a sweat because there’s an elevator that will take you there.

Kegon Falls, located within Nikko National Park in the Tochigi Prefecture, has a 318-foot drop, the highest in the country. It has also been designated as one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan, alongside Nachi Falls (Wakayama Prefecture) and Fukuroda Falls (Ibaraki Prefecture).

Kegon Falls is only one of 48 waterfalls that visitors can observe in Nikko National Park, but it’s certainly the most convenient to get to. Since 1930, there’s been an elevator taking tourists to the base of the falls. The elevator has been updated a couple of times since its creation nearly 100 years ago, and it now takes up to 30 visitors at a time down 328 feet through the bed rock to reach the best viewing point, in just one minute.

@matadornetwork Join @jakeguzman on a journey to discover Japan's hidden gem: Kegon Falls 🇯🇵💦 Kegon Falls is one of Japan's most famous waterfalls, located in Nikko National Park in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. The waterfall is formed by the waters of Lake Chuzenji cascading down into the Daiya River. Lake Chuzenji itself was formed by the eruption of nearby Mount Nantai, a stratovolcano, thousands of years ago. Save this on your Japan bucket list 💫 🎥 @jakeguzman on IG 📍 Kegon Falls in Japan #kegonfalls #japantrip #visitjapan #japantiktok #waterfallsoftiktok #waterfalls ♬ original sound – Matador | Travel + Adventure

Access to Kegon Falls is open throughout the year: From 8 AM to 5 PM from March 1 to November 30, and from 9 AM to 4:30 PM from December 1 to February 28. The falls are beautiful no matter the time of the year you choose for a visit, even in winter when the flow is partially frozen and the surrounding landscape covered in snow.

Photo: AaronChenPS2/Shutterstock
Photo: Arata Matsumoto/Shutterstock
Photo: Eleonora Tuveri/Shutterstock

Admission rate to the falls is $3.75 (¥570) for adults and $2.25 (¥340) for children.

You can easily reach Kegon Falls from Tokyo by using public transport. Start by riding the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Ueno station to Utsunomiya station for just over 40 minutes. Then, from Utsunomiya station, ride the Nikko Line to Nikko station for about 40 minutes. Finally, take a bus from Nikko station to the waterfall (50 minutes).

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