Fukiware Falls, located in Gunma prefecture, is a waterfall coined as the “Niagara of the East”. The 30-meter wide falls leaves a striking impression on all visitors, with its powerful flows and beautiful scenery.
Around the falls, there are uniquely shaped boulders, a suspension bridge and more. Here are some sights you can’t miss at Fukiware Falls.
Fukiware Falls locates in Gunma prefecture’s city of Numata. You can find the waterfall in Katashina Ravine. The falls are 7 meters high and 30 meters wide, and are designated as a national natural monument and a national scenic site.
The rocks and geological structures of Fukiware Falls were created about 9 million years ago after a volcanic eruption. The lava from the eruption melted and solidified in the area, and about ten thousand years ago, the waterfall came into shape as how we see it today.
The name “Fukiware 吹割” comes from its appearance of how the falls look like a result of a huge rock blowing up (吹き割れる, “fuki-wareru”).
Around April and May is the best time to see the waterfall in action. The packed snow melts and flows down the falls.
The basin of the waterfall is said to be connected to Ryugu Castle in Okinawa, a legendary castle featured in many Japanese folklores.
It is said that the villages near by would borrow tableware from Ryugu Castle for special occasions by throwing in a letter into a basin. The following day, the villagers would find the designated set of tableware by the basin.
One day, the villagers borrowed a set of tableware, but forgot to return just one. Since then, it is said that Ryugu Castle never once rented out their tableware. The supposed unreturned bowl, called the Ryugu-no-wan (Ryugu Bowl), is kept and stored safely to this day.
Sights at Fukiware Falls
To get to Fukiware Falls, you will walk through a path. Throughout your journey to the falls, there are many beautiful sights.
The first sight you’ll see on the path is Masutobi Falls (鱒飛の滝). The waterfall has a 15-meter elevation difference, and it is said that a trout (masu 鱒) couldn’t swim up stream, so it tried to jump (tobu 飛ぶ) its way up.
Here in the Katashina Ravine, there are many uniquely shaped rocks. They are a result of the river eroding onto the land.
This rock, called the Hannya Rock (般若岩), is also a result of erosion. It got its name from the big opening in the center, as it resembles a hannya, a mask used in Noh theater performances.
As you keep walking along the path, you will eventually be greeted by Fukiware Falls. The waterfall is an amazing spectacle, with its rapid waters roaring loudly to welcome you.
You can get right near the basin of the waterfall. Just be careful and watch your steps, since the area is quite rocky.
The view from the observatory
Keep walking on the path to find three observatories. From each observatory, you can get a beautiful panoramic view of Fukiware Falls. From above, you can see the crevices of the falls very clearly.
At the top of Fukiware Falls is Senjojiki (千畳敷), an area of shallow water that measures around 1000 jo (senjo 千畳), or 2,000 meters squared. This area is shallow and has a gentle slope, which is a result of erosion.
From Ukishima-bashi Bridge on Ukishima Island, you can see the entire Senjojiki area.
Ukishima Kannon-do Temple
Ukishima Kannon-do is a small temple located on Ukishima, a small island on the river. It is said to be built around 795. The carved Kannon statue inside was built by Hidari Jingoro, the man who helped with the wooden carvings at Nikko Toshogu Shrine in Tochigi prefecture.
The Ukishima Kannon-do Spring Festival is held in April, and the Fukiware Kannon Festival is held in October.
Numata Festival (Aug.)
Every August from the third to the fifth, the Numata Festival is held throughout the city. It combines a spiritual temple festival and a commercial/industrial festival. It is one of the biggest festivals in the Kanto region.
A must-see sight at the Numata Festival is the Tengu Mikoshi. An all-women crew carry around a mikoshi, or float, that is in the shape of a tengu (long-nosed goblin) and march throughout the streets.
Nearest station: Fukiware-no-taki (Bus stop)
From Tokyo Station
【Tokyo Sta.】Joetsu or Hokuriku Shinkansen / for Omiya
→【Takahashi Sta.】JR Joetsu Line / for Mizukami
→【Numata Sta.】Kanetsu Bus / for Oshimizu
→【Fukiware-no-taki Bus Stop】
From Maebashi Station
【Maebashi Sta.】JR Ryomo Line / for Takasaki
→【Shin-Maebashi Sta.】JR Joetsu Line / for Mizukami
→【Numata Sta.】Kanetsu Kotsu / for Oshimizu
→【Fukiware-no-taki Bus Stop】
Fukiware Fall’s Fall Foliage
Fukiware Falls in autumn
Fukiware Falls is also a popular fall foliage spot. The leaves on the surrounding mountains change colors and match the waterfall perfectly.
You can catch the fall foliage at Fukiware Falls from the end of October to early November.
Okkai, Tone-machi, Numata-shi, Gunma
Entry forbidden at night
Closed between mid December and mid March