Above It All // Soaring above some low clouds to catch the early morning light hitting the Japanese Alps at Okuhida Onsen. These are the sorts of moments when drone photography feels incredibly liberating and exhilarating. From where I was standing, barely any sunlight was making it through, and there was a damp early winter chill in the air that was keeping everyone in the comfort of their room (or perhaps the hot spring baths). The moment when the Mavic ascended above the cloud level, revealing the majesty of the Japanese Alps, was one to remember.
Okuhida Onsen is one of the most remote onset locations in the Hida Region, being a good hour’s drive from Takayama, the closest large town. Okuhida is a destination in itself because it is very close to the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway, which features an unusual double-decker cable car that takes visitors to an observation deck some 2,000 metres high. It was one of the places I visited when I first made a trip to Japan around a decade ago, and I’ve fallen in love with the country since!
Okuhida Onsen is known for its rustic outdoor baths, perfect for those who enjoy being close to nature. Nothing beats hearing the sound of rushing water from the nearby stream as you sit back and get yourself accustomed to the just-a-bit-hot spring water!
This gets a little confusing at times. There seem to be multiple names for a lot of these falls along the Utsueshijuhachi Falls trail. I’m going to go by the marker that was sitting in front of the falls.
Name: Kiyonoki-taki - 梵音滝 (きよのきたき)
Location: Takayama City, Gifu
Source: Utsue River
Parking: For about 25 cars and buses
Facilities: Vending machines, restaurant, gift shop, toilets
Admission Fee: ¥200
36°11'48.0"N 137°09’23.2"E (This coordinates are for the parking area.)
Also known as “Bonnon-taki”, this six meter set can be found near the middle of the trail. I can’t find any solid information about the origin of the name. The stone marker in front of the falls says it was named after the sound the falling water makes. A sign near the trail head states “the sound of the falls is similar to a priest reading sutras and tapping out a rhythm on a tree” but I’m not really sure. I think it’s one of those cases where I’ll have to ask a native Japanese speaker to help me!
There were bear warning signs up. Depending on when you visit and if there are a lot of other people present, you may or may not need a bear bell. The Long and Lat given above are for the parking lot near the trail head.
Last visited June 2017.