10 Hometowns for Each - takuminasuno.com
Photography
2015/02/14

Visiting Snowy Unazawa Valley to See Frozen Waterfalls in Tokyo (23 Photos)

Tama River near Okutama Station

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG HSM (18mm, f/5, 1/160 sec, ISO-100)

Frozen waterfalls are fragile and beautiful. Hyakuhiro-no-taki Waterfall, which I visited two weeks ago, was authentically beautiful but not that frozen that day. I understand that it depends highly on luck how much a waterfall freezes.

Snowy Waterfall is the Entrance of Greatest Wintry Nature – Hyakuhiro-no-taki Waterfall is Waiting for You!

I'm now in Okutama again to see other frozen waterfalls in Unazawa Valley. The weather is perfect with this blue sky. I hope I can see waterfalls being frozen today.

 

Signboard to America Camp Village

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/2.8, 1/160 sec, ISO-400)

I'm walking to America Camp Village in the first place.

 

Vacant America Camp Village

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (74mm, f/2.8, 1/160 sec, ISO-400)

There's nobody in America Camp Village, where I had found plenty of families last summer.

 

Unazawa Forest Trail

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/2.8, 1/160 sec, ISO-1250)

Most of the way to waterfalls of Unazawa Valley is a forest trail like this. The ground is made of concrete and very slippery when being frozen.

 

Artificial Waterfall at Unazawa

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (74mm, f/4, 1/6 sec, ISO-100)

Here's an artificial waterfall located in the beginning of this forest trail. The trunk had fallen into the river and the waterfall looked quite different from the one in summer.

 

Tenguiwa-no-taki Waterfall

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/11, 1/6 sec, ISO-100)

I couldn't get closer to this Tenguiwa-no-taki Waterfall on the way. It is not artificial but natural.

 

Map of Unazawa and its Surroundings

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (74mm, f/2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO-100)

Here's the entrance of Unazawa mountain trail.

 

Unazawa-enchi

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG HSM (20mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO-100)

Even though there's a plenty of snow left on the ground, it was a perfectly fine weather.

 

Signboard to Unazawa-no-yontaki

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec, ISO-1250)

The signboard says Unazawa-no-yontaki, which literally means "Four Waterfalls of Unazawa". Indeed, there are four waterfalls here, but the last one is not open, or rather, not available to beginners and intermediates. I'm not going to the last one today, either.

 

Entrance of Unazawa Mountain Trail

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO-1250)

The trail is snowy like this. It might be hard to find a way if you come here for the first time.

 

Signboard to Unazawa-santaki

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO-100)

The board says Unazawa-no-santaki, which means "THREE Waterfalls of Unazawa". It seems like the last one is regarded as being not existing.

 

Unazawa Mountain Trail with Snow

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO-100)

The ground is so snowy that you need to wear crampons here.

 

Mitsugama-no-taki Waterfall

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG HSM (24mm, f/29, 1.3 sec, ISO-100)

As I went up the trail a bit, the first waterfall appeared in front of me. Mitsugama-no-taki Waterfall was surrounded with some white snow and was being more frozen than Hyakuhiro-no-taki Waterfall. It is relatively big in volume of water despite its low height, and looks pretty gorgeous. This made me hold higher expectations for the other waterfalls.

 

Nejire-no-taki Waterfall and

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG HSM (24mm, f/29, 5 sec, ISO-100)

The second is Nejire-no-taki Waterfall.

 

Nejire-no-taki Waterfall

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/4, 1/8 sec, ISO-100)

Nejire-no-taki Waterfall is small and hidden inside the cave-like space of Unazawa. They look modest but attractive, being fit into this small space.

 

Icicles at Nejire-no-taki Waterfall

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (70mm, f/5.6, 0.8 sec, ISO-100)

The wall around the waterfall is decorated with plenty of icicles. It must be fun to imagine the pure sound of waterdrop from the melting icicles.

 

Snowy Trecking Course of Unazawa

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG HSM (24mm, f/5.6, 1/40 sec, ISO-320)

I continued to walk further on the snowy trail.

 

Okutama Ootaki Waterfall and its Surroudings

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG HSM (14mm, f/22, 1.6 sec, ISO-100)

As I went down the last slope, I found the other waterfall, Ootaki Waterfall of Okutama.

 

Landscape of Okutama Ootaki Waterfall

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG HSM (24mm, f/22, 1.6 sec, ISO-100)

Ootaki Waterfall is the most frozen of the three.

 

Okutama Ootaki Waterfall and Frozen Basin

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG HSM (24mm, f/22, 1.6 sec, ISO-100)

And the basin was filled with broken ice plates. It is very wintry and close to what I expect frozen waterfalls should be.

 

Okutama Ootaki Waterfall

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (76mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO-500)

I was so impressed that I shooted various images of Ootaki Waterfall.

 

Icicles and Water of Okutama Ootaki Waterfall

Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (172mm, f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO-1000)

This is the top of the waterfall. The telephoto gives me a dynamic impression.

 

Okutama Ootaki Waterfall from Bottom

Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 IIDG H.SM (24mm, f/29, 2.5 sec, ISO-100)

The last photo is from a lower angle, the same spot as the last one of this post.

Waterfalls of Okutama

The atmosphere is quite different. The combination of snow and ice looks fragile and beautiful. This makes me really want to see the autumn version of this waterfall, and hopefully the fourth one, Fudou-no-taki Waterfall in the upper area next summer.

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Author of this Blog

Takumi Nasuno. Tanagura Supporters' Ambassador (Official supporter of Tanagura Town of Fukushima Prefecture). A man who recommends TRIPLESSO just as he likes. A multi-language blogger for mainly nature photography. Currently I'm off from my main job (knowledge management and data analytics) and devoting myself to childcare for my newborn baby for half a year.
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