The Katashina River flows rapidly down the Fukiwari-no-Taki wayerfalls. The fall which is about 30 meters wide, has an impressive drop of about 7 meters. Because of its impressive size, it is sometimes referred to as the Japanese Niagara falls after the famous waterfalls located in between Canada and United-States. Access is free and a path follows closely the river and falls. In fact, you can walk right next to the water so that you may take an unpleasant plunge of you are not careful but you get to admire the power of the river from up close!
The Oze National park, which is located not too far from Tokyo, stretches across four prefectures: Gunma, Fukushima, Niigata and Tochigi. The park is famous for its large marshland surrounded by mountains. To protect its fragile vegetation from human traffic, the park features an extensive network of boardwalks which makes for a easy hike and allows one to access areas of the wetland when you would otherwise be knee-deep in the water. Many mountain huts are scatered arounf the park for a pleasant overnight stay. Sleeping quarters consist of private tatami rooms with futons. All huts serve a warm dinner and most of them have public warm baths.
The ski season was soon over but didn’t plan to ski anyway. We took the chairlift from Doaiguchi station to Tenjindaira station only to admire the scenic view of the surrounding mountains.
The lava flow resulting from the eruption of Asama mountain on August 5 1783 completely buried the village of Kanbara. Today the site is a protected natural park with a temple dedicated to the victims of the eruption.
The next day, we went on for some hiking on another summit of mount Shirane. We were in the middle of the clouds for the greatest part of the day but we enjoyed the hike nonetheless. As a testimony that mt. Shirane is still quite active, there were numerus fumarol, those vents from which volcanic gas escape. The air was foul-smelling (like rotten eggs) because of the high sulfur content (H2S Hydrogen sulfide).
Mount Shirane is an active volcano of 2160m in the prefecture of Kusatsu. Close access to the crater was restricted, perhaps because of hazardous amounts of sulfur in the air. Despite some cloud cover, the view was quite impressive.