Escape Japan’s Summer Heat at Nishizawa Gorge in Yamanashi Prefecture
One of the reasons that Japan attracts so many tourists is that it has four seasons each of which has its own beauty. It has cherry blossom in spring, fresh green leaves in summer, autumn leaves in autumn and snow in winter. It also has unique and interesting historical and cultural practices in each season, which means that you can enjoy your travels and never get bored in Japan any time.
Having said so, some people may find it quite hard to get by Japan’s summer due to its sweltering weather. Yes, Japan’s summer is unbelievably hot! Even people from South East Asia who are used to the heat may suffer and not be tempted to travel any more.
But no worries at all! We Japanese people do know how to go through this unbearable climate. For instance, eating cold foods like flavored shaved ice, hanging ‘Furin’ the Japanese wind chime that soothes your soul, and using ‘Uchiwa’ the fan to cool down. Now I would like to show you a way to avoid heat in the mountains, which is Nishizawa Keikoku or Gorge in Yamanashi Prefecture.
A popular getaway destination during summer
Nishizawa Gorge is located in the north of Yamanashi Prefecture and famous for its natural beauty. It has a lot of waterfalls such as Nanatsu Gama Go Dan No Taki or waterfall with 7 basins and 5 cascades. The gorge is filled with cool air and that’s why so many people visit this place in summer. You will be amazed with its beautiful rocks that have been carved out by water for thousands of years.
There are walkways along the gorge and you can enjoy hiking with the emerald green water flowing down right next to you. You can easily imagine how relaxing it is and even forget the heat of summer. By the way, the walkway is closed between December to April so please beware of when you visit.
History of the gorge
Nishizawa Gorge used to be in the inhospitable environment and nobody knew of its existence. But a mountaineer called Juji Tanabe somehow succeeded in capturing an overall picture of this place and published an article about it. Soon after a group of local people started constructing walkways which were linked to tracks that used to be trolley railways and then became today’s loop track.
Unimaginably beautiful waterfalls in the gorge
The most appealing part of this gorge is its waterfall and the way it looks is fascinating while the size is too big for anyone to believe. One of the waterfalls that you must check out is the one in the photo above “Nanatsu Gama Go Dan No Taki”. This waterfall was named so because it has 7 (nana) basins and 5(go) cascades. The upper fall is 3m high, the second 4m, the third 2m, the fourth 9m and the fifth 10m.
Also there is another amazing waterfall called Teisen No Taki or Teisen Falls. There is a look out platform on the track where you can get the best view over the waterfall. This spot is always packed with photographers who are trying to get good photos.
This area not only has waterfalls but also has some interesting rocks that happened to be shaped like things we recognize are there in this area. One of those is Kaeru Iwa or Frog Rock. This rock looks like a frog croaking on a rock. It may not look like it depending on the angle you look at it or because some people may have a completely different image of frog. But this rock should be very entertaining to most of the visitors.
Some points that need attention when you walk
While the hiking track is well maintained and relatively walker-friendly, it is still in the mountains and exposed to any kinds of natural hazards. For example some parts of the track are carved out of the cliff face which means that the track surface can be rugged and rocky and very slippery when wet.
Also the track is very narrow so when you pass someone walking towards you or go ahead of someone else you have to be very careful not to bump into them. What’s more it is not very recommendable to take dogs or pets with you as it can be dangerous. It is better to wear appropriate clothing and also carry the same attitude and ethics as if you were going on a serious mountain hike.
Nishizawa Keikoku Gorge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan and I’m pretty sure that you like it too. If you visit Japan in summer sweltering under the hot and humid weather it can be your option to go out to the mountains and avoid heat enjoy Japan’s beautiful nature. Information: Map