The Ryuzu Falls are twin waterfalls in the Okunikko region of Nikko which are famous for their beauty. “Ryuzu” literally means “dragon’s head” because the base of the falls, where they are split into two by a massive rock, is said to resemble the head of a dragon. The Ryuzu Falls are considered one of the “Three Famous Falls” of Okunikko, along with the Yudaki Falls, and the Kegon Falls.
The Ryuzu Falls are about 10 meters wide and flow for a length of 210 meters over volcanic rock branching into two at their base. Though they lack the spectacular magnitude of other waterfalls in the Okunikko region, their white cascades are very picturesque and have a lot of charm. The Ryuzu Falls are particularly popular in early summer when they are surrounded by azalea flowers, and in the autumn when they are framed by red and gold fall foliage.
The Ryuzu Falls are located on the north side of Lake Chuzenji along the bus route to Yumoto Onsen hot spring resort. There is a viewing platform in front of the falls which is free to access. Just beside the viewing platform is a souvenir shop selling local crafts and food products.
There is also a simple restaurant, the Ryuzu Tea House, which serves a range of tasty local rural dishes such as ozoni soup with rice cakes and wild mountain vegetables, udon and soba noodles with a variety of toppings, oden hot pots, and chimaki rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. Craft beers and local sake varieties are also available here.
The restaurant has counter seating in front of a window with a fine view over the waterfalls, so you can continue to watch the twin torrents while enjoying your food and drink. Both the food and drink are very good here and it is a good spot to take a break before heading on to your next sightseeing location.
The Ryuzu Falls can be reached by taking a bus bound for Yumoto Onsen. From the JR or Tobu Nikko Station bus terminals it takes about an hour to reach the Ryuzu-no-taki stop. From the Chuzenji Onsen bus terminal (close to Lake Chuzenji and the Kegon Falls) it takes about 10 minutes. At JR Nikko Station take the bus from Bus Stop 1A. At Tobu Nikko Station take the bus from bus stop 2A. At Chuzenji Onsen bus terminal take the bus from bus stop 26A.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.