In the city of Komono in Mie Prefecture, Mount Gozaisho and its beautiful contrasting seasonal changes are the arguably the main attraction in this scenic area. From Yunoyama onsen station and the surrounding area, it dominates the scenery as one of the highest mountains in the Suzuka mountain range that stretches across Mie and Shiga Prefecture. Thousands of locals and tourists alike flock to the mountain every year, but not many take the time to see the waterfall a little way off the hiking trail near the base of the mountain.
Aotaki waterfall is quite big, as waterfalls go, and easy to get to if you have already decided to head to Mount Gozaisho. To get there, you need to follow the hiking trail for about 15 minutes until there is a turn off with a path directly to the waterfall off the main trail. It is a short hike up but the small creeks make some parts of the trail damp and could be slippery without the proper footwear.
When the weather is nice, you can bring food and have a picnic near the waterfall. It is a relaxing and peaceful place, as it is not frequented by many people. The shade from the trees and the waterfall itself keep it from becoming too hot on a sunny day.
After visiting the waterfall, it is a short walk back to the hiking trail to continue your climb up Mount Gozaisho, which will take another 2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, you can head back down the trail and take the ropeway up the mountain. There is more to do on top of the mountain itself, but this waterfall is a short detour worth making. After that short climb you can also treat yourself to a soak in the onsens nearby to relieve any soreness accumulated during the day. There are numerous ryokans near Yunoyama Onsen Station, such as HMI Yamatoji, where you can even get a professional massage and continue enjoying the fresh mountain air from their outdoor bath.
To visit this waterfall, there is a bus from Yunoyama Onsen Station that stops near Yunoyama Onsen. From there climb up the slope for about 10 minutes, following the signs for the Mount Gozaisho Ropeway. The entrance to the hiking trail is just to the left of the ropeway ticket counter.