On one of the first sunny days of July after the rainy season, I decided to take a small tour around Nagano and Gunma and see the local landscape in all its glory. On the way back from Oni-oshi-dashi park, I noticed how close by the much-acclaimed Shiraito-no-Taki Falls was. The sun was out, and I was only ten minutes away, so how could I say no?
If you’re in either Nagano or Gunma prefectures, I would highly recommend seeing Shiraito-no-Taki Falls; even in the summer when it’s at its busiest, it’s so beautiful that you barely notice the tourists milling about you. You find yourself getting lost in the purity of the water, the beauty of its thread-like streams, which is where the name ‘Shiraito’ comes from, literally meaning ‘white threads’. This waterfall seems so miraculous, that it doesn’t seem to matter what the weather is or who else is there with you.
The Shiraito-no-Taki is a very special waterfall; because of the layers of different types of rock, the water flows beneath the earth’s surface, pouring out of the rock face rather than over the edge. In other words, the water does not come from a stream on the earth’s surface, rather it runs through the earth, taking many years to reach its destination. All year round the water flows - in autumn, the falls are surrounded by beautiful orange leaves, in spring and summer, lush, green vegetation grows. During the winter months, the icicles are illuminated, providing a stunning, romantic evening out.
Unlike the other Shiraito falls, at the base of Mount Fuji, this Shiraito-no-Taki is only three metres in height. However, it is certainly no less beautiful.
There are plenty of car parking spaces, food stands and souvenir shops only a couple of minutes away from the falls. You can also have a walk in the forest surrounding the falls - after all, the waterfall is not the only beautiful thing to see there. Bus tours are also available from Karuizawa. Shiraito-no-Taki is around a 25 minute drive from the Hoshino resort and the Picchio tourist centre.
In Hoshino, you may already be surrounded by beautiful wildlife, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t venture a little further out to see the rest that Nagano has to offer; Shiraito-no-Taki is a must see.