Hiking Kirifuri Kogen
Sitting 8 kms north of the heart of Nikko city is Kisuge-daira, home to some of the area’s most beautiful parks and mountain views. Towering about 1,200 meters above sea level, and stretching all the way from the southern slopes at the base of Mt. Akanagi-yama to the north-western part of Tochigi, these highlands are worth a visit for anyone interested in really immersing themselves in Japan’s incredible natural beauty. Beyond stunning mountain ranges, the highlands also accommodate Kirifuri-no-taki Falls, the spectacular 75 meters high waterfall that’s commonly regarded as one of the three most beautiful falls in Nikko.
Of course like so many other pockets of Nikko, Kirifuri Highlands offer something for visitors all year round, however during the months of spring to summer and early autumn is when the grounds are at their most breathtaking. The highlands’ field hosts a variety of different kinds of flowers that transform throughout the seasons. If you’re in town during the hot summer months of late June to mid-July don’t miss the opportunity to witness the broad dwarf day lily (Nikko Kisuge) flowers as they bloom and paint the entire field a glowing yellow.
The lily coated fields aren’t the only areas that see seasonal transformation here on the Kirifuri Highlands. When you’re in the area make your way to Kirifuri-no-taki to witness firsthand the transformative effects of the famous koyo (autumn) season during October. At an impressive 75 meters high, the fall is divided into upper and lower tiers that roar down the mountainside. In Japanese, Kirifuri is said to mean “falling mist”. In spring the trees that surround the falls are a rich lush green, in winter the falls are partially frozen and become carpeted in white, however during autumn you’ll swear you’re visiting a completely different place as the surrounding foliage turns a glowing red, orange and gold. It’s this sight that makes Nikko one of the most impressive seasonal sightseeing spots in all of Japan.
As the highlands are located in the Japanese alps, there’s always plenty to see and do in the area for outdoors lovers of any style. If you’re an adventurous skier there are four lifts and four main runs on Kirifuri Highlands Ski Ground. However if you're in the area during the warmer months, check out the highland’s collection of walking and hiking trails. It is home to a network of paths ranging from smaller more beginner friendly options all the way up to more ambitious treks that can take a number of hours to complete. Finally for those more interested in eating and relaxing, the highlands area also hosts a collection of restaurants and omiyage (souvenir) shops dotted along the trailhead at Kirifuri Falls.
Getting to the highlands is pretty straightforward as there is only one main road, which the local buses run along. If you’re travelling by public transport you can catch the bus from JR or Tobu Nikko station. Take the bus to “Kirifuri-kogen” bus stop, the journey from the station to the stop will take about 25 minutes. If you’re planning on getting around by car you can take the approximately 30-minute drive from Nikko on the Nikko Utsunomiya road.
- Facility Name
- Kirikuda Takahara
- Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Tokorono
- Business hours
- Visit free
- Regular holiday
- Visit free
- Information Sources:
- NAVITIME JAPAN