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Monday, November 19, 2012

Ryusei Waterfall & Ginga Waterfall, and Obako (流星の滝・銀河の滝/大函)| Sounkyo, Daisetsuzan National Park

Sounkyo is a hot spring resort nestled in the Soun Gorge (層雲峡) of the Daisetsuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園) in Hokkaido.

It is known and named after the nearby gorge, which runs for 24 km along the Ishikari River (石狩川) and features some pretty waterfalls and interesting lava formations. The gorge is located to the east of town, an easy walk or bike trip of a few kilometers along a disused highway.

Entry is free, so head here early in the morning to beat the tour bus brigade... or just head further down into the gorge, past the few falls frequented by everybody.

Ginga Waterfall (銀河の滝), literally "Galaxy Waterfalls", is a series of thin, silvery rivulets cascading down the mountainside.

Ryusei Waterfall (流星の滝), literally "Shooting Star Waterfalls", is a powerful fall seemingly bursting out of solid rock.

I recommend to walk along the Ishikari River, and enjoy the famous waterfalls.

The twin waterfalls are collectively referred to in Japanese as Meoto Taki (lit. “husband-and-wife falls”), with Ryusei-no-Taki as the husband and Ginga-no-Taki as the wife, and are listed among Japan's top 100 waterfalls.

Right behind the shops at the large car park, we walked up a series of stairs to Sobakudai(双瀑台), a pair of viewing decks.

The middle one was about half-way up and provided a view much better than the one we got at the car park.

But the upper viewing deck was even better as we were further above the tree line that would've blocked parts of the falls in the distance from our line-of-sight.

See?! The waterfalls are so beautiful!!!

We can see Mt. Kurodake (1984m) behind the twin waterfalls

This is a picture I took last fall. We enjoyed autumn colors of leaves here.

How about the two waterfalls in the winter time?

How romantic it is!!

The Ishikari River under the waterfalls are also covered with snow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

The gorge has a number of lava tubes (柱上節理) and other odd rock formations, many of which look not a little like concrete. Best known are the aptly named Big Box (Obako).


About 30,000 years ago, a volcano in this area erupted, and the pyroclastic flow  deposits were cooled, causing cracks to shrink and forming them in hexagonal or square patterns.

The deposits were eroded by the Ishikari River over 10,000 years, shaping today's gorge.

I really recommend this wonderful national park!

 ■Where are Ginga Waterfall & Ryusei Waterfall?

View Larger Map

■Tour guide information■
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