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Monday, July 31, 2006

Gongen Waterfalls

権現滝

Gongen Falls

Its even hotter today, and the meteorological office has proclaimed the rainy season officially over, so I decide to take my friends to another waterfalls, though at this one we can be guaranteed complete privacy.

Gongen Falls is a sequence of 6 waterfalls that cascade down the side of a nearby mountain. Only a couple of kilometers from our home, individually each waterfall may not be as impressive as Kannon Falls, but together they fall over 200 meters.
Each falls has a pool at their base that are perfect for skinny-dipping, and the reason they are so private is that it takes a little effort to reach them.

Gongen Falls

After parking the car its about a 2 kilometer walk. The first 1500 meters is along a fairly wide track, but the last 500 meters entails clambering over a rock filled gorge and its impossible to do without getting your feet wet.
My favorite pool is below the fourth falls. The pool is only a few meters wide, but 3 to 4 meters deep.

Gongen Falls The rock around the pool is colored red, and the local legend has it that this was caused by the blood of a dragon.
A long time ago, the water stopped running down to the village downstream. Unable to flood their paddies and grow rice, the villagers became worried, so one man went up to the falls to see what was wrong.
He shot an arrow into the deep pool and the water erupted as a screaming dragon burst out of the water and flew away dripping blood. Since then the water has never stopped running.

Gongen Falls

Below the sixth falls are a couple of larger pools that are not so deep.

Sacred tree, Gongen Falls

Above the final falls, at the top of the mountain , stands a huge, ancient oak tree girdled with a shimenawa marking it at a sacred tree.

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