One of my favorite mini-hikes in Norikura Highlands is the trail to Sanbondaki Falls. It starts off from the Sanbondaki parking lot, which is accessible by bus from the Norikura Tourist Center or by your own car. Reaching the falls takes only about 20 minutes and the hike is quite easy.
On the way to the falls, you’ll walk along a pleasant forest trail, which, at some points, has boardwalks covering muddy areas and wooden bridges that cross over clear, mountain brooks.
Keep an eye out for cute flowers and plants along the way ^^
You’ll know when you are close the destination, as the you’ll begin to hear the roaring waterfalls in the distance. There is a little suspension bridge that runs over another waterfall near the Sanbondaki Falls, too!
The trail ends at the convergence of three waterfalls that run down the surrounding cliffs (Sanbondaki literally means «three waterfalls» in Japanese). With the misty air, huge boulders, and mossy rock walls, the whole spot has a sort of magical feel.
My favorite waterfall is the one that runs down a wide rock face from high above, separating into several streams of water along the way. You can get really up close to this one!
Another waterfall is a powerful stream of water that falls directly down into the forest stream. There is a big boulder you can climb up right in front of it (just be careful not to slip on the moss!).
To see the third waterfall, you’ll have to look a little bit harder (look up towards the left). It’s much smaller than the other two, but it’s unique in the way it seems to appear out of nowhere, trickling down from the edge of forested cliff.
To see other waterfalls in Norikura, check out this post!