August 9, 2012

Road Trip out West . Day 5

Nozawa Onsen and Shiraito Waterfall

We spent the last part of our trip exploring the little town of Nozawa Onsen before visiting Shiraito Falls on our way home.  It was a quaint little town with fun little shops.  This little town is known for its many public onsens and its open air onsen used by the locals for cooking vegetables and eggs.  Mike, Abby and I headed down to this open air onsen to watch some local residents cook their eggs.  While we were down there a bunch of fellow Japanese photographers just adored Abby and started taking pictures of her.  I think there were 5 people taking her picture at one time.  It was quite hilarious and she really pulled out everything from cute to silly.  We continued to explore this little town that not too long ago was full of Olympians during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.  We saw the ski jumps and the ski lifts and runs that were used during the Olympics.  It's amazing how things get run down after 14 years. 

more unique flavored kit kats

gotta love all the finger socks people wear here in Japan

this was the house we rented for a few days...gotta love its odd shape

After leaving Nozawa Onsen we headed towards Tokyo but stopped along the way to view the famous Shiraito Falls that our boys know from the Legend of Zelda game.  Luckily it was a short walk from the parking area because at this point in our trip we were all a little tired.  The falls were everything I thought they would be.  They were absolutely beautiful.  The falls stand only 3 meters high and 70 meters wide.  The waterfall, which never dries up even in winter, is at the springhead of the Yukawa River.  The water comes from the rainfall that falls on Mt. Asama and penetrates underground.  It takes about 6 years to spring out at the top of the fall.  The water temperature is relatively high at 11.8 % centigrade which is thought to be the effect of geothermal heat from the surrounding volcanic activity.  These falls were literally one of the coolest and most unique falls I have ever seen.  We were definitely glad we stopped to see this wonder of Japan.             

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