Friday, March 9, 2018

Japan Autumn Nov 2017 一人で日本の旅 - Shimonomiya JR Station 下野宮駅, Tsukimachi no taki 月待の滝

Visited 07.11.2017. 

Shimonomiya JR Station.
Shimonomiya JR Station (下野宮駅), is an unmanned train station on Suigun line (水郡線) and closest to Tsukimachi no taki. The area around the train station is considered rural, sparsely populated in general. Upon exiting the train station, there is a post office (Daigo Shimonomiya Post Offfice) on the right. Upon reaching the first T-junction, turn left and continue walking straight following the signage which direct the way to Tsukimachi no taki. Unfortunately, there are neither no taxi stand nor bus stop outside the train station, travel by foot seemed to be the only option to get to Tsukimachi no taki at this point of time.

30 minutes walk from Shimonomiya JR Station to Tsukimachi no taki.

Greeted by rural scenery as soon as you exit from the train station. While waiting for my train to arrive, I dropped by the post office (on the right) and had a unexpectedly pleasant casual conversation with the staff! Yet again, touched by the friendliness of the locals. 
Boarded the train and made my way to Fukuroda next.

Tsukimachi no taki (月待の滝)

In a much more secluded spot than Fukuroda no taki is Tsukimachi no taki (月待の滝), where visitors can go behind the water curtain to capture a different view of this natural landscape. 
Tsukimachi no taki is very much more secluded in location and less touristy than Fukuroda no taki. Standing at 17 m tall and 12 m wide, Tsukimachi no taki comprises of three waterfalls. Only two of them are seen on all occasions; the third and smaller one will appear when there is a huge influx of water from the nearby Kuji River (久慈川). One unique feature of this waterfall is visitors are able to go behind the water curtain to capture a completely different view of this waterfall! This was my first encounter of such waterfall and I was extremely excited about it. Autumn is a good season (in November) to visit Tsukimachi no taki because the surrounding is decorated by mesmerising autumn foliage, making it an excellent photo-taking spot. Prior to this visit, the most vivid memory I have for waterfalls in Japan were the ones found along Oirase Keiryu (奥入瀬渓流) in Aomori Prefecture. Both Tsukimachi no taki and Fukuroda no taki are equally appealing, yet under-rated in my opinion. These are two attractions which I will highly recommend to pay a visit to while staying in Ibaraki Prefecture.

If you plan to extend your stay till lunch hours, there is a small eatery (Momiji-en もみじ苑) that overlooks the beautiful waterfall and serves Hitachi Aki Soba, a specialty of Ibaraki Prefecture.

Third and smallest waterfall appeared on the day of my visit!

Sneaked behind the water curtain!


How to get there?

(1) By train and walk.
From Mito JR Station (水戸駅), board the northbound local train via Suigun line (水郡線) heading towards Fukuroda (袋田駅), Hitachi Daigo (常陸大子駅) and Koriyama (郡山駅). Alight at Shimonomiya JR Station and walk for another 30 minutes. The entire train journey takes slightly less than two hours.

Note: As direct train services between Mito and Shimonomiya are infrequent, it is prudent to check train schedule and plan your trip in advance. For my trip, I visited both Tsukimachi no taki and Fukuroda no taki on the same day. I started my day early and made my way to Tsukimachi no taki first. Spent approximately two hours, inclusive of one hour of travelling time between Shimonomiya JR Station and Tsukimachi no taki, in both directions. Hopped onto the train again and stopped at Fukuroda to visit Fukuroda no taki. As compared to the former, there are more train services between Mito and Fukuroda (still not ideal; about one per hour or one every two hours), therefore allowing travel to be more tolerable and flexible.
Train schedule (via hyperdia):

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