Yoro no Taki (Yoro Falls) is a great spot to get outdoors near Nagoya. Anytime of the year is fine, but visiting the area in spring and fall is highly recommended, as the both the spring blossoms and fall colors both do a wonderful job decorating the mountains surrounding the waterfall. Viewing fall colors, or “koyo“, is what this area is especially known for though and the trip is a rewarding experience.
Yoro no Taki is Located about an hour outside of Nagoya in Gifu Prefectu in Yoro Park in the Town of Yoro. The waterfall itself is about 32 meters high, 4 meters wide, and is one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls. The water from the falls is famously high quality, and is said to have rejuvenating powers. In fact, its powers are legendary.
Yoro’s power is outlined in an old legend about a poor woodcutter who went into the woods to find firewood, and discovered the water of the spring had turned to rice wine. He filled a gourd with the spring water and brought it to his aged and ill father, who was returned to good health by the wine. The water-to-sake transformation was believed to be the gods rewarding the son for his dedication to his father.
The Empress Genshō, visited the area, and renamed the period of her reign after it:
“Yōrō” Exclaiming that “Rei Springs art beautiful springs. And so doth nourish the old. Perhaps it be the spirit of the waters. I hereby give amnesty under heaven, and fix the third year of the Reiki era anew to year 1 of the Yōrō era.”
At the base of the walkway to Yoro no Taki, you will find a wooden ladle set out for visitors to drink the water from the spring. You will usually also see people who have brought jugs to fill with the water and take home.
Yoro Park extends from the Falls to a prefectural road that runs along the foot of the mountain. It can be reached by taking the JR Tokaido Line from Nagoya Station to Ogaki Station. From Ogaki, you must transfer to a private rail line for the remaining leg of the journey to Yoro Station. From there it is about a 20 minute walk to the park. I usually take a cab though, it’s faster!
Keep your eye out for “Yōrō Sanroku Cider,” it is made from the local water, and is pretty tasty. This is Japan; you MUST buy tourist stuff when you stop somewhere. I think it is a law.
Washinosu Yōrō-chō, Yōrō-gun, Gifu-ken 503-1261 (map link)