There are four lovely waterfalls near Kanayama town that can be hiked in about an hour and a half for the round-trip. The trail begins at the Hakusan Jinja and it follows the rushing stream, of course heading into the valley. There is a parking area just before the first waterfall, so we left the car here while we hiked the rest of the way. It is a distance of 1.3km on the trail from the first waterfall to the fourth, but it is longer than that since we have to descend on stairs or a sloping trail down to the pool at the bottom of each fall, and then up again.
The four waterfalls of Kanayama are mentioned in a legend about a princess and a golden rooster. This story is excerpted from the post at Okunomichi.
Once upon a time: A golden rooster lived in Kyoto during the Heian period. It crowed every New Year’s Day during the four centuries of peace. Then, in the year 1093, war broke out and the golden rooster flew away.
The Princess Kogane-Hime, a devout Buddhist who missed the rooster, faced Hiei-zan. She heard a message: Go to a mountain of waterfalls. So she traveled far and long and finally reached Hida-Kanayama at the end of the year.
She could hear the voice of the rooster, but search as she did, she could not see it. She went from one waterfall to another: The Shirataki and the Ni-no-taki, and finally a third waterfall. She stood under the water to purify herself. Suddenly, she heard the golden rooster.
The falls she stood under became known as Keimei-taki of Yokotani Gorge.
Although the rooster refused to return to Kyoto, Kogane-Hime gathered some herbs for her ailing mother and went back to Kyoto in time to save her mother. The princess became known for her compassion and was regarded as the goddess of children.
The Four Waterfalls
First Waterfall: 白滝 Shirataki (White Falls)
The top of the first waterfall as seen on the hike to the second.
Second Waterfall: 二見滝 Futami Taki (Double Falls)
Third Waterfall: 紅葉滝 Momiji Taki (Maple Falls)
300m to the fourth waterfall.
Fourth Waterfall: 鶏鳴滝 Keimei Taki (Rooster Falls)
A Hidden World
Each waterfall is contained in a little valley of its own. The curtain of rushing white water, the pool at the bottom, the rivulets, and the green trees and grasses — all form a private sanctuary far away from daily life. We can really relax, meditate, and appreciate being one with Nature. We return to our regular lives feeling happy and refreshed.