How to visit Yakushima without a guide Day 4 – Janokuchi Waterfall and Onaida Onsen
Janokuchi-taki waterfall hike
- Terrain: Woodland,forest
- Duration: 4 hours
- Difficulty: generally easy but with slippery parts
At this moment we have done the most popular hikes on the island. Janokuchi-taki Waterfall trail is lesser known to tourists, therefore we were almost the only people on the trail for the most part. The trail started from Onaida-Onsen house and runs into a tropical forest covered with palm trees. It is amazing to see here how tropical plants and cooler temperature zone plants, like cedar could exist not far away from each other.
The trail is a fairly easy woodland trail until we reached a river with a group of big rocks stick out of the water. From the sign waterfall is just beyond the river. We started to climb onto the rocks. Although there are some steps cut into the rock, they are unbelievable slippery. After 10min we still couldn’t find a safe route crossing the river. During our wait it started to rain, which made the rocks more slippery. I almost wanted to give up, but Todd finally managed to climb onto one of the big rock and found a way to cross. I overcame my anxiety and attempted to climb the same rock Todd just did. When the mind stops thinking, one’s rock climbing skills improve. Finally, I made through the rock field with all fours and joined Todd on the other side. We had forgotten until we saw other tourists that it would have been a fair bit easier if we had simply removed our hiking boots entirely. Climbing slippery rocks is much easier with bare feet.
The waterfall was just another 10 min easy walk, and it looks so serene to us probably because of the hard work. And the sun started to shine again. We took a lot of pictures at the waterfall, didn’t want to leave till we realize we are both a bit hungry.
Onaida Onsen, Senpiro- taki waterfall and fish shop
At the end of the trail we had a rewarding soak at Onaida Onsen. It is a lovely traditional Onsen frequented by locals. Man and woman were separated in different pools. The water is quite hot, very much needed after the previous hike.
After Onsen we visited the Senpiro-taki waterfall on the way. It seemed touristic and uninteresting comparing to Janokuchi-taki. Our sense was so tuned to food as we have been surviving on chocolate so far.
Driving back to Anbo I noticed a fish shop： 濑山鲜鱼店 next to the road. Remember seeing it in the morning, we pulled out the car to check it out. The fish shop is part of a family home, with a small display window facing the road. An old lady greeted us in Japanese. Figuring Sashimi should be the same word in Japanese, we pointed the fish in the window and repeatedly saying this word. She smiled and immediately pulled out some fish and making gestures explaining the cut. With body language we managed to have 2 pieces of fish(no idea what’s their names) cut into Sashimi. She was so efficient with cutting and slicing. Soon a tray of Sashimi was beautifully laid out with Wasabi on the side. A bit nervous how much this tray would cost us, we asked her for the bill. She pulled out her wallet and laid out 700 Yen coins. By this point we were very confused. Certainly this amount of fresh cut Sashimi would cost more, even in Acoop. There was surely some misunderstanding here. With no other way to ask, we handed over a 1,000 Yen bill. She accepted the bill, gave us 300 Yen change and said thank you with a smile. We walked out with our Sashimi tray and felt we had just robbed the place.
Having cooked our own dinner for the past three nights, we decided to give a try on local food in the evening. Our host recommended a good place for a local delicacy – flying fish. It is called Katagari-San, a restaurant in Anbo 5 mins drive from our cottage. It is a traditional family run restaurant filled with wooden furniture and decoration. Both our fish and pork set were very delicious.