Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Discover Japan's Fountain of Youth at Yoro Falls

Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr

Discover Japan's Fountain of Youth at Yoro Falls

John Asano

Yoro Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in Yoro Town on the western edge of Gifu Prefecture. The spectacular waterfall is 32 meters in height and 4 meters wide, and has been famous since ancient times for its pure spring water and scenic beauty. It is ranked one of the “Top 100 Most Beautiful Waterfalls” in Japan.


Japan Australia on Flickr

You can reach the falls after a pleasant walk of around 1.5 kilometres from Yoro Park through lush mountain forest and stunning Japanese maples. The area is one of the best spots in central Japan for the autumn leaves which are typically at their peak from late November to early December.

The path to the falls is lined with trees as well as a picturesque river, which winds its way down from the waterfall. The water that flows from the waterfall is ranked as one of the “Top 100 Best Spring Water” in Japan and is naturally filtered through the mountain of chalk that is Mount Yoro. The pure spring water is rich in minerals and natural gases and is believed by the locals to not only give silky smooth, clear skin but cure what ails you.


Japan Australia on Flickr

The right hand side of the river leading up to the falls has several shops selling all kinds of local delicacies, Japanese festival food and souvenirs. The locally produced drinks instantly grabbed my attention. You can try a local beer made from the spring water, as well as “Yoro Sanroku Cider”, which is a local carbonated cider also made from the natural spring water.


Japan Australia on Flickr


Japan Australia on Flickr

There is a fascinating legend attached to the falls as well. The falls are believed to be Japan’s Fountain of Youth and the magical properties of the spring water are believed to be able to cure all diseases. Locals have told me that this natural spring water can return lost hair and restore failing eyesight. I don’t know about that, but this great tasting water is certainly refreshing after the hike to the falls.

The local legend comes from a famous 8th century story about a young man and Yoro Falls. According to the story, a young man lived with his old, sick father near the falls. The family was poor with little money, so the son couldn’t buy his father’s favourite sake. One day, the son prayed, “I wish I had sake for my sick father.” Amazingly, the water from the falls turned into sake. The young man filled up his gourd water bottle and took it home for his father. His father drank the sake and miraculously got well again as well as though becoming younger. It is believed that the magical transformation of the water into sake was a reward for the young man’s piousness and dedication to his father.

From this famous story, the legend of Yoro Falls as a fountain of youth was born. Over time the famous story reached the capital of Japan in Nara. Empress Gensho, upon hearing the story, was so impressed with the legend, she just had to visit Yoro Falls to taste the water for herself. She must have been mightily impressed because she ended up naming the period of her reign, “Yoro” after the area and Yoro Falls. The Yoro Period spanned the years from 717 to 724 during the Nara Period, where Nara was the capital of Japan.


Japan Australia on Flickr

If you are interested in testing or should I say tasting the legend for yourself, you can find a wooden ladle at the base of the falls to drink the water from the spring. 

Yoro Falls is a place of scenic beauty with a fascinating local legend attached; discover its secrets on your next visit to Gifu Prefecture.

From Nagoya take the JR Tokaido Line to Ogaki Station and change there to the Kintetsu Yoro Line to Yoro Station. Yoro Park is a short 10 minute walk from Yoro Station.

Address: 1298-2 Takabayashi, Yoro-cho, Gifu Prefecture
Admission: FREE
Closed: Mondays and December 29 to January 3
Tel: 0584-32-0501 (Yoro Park)

Official Website