Waterfalls and Wasabi Ice Cream – Joren Falls in Shizuoka
Not far from Tokyo, Shizuoka prefecture has a lot of natural beauty to explore and unique food experiences to offer. If you are traveling to Japan, make sure to seek experiences beyond what is available in the major cities. We at runAway Japan did just that! Early on in our 50-day adventure through Japan, we traveled to Shizuoka prefecture and found a beautiful waterfall and tasted a flavor of ice cream unlike anything we had tried before!
Shizuoka is best known for its coastlines and beaches, but in the middle of the prefecture, away from the coast, is where you’ll find Jōren Waterfall. This waterfall drops from 25 km high and is the largest on Mount Amagi. It also makes the list as one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls! In order to reach the falls, you have to take a short but enjoyable hike. As you hike down, you can hear the roar of the falls and get glimpses of it through the trees. In the afternoon, rays of sun peek through the trees and magically light up the waterfall and surrounding forest. The water looks so refreshing and clear that it is tempting to jump in. Further down the Kano River, the conditions are perfect for growing wasabi plants.
Fresh wasabi is when they take the root of a wasabi plant and grind it into a spicy paste. It is expensive and hard to find because of how difficult it is to grow. Most of the time, the wasabi paste you buy from the store or receive at a restaurant is actually horseradish being used to imitate wasabi. Luckily, the crystal clear waters of the Jōren Waterfall and Kano River create ideal growing conditions, and produce the highest quality wasabi grown in Japan. Part of the thrill of eating wasabi is that burst of heat that shoots up through your sinuses, instantly making your eyes water, only to have it quickly fizzle out without a trace. That is, until you take another bite!
Although wasabi is most commonly eaten with sushi and other traditional Japanese dishes, Shizuoka offers a totally different way to experience it; as ice cream! Watch Episode 2 of runAway: Sole of Japan to see our team try this spicy ice cream. It might look like your typical sweet treat, but if you pay attention as Dean and Megan get their first taste, their expressions say it all. They did keep eating it though, so it couldn’t have been that bad! It doesn’t have to be your new favorite flavor, but it could be one of the most unique desserts you try in Japan!