Posted on 07/22/2010

Photo taken on June 16, 2010

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Japan 2010

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Taka-daki (Hawk Falls 鷹滝), or maybe Tsubame-taki, Yabe, Kumamoto 熊本

Taka-daki (Hawk Falls 鷹滝), or maybe Tsubame-taki, Yabe, Kumamoto  熊本
Following some hand painted signs along the road for "Unoko-taki 鵜の子滝," (Child of Cormorant Falls); we drove until one small sign pointed down a hill on a narrow road behind a bus stop shelter. We parked beside the bus stop barely off the road because the road pointed to by the sign looked like it could end abruptly in a ditch at any moment. It began going down steeply through some fields, but after crossing a bridge, it became a newly paved 2-lane road with zero traffic. After about a mile of this it narrowed to a gravel path, and then became a paved road again. Eventually, it became a trail, and we still hadn't found any waterfalls. We occasionally dropped down to the stream the road/trail was following because it sounded louder than usual to see if there were any waterfalls - there weren't.

After a long hike, the road ended (like a farm field road at this point) and definitely became a path heading down the hillside. "In for a penny, in for a pound" and we trudged on through the humidity. We first came out at the top of a wide short falls, but decided it couldn't be Unoko Falls because it wasn't big enough for all the signs we'd been following. The upper falls turned out to be named Tsubame-taki or "Swallow Falls." Well, we've wasted this much time and effort, we may as well go farther and kept hiked a bit further and found a big drop. We thought this was Unoko Falls. As it turned out, this is the middle falls, or "Taka-daki," "Hawk Falls" 鷹滝. (These might be "Tsubame-taki" and not "Taka-daki" but then the upper falls we came out at the top of would be nameless. The photos show 4 waterfalls down this stretch but only 3 names, even on some maps I found online. Since we didn't make it to "Unoko-taki," I don't know what all the names are, and photos on Google Earth have all the falls named interchangeably. I'll correct the names when/if I come up with a good map.)

If we'd gone further, we would have come out on another road that leads up to Unoko Falls, 鵜の子滝. The falls we found were the most difficult to reach. At least now I know I can drive that road/trail to the start of the falls trail from the Tsujunkyo side, or drive up from the Naidaijin area to get to the falls from the south.