UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES: SOAK IN A HOT SPRING AT OODARU WATERFALL
“Okay, let me set the scene,” says Tee George. She sits up straighter and her eyes light up as she begins to emphasize her words with excited hand motions. “We made it to this cute, small town and there were cherry blossom trees everywhere. The town, at least this part, has probably five or six shops and a huge parking lot for the trails….”
Tee dives into the story of her unforgettable time at a picturesque waterfall. Much like the experience itself, she’s brimming with curiosity and excitement. As a content creator who focuses on travel and outdoor adventure, it’s no surprise that one of the Kawazu Seven Waterfalls was on her itinerary.
Of the seven iconic waterfalls, Tee and her husband set aside time to explore Oodaru Waterfall. Standing at an impressive 98 feet tall and stretching 23 feet across, this massive beauty isn’t the only attraction.
“There are natural hot springs right in front of it. Natural pools of water that you can soak in, right in front of this stunning waterfall,” says Tee. “It was the best experience ever. We could have sat there all day.”
Logistics for their adventure required a bit of planning and a lot of hope.
“I wasn’t entirely sure if they were open as I couldn’t find anything online. Tickets to get in are usually available through a nearby hotel, but it was closed due to a fire. So we just followed a path from the parking lot of the trailheads. When I saw a lady in a booth a little ways down the path I was so excited! ‘Oh my gosh, they’re open!”
For just $8 per person, plus the cost to rent towels (bathing suits are also available for rent but Tee and her husband came prepared), the two were able to soak in what Tee described as the most beautiful experience of their trip.
While their early spring visit meant near-freezing temperatures, it also meant they had the waterfall and hot springs to themselves, with the cold weather making the experience all the more memorable.
“I hike all the time and see waterfalls often. I’ve even jumped into swimming holes — but this? Never in my life has it been 30-something degrees outside, I’m freezing, there’s a beautiful waterfall in front of me, and I’m soaking in a hot spring.”
Especially when busy itineraries or limited travel schedules nag at precious hours, it can be difficult to slow down and really experience such a beautiful sight. According to Tee, renting a car afforded them more time at the waterfall, whereas the bus, albeit available and less expensive, would have created an unfortunate time crunch.
“It wouldn’t have been as special if I was just like, okay. It’s really cool. It’s really pretty. Take a picture. We have to leave,” says Tee.
Not even the freezing temperatures were enough to draw her away in any hurry — and she hopes you don’t rush off either.
“Just enjoy the moment. Truly immerse yourself in the experience. We stayed there for two hours just to enjoy the peacefulness of the waterfall flowing and the warm spring.”
“I think this is Japan showing off,” says Tee. “Anywhere else can offer huge cities, but I don’t know if people recognize Japan for how truly beautiful it is. But it’s all in one — you have to come to Japan to experience a moment like this.”