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Ice Falls in Unryu valley near Nikko ( Snow Hike / Japan Nikko)

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Views: 1034
Date:
03 Feb, 2016(Wed) [Day Trip]
Members: Weather:
Sunny, a little cloudy later.


How to reach:
  Transport: Train Taxi
To: Asakusa to Tobu-Nikko by Tobu line.
7:30 Express Kegon #1 9:20 Tobu-Nikko 2,700 yen includein the express fare 1,340 yen.
* If you use 6:12 Local express direct to Tobu-nikko, it would take a little longer but costs only 1,360 yen. (Weekend time-table may differ.)
9:25 Taxi from Tobu-Nikko to Unryu-keikoku tozanguchi, Unryu valley trailhead. Needs chains from Takio-jinjsa shine to the trailhead. It took 35 minutes including the time to put on the chains: 2,200 yen.
* The driveway walk from Takio-jinja shrine to the trailhead was just about an hour, so if you have time and stamina, you could get off the taxi at Takio-jinja shrine. It would cost probably about 1,400 yen.
From: As it could take 20 minutes longer, I walked down to Takio-jinja rather than call the taxi to the trailhead. The walk was about 45 minutes, and the taxi fare to Tobu-Nikko was 1,900 yen including the pick-up fare \980. It depends from where the taxi comes.
I got on the direct express to Shinjuku using the JR line from Ohmiya, but it cost about 1,500 more than the fare of the Tobu line to Asakusa.

Search (Google Transit): [Edit MyLocation] *Required to sign in
   Go by: Train, Car
   Return by: Train, Car

Map / Graph:
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Route Details:
   10:00 Unryu-keikoku tozanguchi trailhead
12:25 Unruu Falls
14:00 Unryu-keikoku tozanguchi trailhead
14:45 Takio jinja shrine

Route Infomation:
   The final section to the big fall traversing steep icy slope was treacherous. You need to ware light crampons; chain-spikes may not be enough to pass the icy inclined path.

Photos: View in slideshow
I took the 7:30 express train from Asakusa directly to Tobu-nikko. The seats were all designated but only 20% or so were taken.
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I took the 7:30 express train from Asakusa directly to Tobu-nikko. The seats were all designated but only 20% or so were taken.
The train ran at the foot of the Sky-tree.
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The train ran at the foot of the Sky-tree.
When train came near to Shimo-imaichi, fields became white with recent snow.
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When train came near to Shimo-imaichi, fields became white with recent snow.
The train arrived at Tobu-nikko at 9:20. As there is no bus service or whatever, I used a taxi to Unryu valley.
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The train arrived at Tobu-nikko at 9:20. As there is no bus service or whatever, I used a taxi to Unryu valley.
The narrow driveway was covered with packed snow, so the taxi had to put on chains at Takio-jinja shrine.
It took more than 30 minutes to reach the Unryu-keikoku trailhead. The small parking space was fully packed with around 15 cars. Several more parked along the forest road before this parking.
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The narrow driveway was covered with packed snow, so the taxi had to put on chains at Takio-jinja shrine.
It took more than 30 minutes to reach the Unryu-keikoku trailhead. The small parking space was fully packed with around 15 cars. Several more parked along the forest road before this parking.
As the snow was hard packed and slippery, I wore crampons with 6 spikes.
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As the snow was hard packed and slippery, I wore crampons with 6 spikes.
The first section was on a paved driveway covered with snow.
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The first section was on a paved driveway covered with snow.

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in an hour, I reached a Inarigawa viewing terrace. I could see Mt. Akanagi and Mt. Nyoho.
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in an hour, I reached a Inarigawa viewing terrace. I could see Mt. Akanagi and Mt. Nyoho.

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Two cars of fire department parked near Domoniwa branch. I caught on a hiker group here. It looked like I was the last hiker of the day.
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Two cars of fire department parked near Domoniwa branch. I caught on a hiker group here. It looked like I was the last hiker of the day.
There was another branched a little ahead of the Domoniwa branch. I chose the trail along the stream.
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There was another branched a little ahead of the Domoniwa branch. I chose the trail along the stream.

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There were several points that the trail cross the stream. If you don't wear waterproof shoes, it would be difficult to cross it. Also stocks are recommended to keep balance on the rocks with crampons on.
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There were several points that the trail cross the stream. If you don't wear waterproof shoes, it would be difficult to cross it. Also stocks are recommended to keep balance on the rocks with crampons on.

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I arrive the first ice pillar spot.
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I arrive the first ice pillar spot.

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I followed a hiker and went into the cave, but this place seemed dangerous.
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I followed a hiker and went into the cave, but this place seemed dangerous.
Even with a safety hat, these ice pillars could kill you if it hits you.
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Even with a safety hat, these ice pillars could kill you if it hits you.

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At the last section to the big falls, I climbed up and found that the trail was narrow on a steep slippery slope. This spot could be very dangerous, too.
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At the last section to the big falls, I climbed up and found that the trail was narrow on a steep slippery slope. This spot could be very dangerous, too.
I managed to pass the point. The dangerous traverse was the edge between a rock wall and snow in the upper left corner of this picture.
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I managed to pass the point. The dangerous traverse was the edge between a rock wall and snow in the upper left corner of this picture.

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The ice fall here was huge.
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The ice fall here was huge.
Like this.
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Like this.
As the place was a little crowded with hikers, I decided not to take a rest here, but turned around and continued to walk.
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As the place was a little crowded with hikers, I decided not to take a rest here, but turned around and continued to walk.

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I thought I'd have a short rest on a viewing terrace, but the place was also crowded with a hiker group, so I skipped it again.
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I thought I'd have a short rest on a viewing terrace, but the place was also crowded with a hiker group, so I skipped it again.
The temperature rose to 3 degrees centigrade. I could walk without an outer shell.
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The temperature rose to 3 degrees centigrade. I could walk without an outer shell.
14:05 I came back to the trailhead where I started to walk in the moring. I chose to walk down to Taiko-jinja shrine so that the taxi doesn't need to put on chains.
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14:05 I came back to the trailhead where I started to walk in the moring. I chose to walk down to Taiko-jinja shrine so that the taxi doesn't need to put on chains.

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It took me about 40 minutes to the Takio-jinja.
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It took me about 40 minutes to the Takio-jinja.
As I had called the taxi company before I reached here, the taxi arrived in 5 minutes.
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As I had called the taxi company before I reached here, the taxi arrived in 5 minutes.
I had late lunch with an ekiben, a station lunch box, and beer on the local train from tobu-Nikko to Shimo-omaich.
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I had late lunch with an ekiben, a station lunch box, and beer on the local train from tobu-Nikko to Shimo-omaich.
  
Notes:(by tatsuca)
  



The ice falls of this valley are at their best but they might pass the peak and collapse in a couple of weeks when a warm air mass comes over the Kanto area.

[Rating of the overall course for middle-aged beginner hikers, like myself
* The keys used in my logs are in: http://mountrec.com/modules/diary/629-detail-455
- Required Stamina: Level 3 of 5. I wore crampons all the way. As most part of the course is on driveways or forest road and traces were well broken in, it wasn't so tough.
- Difficulty: Level 2. There was only one fixed rope, but some spots need to you hand.
- Acrophobic? Level 3. The last section to the big falls was on a steep icy slope and it was scary. It could be life-threatening if you slip and fall to the base of the small frozen stream.
- Get lost? Level 1. The traces were very clear, but it could be level 3 if you're the first hiker after a snowfall.
- Photogenic? Level 4. The big ice falls were just gorgeous and breathtaking.
- Come again? Level 1. If there were a fixed rope at the traversing section I wrote above, the level would be 3. ^^;)

The original Log in Japanese is here.
http://www.yamareco.com/modules/yamareco/detail-806596.html
If you should be interested in my other logs, please check
http://mountrec.com/modules/mtrec/userinfo-629-data.html

I hope my humble hiking reports could be of any help for your memorable stay in Japan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through MountRec.



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