Izu Seaside

A special canyon course in the middle of a small onsen town…

Canyon Magazine
Japan Trip Report
May 2013

It’s 5:30am on a Saturday morning and the alarm to leave our house is going off. It’s too early. We have already been awake for the past hour and the sun is just starting to rise. We are slowly packing the car with our canyoning gear and camera equipment, ready for another canyon course. A final quick check to make sure we have everything (we nearly forgot the shoes last time) and we’re off. It’s a 170 kilometre drive to join and photograph today’s course. But this course is unique and special. This is Izu Seaside Canyon.

In the south-eastern area of the Izu Peninsula lies a small seaside town called Kawazu. It’s home to the famous group of seven waterfalls hidden in the mountains along a 1.5 kilometre stretch of the Kawazu River. Approximately two and a half hours from Tokyo by train it is one of the famous resort areas of Japan due to its unique waterfalls which are a major tourist sight throughout the year.

Izu Seaside is operated by Canyon’s Akagi branch. They have been running this course for many years and are lucky to be provided base at the very beautiful Amagisou Onsen to run the tours from. Amagisou Onsen has been in operation for quite a long time and offers the perfect location to stay and relax after doing this course.


The courses are run during May, October and by special request and there are two options. The full day course starts along the upper Kawazu River near the old Amagi Tunnel, followed by the standard half day course which encompasses four of the Seven Waterfalls (Known as Nanadaru in Japanese). Traversing these waterfalls is an experience you never forget. Everywhere there are people enjoying themselves,taking photographs watching others sliding over the final waterfall, simply enjoying the natural surrounds. This is what makes Izu Seaside canyon so enjoyable and interesting.

As usual, when you drive anywhere in Japan, you inevitably get stuck in a traffic jam and do we get stuck. A fifteen kilometre jam slows us down considerably. We make a quick call to tell our guides that we’ll be running late and we’ll catch up with them along the course. Following all the road rules, we finally make it to Amagisou, five minutes after the tour has left for the first section. We catch up with Shige one of the guides from Canyons, who is waiting for us. After a quick change into our gear we then collect all our photography equipment and rush off along the tourist trail to the start.

The rest of the course participants have already been driven up to the beginning of the course which is Kamadaru Waterfall. Kamadaru is 20 meters in height and 2 metres in width and the pressure and sound of the flowing water is immense, ending up in a basin of swirling water. This waterfall is a truly overwhelming sight. The columns of rock have intricate shapes made from lava which flowed through the bottom of the valley eons ago. These shapes forged into the walls of this gorge definitely add to the inspiring sight of the waterfall.


We arrive just as everyone is climbing down to their first jump. The crowd on the tourist trail is gathering to take photos and chat about how amazed they are to see people climbing and jumping off the edge of the waterfall. Some of the guides are back-flipping off the rock ledges, this is just the start of something special. Shige runs off to join the rest of the tour while we hang around on the sidelines photographing people as they enjoy the moment. After several jumps, we all make our way out of the water for a brief second and make our way to the next section.

A small amount of scrambling with a quick slide, everyone makes it to the second waterfall along the course: Ebidaru. Everyone gathers on one of the boulders next to the drop waiting for the next challenge. There are two waterfalls in one at Ebidaru and both are sliders. The first slider is only about 1 meter long but it throws you quickly into the second slider of five meters. You can see the nervousness on some of the participants but one by one, as soon as they slide over the edge that forces you down, they come back up floating with smiles from side to side.

A short distance we make it to the third waterfall called Hebidaru. This is only 2 meters in height and here everyone slides down backwards head first. After splashing down we all crawl out of the river back along the track ready to jump again. Jumping off waterfalls seems perfectly natural to do. The tourists who have gathered around watching us on the trail love this and are cheering everyone on. Several jumps later we all gather and slide and rock hop our way to the last plunge.


The final waterfall is known as Shokeidaru. This waterfall is approximately 10 metres high and 7 metres wide and at the tourist viewing area. It’s a well-known place for people to take photographs. Making our way to the left hand side of the drop there’s a sense that the journey is just about over. Positioning yourself and the letting the water push you over, sliding down in a torrent of water only to come up and smile at all the tourists looking on in amazement of people sliding off the waterfall. The crowd is gathering once again watching in amazement and bewilderment as everyone slides on over. Izu Seaside Canyon is now over.

As we walk from the final descent, dressed in wetsuits and helmets, with carabiners clanging away, we feel you have completed something that only a small number of people have done and want to do it all over again. But at least there is the bonus of a leisurely soak at Amagisou Onsen Resort to wind down.

Our thanks to Canyons Akagi crew of Daisuke, Shige, Randy and Guy, Amagisou Onsen and the participants who we photographed for the day.