CONTRIBUTED BY JOELLE YAMADA
I'm not a wuss. No really, I'm not! Granted, I had a baby 3 weeks ago and was attempting to carry all 11 lbs of him in a sling — and my husband was alternating between energetically encouraging our 2 year old to walk, and carrying him on his shoulders. So maybe I'm not to best person to give a review of hiking to Hiji Falls, but here it is anyway…
Whoever wrote the sign (or brochure) that says the 1.7km hike to Hiji Falls takes 35-45 minutes was either on drugs or endowed with wings… or at the very least, not walking with two children. It may be 1.7km (just over a mile) but that MUST be a measurement as the crow flies which does not account for the HUGE staircases scattered generously through the hike. It took us about an hour to reach the suspension bridge, which is only halfway. At that point we passed a guy hiking with his dad who told us that we "hadn't seen anything yet" and that the staircases got worse from there on. We happily smiled for pictures on the bridge and did an about face to walk back to the car.
I would still suggest it as a beautiful hike. We saw many lizards, butterflies & beautiful giant ferns and also found a place that allowed us to walk down to the creek where my 2 year old enjoyed playing in the water for awhile. But, I wouldn't suggest it for those with kids unless you have all day to do it — and lots of water and snacks.
How to get there:
Easiest to visit if you are staying at Okuma. When driving north on the 58, the turn to Okuma goes to the left. To get to Hiji Falls, you turn right instead and drive a mile or so to a parking lot where you pay 300 yen (adults) for the pleasure of hiking.
HERE are other people's photos of Hiji Falls.