Yoro falls(養老の滝), Gifu

It was our weekend drive to hike Ibukiyama in Gifu prefecture. But as we got off the Meishin Expressway and asked the staff at the toll booth, we came to know that Mt. Ibuki hiking path is closed due to rock fall. So we drive a little backward to the Yoro falls. After parking our car, we walked up to the falls. There were a lots of autumn trees all the way, we were a little earlier. Two more weeks might be needed for the autumn to adorn that area.

The falls was located at 1100meter apart the parking area. We saw a small temple near the parking area and a nursery school with lots of interesting Anpanman toys( My kid really wanted to get inside). On the way to the waterfalls, there were many small stalls and shops selling fruits like Persimmon, orange etc. and souvenirs. We bought a grilled sweet potato and walked up enjoying the beauty of the surroundings. There were some red maples here and there. And the water from the falls flowing down as small falls on its rocky pathways.

There was a narrow road with some stairs all the way up to the falls. We could see some souvenirs shaped like a gourd in every shop. Every piece differed in shape, so we were confused about what it was. We asked a shopkeeper and she explained the story behind it.
Those were actual gourds(crane necked gourds). They remove the seed and flesh from the gourd and painted it oo brown. We could see big gourds with flesh removed from it. During ancient days, people used to remove the flesh and the seeds of these gourds by making a small hole at the top and used those hollow gourds as water bottles.

There is an ancient story behind this which makes Yoro falls famous. Yoro falls is famous for its pure water. The story goes like this. “Once upon a time there was a woodcutter who went near the falls for firewoods. For his surprise, he found the water in the falls turned to sake. He filled his gourd water bottle with that sake and took it home. His bedridden father drunk the sake and become healthy. This reached the ears of the emperor Gensho who visited the falls and drunk the water from this falls. He also felt the power of this magical water and even renamed his reign as Yoro reign. Thereafter Yoro falls is considered sacred and the gourd shape becomes the symbol of the Yoro city.”

The water of Yoro falls is considered to possess some magical power of healing. Even now, we can see visitors with jugs to collect water from there. We could see gourd symbol all around the Yoro area.
The 200m long falls are considered sacred. There are small stalls near the falls too. We bought a cup of Oden( hotpot) from there and ate it while watching the falls.
Yoros special cider made from the pure water of the falls were sold in almost every stalls for 280yen. While walking back, we spend some time on the river banks. There is an amusement park for kids(Yoro land), golf club etc. at the foot of the falls.

Gourd Lamp Museum(ひょうたんランプ館)

One of the great things in Yoro is a gourd lamp museum, which exhibits lanterns made out of gourds. It is a private museum where more than 100 lanterns made by a Japanese couple is exhibited. The husband is taking care of the museum and talking to the visitors. I really wanted to own at least one among those lanterns, but they are not selling it. Those being the result of their priceless efforts of hours.