Waterfalls for the Japanese

The humid and muggy rainy season has arrived. Although air conditioning is essential to combat the heat and humidity, going into the forest to cool off might be a good idea. Being surrounded by the beautiful greenery of the forest has the effect of soothing both body and mind. You can also feel the natural coolness of the murmuring of rivers and the spray of waterfalls. With regard to waterfalls in particular, it is said that there are thousands of them in Japan, and Japanese people have had a unique feeling towards waterfalls since ancient times. This seems to be influenced not only by the beauty and grandeur of waterfalls, but also by the history of their origins.

The definition of a waterfall as defined by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan is as follows:
It is defined as "a place where running water falls rapidly, with a drop of 5 metres or more, and where water is constantly flowing".
There is also a national organization for the natural environment called the Japan National Council of Forests, Waterfalls and Beaches, which selected Japan's 100 Best Waterfalls in 1990.
In modern times, it seems to play a major role as a scenic spot in the sense of a place with beautiful landscapes and scenery created by natural formations.
Many of the waterfalls found in mountainous regions are the result of volcanic activity. When lava flows from a volcano, it cools and hardens, and the surrounding volcanic ash, sandstone, and other relatively soft layers of rock are eroded away by river currents, leaving only the hard igneous rocks that are resistant to erosion and remain unweathered, creating the waterfalls.
In Japan, the spirit of worshiping natural things has been treasured since ancient times.
Waterfalls also fit into the category of natural objects, and the faith in worshiping waterfalls as sacred objects can still be seen today. As mentioned above, waterfalls formed by large-scale earth activity such as volcanic eruptions must have been objects of awe for ancient people, something beyond human understanding.
Takigyo, a form of purification in which one bathes in the water of a waterfall to cleanse oneself of sins and impurities, can also be said to originate from the spirituality that Japanese people have possessed since ancient times.
As you approach the falls, the thunderous sound you hear, the high cliffs, and the ruggedness of the igneous rocks all heighten the sense of awe people feel towards the falls. The distinctive rock shapes, such as slab-like cracks formed when lava cools and hardens (tabular joints) and columnar joints formed when lava cools and contracts, are also naturally occurring forms of beauty, and when combined with the falls, they create a powerful and beautiful sight.
Traces of crustal movements thousands or even tens of thousands of years ago remain in the mountains and natural scenery of this country. When you see them, you will be overwhelmed by their scale and will be reminded of the transience of human existence.
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