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  • Thumbnail for Landscapes of Japan, 04, Steep gradient, downcutting stream.  The Sacred Bridge at Toshogu Shrine, Nikko.
    Landscapes of Japan, 04, Steep gradient, downcutting stream. The Sacred Bridge at Toshogu Shrine, Nikko.

    Steep gradient, downcutting stream. The Sacred Bridge at Toshogu Shrine, Nikko. -- As rivers downcut and reduce their gradient, they tend to eliminate rapids and waterfalls. Because of more-or-less constant uplift in Japan, rivers typically have not been able to accomplish this. This river has rapids and falls indicating a steep gradient. There are no flat surfaces adjacent to the stream to indicate that it is shifting laterally. This is a small, fast-flowing, actively downcutting, short river typical of most of the rivers of Japan.