When it comes to nature spots, Japan has a lot of beautiful greenery to offer. With over 70% over the country being covered with mountains and lush forest, there is a rich nature to be discovered! Due to the mountainous areas and large amounts of water, there is a high number of waterfalls in Japan; 517 named waterfalls according to the government. Many of these waterfalls aren’t easy to access due to remote mountain locations. Though lately the number of tourists and hikers has increased. Visiting a waterfall can be a refreshing experience which offers some peaceful time away from the busy life as well. The falls all definitely show some similarities, but each waterfall has has its own beauty and attractions besides the differences in height, width and location. We have compiled a list with waterfalls in Japan that will surely take your breath away!
1. Akiu Great Falls – Akiu Otaki
Akiu Great Falls is a waterfall located in Miyagi prefecture and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful waterfall of Japan. It is also said the be among the three great waterfalls in Japan along with Nachi Falls in Wakayama and Kegon Falls in Tochigi (though this is not officially recognized). It is 6 meters wide, and the water falls 55 meters straight down to the basin, a stunning view! There is a trail leading down to the bottom of the falls where you can enjoy the awesome view more closely. It is enjoyable throughout year, but especially beautiful in fall, with colourful red, orange and yellow leaves that create an amazing view! In the area you can find many other other tourist stops to combine your visit with.
How to get to Akiu Great Falls
From JR Sendai station take the bus for Akiu Otaki from stop nr. 8 and get off at the last stop. From there it is a 30 minute easy hike to the base of the fall. However, we recommend traveling by car as it allows easy acces to other nearby attractions too.
2. Kegon Falls – Kegon no taki
Kegon Falls is probably the most famous waterfall in Japan, and widely known as of one of the highlights that you shouldn’t miss when in Nikko, Tochigi prefecture! Located in a deep forest, it is visited by a number of tourists along with Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine. All the water comes from Lake Chuzenji, which is located just above the waterfall. The water falls 97 meters straight down against a mountain rock-face to the basin. In winter, the frozen water of the falls create a fascinating beautiful impressive appearance which is known as the blue ice phenomenon. You can enjoy watching it from a viewing deck for free, or pay for an elevator that takes you down to the base where you can watch the falling water more closely! Kegon Falls, and Nikko in general, is also known for its beautiful autumn leaves.
8am – 5pm (Mar – Apr, Nov)
7.30am – 6pm (May – Sep)
7.30am – 5pm (Oct)
9am – 4.30pm (Dec – Febr)
Admission fee ¥570 (roundtrip)
When you are visiting Nikko and Kegon Falls, there are several other beautiful nature spots in the area, including the famous Ryuzu Waterfall or Ryūzu no Taki. Ryūzu no Taki means dragon head waterfall in Japanese, named after the shape of the falls, which resembles the head of a dragon. Can you see the dragon in head in the header image? Ryūzu no Taki is known as one of the first spots in Nikko to see autumn colors!
How to get to Kegon Falls
From JR Nikko station of Tobu Nikko station take the Tobu bus for Chuzenji Onsen and get off at Chuzenji Onsen bus stop. From there walk for 5 min.
3. Shomyo Falls – Shōmyō-daki
Shomyo Falls is situated in Toyama prefecture in the town of Tateyama. You may have never heard of it before, but it is the tallest waterfall in Japan at 350 meters! It boasts a considerable amount of water coming from the Toyama Mountain Range, the symbolic mountains of the city. In spring, when the snow melts and an increased amount of water flows into the waterfalls, another fall called Hannoki Falls suddenly appears, creating a stunning view. The two falls meet at the end near a basin offering a photogenic view that can only be seen in a specific season. Combine your trip to the waterfall with the amazing Tateyama Snow Corridor!
How to get to Shomyo Falls
From late April till the start November there is a special sightseeing bus available, taking you from Tateyama station to the falls.
Shomyo Falls sightseeing bus
¥500 (Adult, one way)
4. Fukuroda Falls – Fukuroda-no-taki
Located in Ibaraki prefecture, tucked away in the remote hills of the town of Daigo, Fukuroda Falls is claimed as one of the three biggest waterfalls in Japan. It stands 120 meters tall and 73 meters wide, and is an iconic scenery spot deep in the forest. As the water falls along four rock stages before it finally reaches the bottom, it is also widely known as Yodo Falls (Yodo means “four times” in Japanese). In winter, special events are held to illuminate the frozen water, creating a fantastic nighttime scenery! During the day you can also see the waterfall in a state called Hyobaku; frozen solid and pure white. Sometimes you can witness ice climbers going up the wall of ice using axes.
From the entrance the falls you will need to walk a short while to multi-level observation platform. After admiring the view you can opt for a visit to Namase Waterfall, located a steep 20-30-min hike away. When you follow the trail further into the mountains for about 45 min (one way) to a small temple dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of Mercy.
8am – 6pm (May – Oct)
9am – 5pm (Nov – Apr, longer hours during winter evening illuminations)
Admission fee ¥300
How to go to Fukuroda Falls
Take the JR Suigun Line to Fukuroda station and transit to the Ibaraki bus. Get off at the Takimoto stop and walk for 10 min.
5. Nomizo Waterfall
Nomizo waterfall is a scenic waterfall situated in Kimitsu city, Chiba prefecture. It flows through a cave called Kameiwa Cave, which was originally created as an irrigation system to water nearby rice fields in the Edo era. Although it is relatively small and looks like a part of a river, it attracts a number of tourists with its mystical appearance that resembles the waterfalls in Ghibli movies. When the sunlight shines through the Keimeiwa Cave, the sunrays create a perfect heart shaped vision on the water. This natural phenomenon can only be seen when several conditions are perfectly met, especially early in the morning.
In the surrounding area there are many more great attractions worth a visit including the Kameiwa and Shimizu Keiryu Park, the mountain temple with a large stone Buddha on Mount Nokogiri or the gorgeous terraced rice fields of Oyama Senmaida.
How to get to Nomizo Falls
Take the JR Kururi Line to Kazusa-Kameyama station. From the station walk about 30 min or take a taxi to the park.
6. Nachi Falls – Nachi no Taki
Nachi Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Japan located in Wakayama prefecture. The water drops 133 meters with a 13 meters width, making it actually the tallest single tiered waterfall in Japan. It is undoubtedly one of the most famous waterfalls widely recognized as a scenic spot in Wakayama. It is also close to Kumano Kodo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known with a series of sacred trails and historical sites deep in forest. As a center of mountain worship, it played a significant role for centuries, and visitors can still visit traditional structures surrounded by sacred atmosphere.
7am – 4.30pm
Admission fee ¥300
How to get to Nachi Falls
- Bus from Kii-Katsuura Station (towards Nachi san) and get off at Nachi no Taki mae stop then walk 5 mins.
- The Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine and Seigantoji Temple are a short walk from the falls.
7. Fukiware Falls – Fukiware-no-taki
Fukiware Falls is a unique waterfall situated in the centre of Oze National Park Katashina, in Gunma prefecture. It is only 7 meters tall, but 30 meters wide, earning it its nickname the oriental Niagara Falls. The dynamic waterfall is a beautiful sight in between the deep rock valley, surrounded by beautiful scenery changes its appearance every season. The waterfall is one of the most popular scenic spots in Gunma, and was designated as National Scenic Beauty in 1936 already! The rapid stream of the river forms a dynamic flow that cools visitors down on a hot summer day. As it is located in the Fukiware Gorge, visitors can reach other tourist attractions nearby easily. There is also a nice walking trail where you can enjoy a relaxing stroll in the gorgeous nature, you can take the long route which may take around 1 hr or a shorter one for 15 min.
How to get to Fukiware Falls
From Numata station it’s a 40-min bus-ride to Fukiware no Taki.
8. Shiraito Falls – Shiraito no Taki
Shiraito Falls ( (白糸の滝) is a beautiful waterfall located in Shizuoka prefecture. The clear water, coming from Mt. Fuji, runs from a huge cliff, creating a stunning scenery with a peaceful atmosphere. The fall is 150 meters wide, and the curved cliff is covered with continuous white flows that resemble countless threads hanging from the cliff. Shiraito no Taki literally means the waterfall of white threads. It is designated as National Scenic Beauty, and also on the list of World Heritage Site as a part of cultural sites around Mt. Fuji. Visitors can take a pathway and steps down to the falls where the falls and the basin can be seen altogether.
How to get to Shiraito Falls
From Kawaguchiko Station take a bus to the Shiraito waterfall and get off at Shiraito no Taki bus stop. It is a short walk to the waterfall.
9. Nabegataki Falls
Nabegataki Falls is a scenic waterfall located in Kumamoto prefecture. It is 10 meters tall and 20 meters wide and became famous after being featured in a TV commercial. It is said to be originally formed by an eruption of Mt. Aso, the symbolic mountain in Kumamoto. It is often described as “a natural curtain” because of the similar appearance, especially when the sunlight comes through the leaves to shine the white flows against a wall. The waterfall and the beautiful scenery earned the falls a reputation as a Japanese power spot. Visitors can also go behind the falls to enjoy the mystic view from a different perspective!
Tip: During Golden Week and in the summer, the falls are illuminated in a light up show every evening from 6.30pm till 9.30pm.
Admission fee ¥300
How to get to Nabegataki Falls
The only way to get to Nabegataki is by car or taxi from Oguni town or Kurokawa Onsen.
10. Uriwari Falls – Uriwari-no Taki
Uriwari Falls refers to a waterfall located in Wakasa Uriwari Meisui park in Toyama prefecture. The unique name Uriwari no taki (Breaking Waterfall) comes from an old tale that tells the water is so cold that it can crack a melon in two parts. The high-quality water is is drinkable and rich in minerals and some people visit just to get the water as it Located in a deep forest, it also helps visitors get relaxed in a peaceful atmosphere away from a busy life. The waterfall itself is not so big, but creates a pleasant scenery in harmony with seasonal plants around. June is a great time to visit, when you can enjoy the hydrangias in bloom. A Wakasa Meisui Festival is held on the first Sunday in August.
How to get to Uriwari Falls
15 min. walk from JR Obama line Kaminaka station
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The waterfalls might look similar with no big differences, but each of the is definitely worth a visit with unique features. Combine your trip with a visit to the many other tourist attractions in the area and enjoy the beautiful nature.
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