In a country with so much clean water, it’s no surprise that there are so many waterfalls in Japan. From the iconic Nachi Falls to Kegon Falls, Shiraito Falls, and various Okinawa waterfalls such as Ta-Taki. Japan’s mountainous terrain and water abundance make for a country covered in waterfalls.
Trips to visit waterfalls can be truly invigorating. Taking in the magnificent sight of water gushing at tremendous heights can be an addictive experience. Not only do visitors get to appreciate waterfalls, but they also get to spend some time outside, which is an important thing we should all be trying to do more! Often these waterfalls are close to other exciting things to do, like hiking trails, shrines, and temples.
Kegon Falls, located in Tochigi Prefecture, is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Japan. The main waterfall is almost 100 meters tall and has been ranked one of Japan’s top three most beautiful waterfalls, alongside Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki.
Twelve smaller waterfalls also form part of the Kegon Falls. The Kegon waterfall, which is part of Nikko National Park, is where all the waters of Lake Chuzenji (the source of the Oshiro river) flow out.
Visitors can take in the beauty of Kegon Falls from a free observation platform that is accessible on foot. Alternatively, those wanting a better view can take the 100-meter elevator to a paid observation platform. This costs about 570 yen. Visitors can also take a ropeway from the Akechidaira Plateau to Akechidaira Observatory. At the Akechidaira Observatory, visitors can see the dramatic Kegon Falls with the backdrop of Lake Chuzenji all in one go!
Kegon Falls is a particularly popular spot to view the colorful autumn foliage in October and early November. Check out our Village House properties in Tochigi to experience the scenery year-round!
The main waterfall is a short walk from the Chuzenji Onsen bus terminal, which can be reached by a 50-minute bus ride from the JR Nikko station or Tobu Nikko Station.
Shiraito Falls is located in Fujinomiya in Shizuoka Prefecture, in the southwestern hills at the foot of Mount Fuji. They were once regarded as sacred and are now listed as one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan.
These idyllic waterfalls received their name from the way the water flows down in long thin white threads that look like silk. Shiraito means ‘white threads’ in Japanese. The Shiraito Falls is about 150 meters wide and form part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.
Shiraito Falls are fed by the flow of spring water coming from the Mount Fuji volcano. They are best seen in summer when the melted snow makes the waterfalls flow and roar. Visitors also enjoy going to Shiraito Falls in autumn when the colorful autumn leaves of the nearby forests can also be seen.
The falls are a great place to visit and while you’re in the area don’t forget to explore Mount Fuji and the nearby Otodome Falls, which can all be seen in one day.
There is a bus from JR Fujinomiya Station that runs between the falls. The boarding time is about 30 minutes and the fare is 630 yen. There is a direct bus from Tokyo Station to JR Fujinomiya Station. There is a short walking trail leading to the base of Shiraito Falls.
Also located in Shizuoka Prefecture is another popular waterfall, Joren Falls. It is specifically located in the Yugashima District of the Izu Peninsula on a mountain range called Mt. Amagi. This waterfall is approximately 25 meters tall and is said to have played a part in the formation of the Izu Peninsula.
Surrounding Joren Falls are green wasabi plants that are famous in the area. Thriving in the cool damp weather in the area, this leads to many wasabi-flavored delicacies available in the area. Next time you are in the Izu area, why not visit Joren Falls and enjoy some wasabi ice cream amongst the lush green scenery!
Shizuoka has lots to offer for any nature lover! Be sure to learn more on our Village House website for our properties in Shizuoka.
Joren Falls can be easily accessed from the Joren no Taki Bus Stop along the Tokai Bus route. The Tokai Bus is accessible from Shuzenji Station along the Izuhakone Railway.
Nachi Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Japan. Located in Wakayama Prefecture, in the Kii Mountain Range, the stunning landmark forms part of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage. It is the tallest single-drop waterfall in the country, with a drop of 133 meters.
The Nachi Falls occur alongside the popular Seigantoji Temple and Nachi Taisha, which attracts frequent tourists since it is one of the main points of interest along the pilgrimage. The three-story pagoda is an iconic sight that appears in many pictures of Nachi Falls.
Hiking up the Daimon-zaka is an easy way to experience a small portion of the trails, it leads up to the extract of Nachi Taisha. Anyone visiting Nachi Falls may also want to consider stopping in the nearby coastal hot spring resort town of Katsuura as well. Be sure to check out our Village House properties in Wakayama if you are interested in living here long term!
Nachi Falls and Nachi Trisha Shrine can be reached by bus from either Kii-Katsuura Station or Nachi Station, which takes between 20 to 30 minutes.
There are various Okinawa waterfalls spread across the tropical islands and trips out to the waterfalls make for great little adventures. One of the most famous Okinawa waterfalls is Ta-Taki Falls, located in the north of Okinawa Island.
Ta-Taki is close to Kunigami, located at the headwaters of the Henan River in Yambaru National Park. There’s a 2.5-kilometer trail, which, although fairly flat, can be challenging due to the terrain. Balancing is required, and there are some cliffs and Tarzan swings for fun!
A lot of Okinawa waterfalls make for great swimming holes, and Ta-Taki is no exception! Visitors who don’t want to swim can still enjoy the sights of the waterfalls, as well as the lush jungle-like vegetation, and all the insects and creatures that live there.
For more Okinawa waterfalls on the island, check out Hiji Waterfall, also near Kunigami, which can be explored easily on a 3-kilometer trail. There are also other Okinawa waterfalls on some of the other islands, such as Pinaisara Falls and Kura Falls in Irimote-jima. If you are interested in living in Okinawa, check out our website here.
The easiest way to reach Ta-Taki Falls is by car since buses are limited. There is a car park located at the trailhead, which begins just down a slope to the right of the parking area.
There are so many waterfalls in Japan beyond this list. Although these are some of the most famous, this is often because they are the largest so swimming isn’t always possible. If you’d like to try swimming in waterfalls, you may be in more luck searching for smaller and less popular waterfalls!