A Information To Japan’s Most Lovely Waterfall • Simply One Cookbook

Uncover Nachi Falls, Japan’s tallest waterfall, that includes breathtaking views and a deep religious heritage, and discover its historic attract.

View over pagoda and Nachi waterfall and cherry blossoms

Nachi Waterfall, also called Nachi no Taki or Nachi Falls, is Japan’s highest waterfall, standing at a formidable uninterrupted drop of 436 toes (133 meters). Situated in Wakayama Prefecture, the waterfall and the three-story pagoda generally known as Seigantoji is an iconic scene in Japan, attracting guests from throughout the globe.

Nachi waterfall

Nevertheless, the picturesque view is only a small a part of the intertwining advanced of sacred websites, shrines and temples, and pilgrimage routes, making a harmonious mixture of Buddhism and Shintoism. The realm is a profound spot of spirituality, faith, and historical past, which was ultimately designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Website in 2004.

If the surroundings couldn’t get any higher, I visited in spring, simply because the cherry blossoms have been in full bloom! So, let’s get exploring!

The way to Get to Nachi Falls

Nachi Falls can simply be accessed by automotive, taking roughly quarter-hour from Nachi Sation. Many various automotive parking tons can be found across the space, starting from 500 to 1000 yen for the day. They’re typically full, so I extremely suggest getting there early, round 8 am, to safe a spot.

Pathway with fallen cherry blossoms and a three storied pagoda in the background

Alternatively, you possibly can catch the Nachisan Line bus from Kii-Katsuura Station, which takes roughly half-hour and prices 630 yen a method (value in 2024). It additionally passes by means of Nachi Station alongside the way in which, so you possibly can board from there.

The bus stops at Daimonzaka Path, an historical cobblestone staircase slope on the base of the valley to the Nachi Falls space. There are 267 stairs overlaying roughly 600 meters, with an extra 20 minutes resulting in Kumano Nachi Taisha. From right here, I like to recommend strolling down the advanced and stopping by every spot listed beneath.

Weeping cherry blossom tree

In the event you don’t wish to hike Daimonzaka Path, the bus stops additional up at Nachi-no-taki-mae (in entrance of the waterfall) and ends at Nachisan bus cease, so you possibly can discover from there. The final bus again to Kii-Katsuura Station is at 6:04 pm (topic to vary relying on the season), so be sure to don’t miss it!

Is Nachi Falls accessible as a Day Journey?

In the event you keep near main cities akin to Nagoya and Osaka, Nachi Falls is accessible as a day journey by automotive, however I don’t suggest it. It takes over 4 hours a method from each cities, so until you permit early (and love driving), it will likely be tough to handle in someday. Moreover, elements of the realm shut round 4:30 pm, and sundown is round 5-6 pm, relying on the season.

As an alternative, I extremely suggest staying within the close by city of Katsuura, between Nachi and Kii Katsuura Station. Right here, you’ll find numerous ryokans (conventional Japanese inns) and motels alongside the bay with ocean views and onsens, providing a tranquil setting for a calming keep. By catching the bus or driving the next morning to the waterfall, you’ll have loads of time to discover the entire space, full of gorgeous pure magnificence, at a leisurely tempo. I stayed at Kamenoi Lodge Nachi Katsuura, which has an ocean view. Whereas arriving late within the night, it was a nice stick with an incredible onsen.

Kumano Nachi Taisha (熊野那智大社) and Kumano Religion

The primary and most necessary web site is Kumano Nachi Taisha, courting again over 1,700 years. It’s a part of the Kumano Sanzan, a trio of serious shrines within the Kumano area. Together with Kumano Nachi Taisha are Kumano Hongu Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha, that are related by the Kumano Kodo, a path that non secular pilgrims have traveled for over 1,000 years.

Shrine main hall

These three shrines are located deep within the Kii Mountain Vary. An space typically known as the land of the gods. It’s stated that strolling the path is a life-changing religious expertise. This profound sense of spiritualism and thriller developed into the Kumano religion, which grew in recognition, peaking within the late Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura interval (1185-1333). Emperors and members of the imperial household would make pilgrimages to Kumano because it was believed they’d obtain nice benefit.

One of many core features of the Kumano Religion was its openness and acceptance of recent deities and beliefs. Buddhism’s arrival after the sixth century allowed the coexistence of Shinto and Buddhist deities. This continued till the Meiji authorities issued a proclamation ordering the separation of the 2 religions in 1868.

To get to Kumano Nachi Taisha, you’ll must climb a whole lot of stairs. And I imply quite a bit. The doorway is marked by a big torii gate, with much more stairs.

Wooden rack hung with emas

Contained in the grounds, you’ll discover an 850-year-old camphor tree believed to have been planted by Taira no Shigemori (1138 -1179), the eldest regent of the Taira clan.

The treasure corridor has an entrance charge of 300 yen, the place you possibly can see historic artwork and artifacts. Look out for the karasu-ishi (the stone of Yatagarasu), a three-legged crow and helper to the legendary first emperor of Japan, Jimmu.

Seigantoji (那智山青岸渡寺) at Nachi Falls

Subsequent door is Seigantoji, a Buddhist temple as soon as joined to Kumano Nachi Taisha. It’s now one in all Japan’s few remaining shrine temples following the separation in 1868. Legend states that Ragyō Shōnin, a monk from India, stumbled throughout the realm whereas discovering a spot to apply his austerities. Throughout his coaching beneath the waterfall, it’s stated he noticed Kannon, the God(dess) of Mercy.

Buddhist statue

Roughly 200 years later, a corridor was constructed beneath the reign of Emperor Suiko (593-628). Whereas the unique construction was destroyed, the primary temple was rebuilt in 1587 solely out of wooden.

You’ll be able to view the historically tiled Japanese roofs from the temple grounds with the three-story pagoda and waterfall within the background.

View over pagoda and Nachi waterfall and cherry blossoms

Seigantoji Pagoda

Descend slightly additional, and also you’ll see the enduring view of the pagoda and waterfall. The pagoda opens at 8:30 am, so if you would like an image with no folks, it’s essential to arrive earlier than then. Typically, footage can trick you by being edited, however the view right here was nothing in need of unimaginable. I don’t assume any image can do it justice, particularly in the event you arrive early within the morning with no folks and simply the sound of the birds and waterfall echoing all through the mountains.

The pagoda opens at 8:30 am and fees an entrance charge of 300 yen. The unique pagoda burned down in 1581 on account of civil unrest, and a brand new one was constructed in 1972. Every flooring incorporates a statue of a distinct deity.

Nachi waterfall
  • First Ground: Fudo Myo-o, who seems in lots of tales at Nachi Falls.
  • Second Ground: Amida Buddha, who presides over the Pure Land paradise within the west.
  • Third Ground: Thousand-Armed Kannon, the bodhisattva of compassion.
  • Outdoors the third flooring, you possibly can stroll across the balcony, granting views over the realm and an interrupted view of the waterfall.


After exploring, it’s time to cease for some meals at Moudemochi.

Bowl of soba topped with slice daikon

They provide a variety of dishes, from soba and udon noodles to wagashi (conventional Japanese sweets) and matcha. I picked up The “Moude” soba, which got here with some grated daikon (horseradish) and meharizushi (rice ball wrapped in mustard greens pickled in salt).

Soba with rice wrapped in mustard greens pickled in salt.

Meharizushi has been a preferred “quick meals” for agricultural and mountain staff since historical instances within the Kumano area. It’s a easy dish with a slight tang and refreshing style from the pickled mustard greens however hearty with all of the rice to energise you for extra exploring!

Hiro Jinja

The ultimate spot is the Hiro Jinja, an auxiliary shrine to Kumano Nachi Taisha. Marked by a beige torii gate, descend the stone stairs to the bottom of Nachi Falls. Right here, you possibly can admire the waterfall in all its glory and the attractive surrounding greenery.

Whereas the shrine has no worship corridor, guests can pray whereas dealing with the waterfall.

You might need observed that all through the grounds, there are dragon-shaped sculptures, such because the chozuya (water basin). It’s stated {that a} dragon god resides within the waterfall and helps defend it. At Hiro Jinja, for an extra ¥100 (~US$0.67), you possibly can drink the holy water from a dragon head-shaped fountain, which is claimed to offer a protracted life and good well being.

In order that’s it for Nachi Falls and one in all Japan’s most necessary shrines, Kumano Nachi Taisha! Along with the locations talked about, there are various smaller shrines and spots to discover. Take your time wandering across the advanced and having fun with the magical surroundings and wealthy historical past.

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