Nachi Falls inspires awe in everyone that sees it – it has been a site of worship for over 1500 years! Make the trek out here to experience it for yourself!
This is one of those views that you see of Japan and think, “I must see that;” then, you google it and realize how out of the way it is. We weren’t going to let that stop us! If the pilgrims were able to hike their way to it for hundreds of years, I shouldn’t complain about a bit of a drive!
We made a day trip out to Nachi Falls from Nara, and you might wonder if it’s worth the drive from Osaka/Kyoto/Nara. It really is as beautiful as the pictures suggest. I would recommend coordinating a visit with some other sites in the area, especially if you are doing any hiking. Only make it a day trip if (like us) this is on your must-do list and your time is short! With that said, I’m so happy we made the drive to see it and would absolutely do it again!
Nachi Falls is one of Japan’s most famous waterfalls. It has the highest uninterrupted drop of 133 meters (436 feet), just beating out Shomyo falls’ highest drop of 126 meters!
The Kumano Kudo Pilgrimage has various routes that converge at Nachi Falls. This area has religious significance for both Shinto and Buddhism; they intertwined harmoniously since Buddhism was introduced to the area during the 6th century, but the Buddhist shrine at the top of the falls was destroyed after the Meiji Restoration. Early each morning a Shinto priest makes offerings to the waterfall in a sacred ritual.
This 3-story pagoda offers a beautiful view of the waterfall. For ¥300 you are able to enjoy the art on the inside, climb up the stairs and enjoy the panorama from the top. There is beautiful art on every floor, and it is the most colorful shrine we’ve seen!
Plan your trip
You can get here by bus from Kii-Katsuura Station and Nachi Station. We drove from Nara, where we were staying, and it took about 3 ½ hours to get there. Afterwards we drove to Matsusaka where we had a wonderful wagyu dinner that put our experiences with Kobe beef to shame!
Along the way to Nachi we saw one of the largest torii gates (otorii) that we have ever seen! It is in the city of Tanabe, where they have a small museum; the staff were very friendly and one even spoke excellent English!