Three Falls is more about swimming, cliff jumping and exploring than it is about waterfalls. This beautiful short hike will lead you to an oasis of fun!
I feel like we were the last people to find this little gem. The first time we came here was at the end of July, and I didn’t know what to expect. I thought we were going on a nice little hike to see waterfalls. I didn’t realize we were in for so much more! It turned out to be some of the most fun we’ve had around Iwakuni, which is why we went back again this week more prepared!
I don’t know why we all call it “Three Falls!” The information sign by the parking lot says it’s one of seven waterfalls in the area, but it’s a mystery that we will just overlook!
Although there is plenty of parking, it can fill up really fast on the weekends. You start the hike going along the road past the parking lot until you see a little bridge that crosses over the river. You can either walk along the road from there, or take the trail.
This trail follows the river closely, taking you up, down and weaving around rocks along the river. There were some obvious effects from the recent flooding that occured in July. Debris was 20 feet up the banks of the river!
This is not a place you want to be during a flash flood! Be cautious after it rains!
If you take the trail: The boulders and canyon are a wonder of Mother Nature! The dramatic, vertically-oriented layer lines in the rocky river bottom are really impressive. Where they have been eroded by the running water, complex patterns and designs are exposed that look like topographical maps!
Keep on going down the path, pass the shrine, climb up a steep staircase, then down the mountain and you are there. A little oasis in the middle of forest!
If you have lots of gear/children, walking the road will be easier. Stay to the right when the road forks and soon after that you’ll come around a large bend and see the waterfall/swimming hole.
Each visit we made to Three Falls we met amazing American families. The first time, they were kind enough to show us around, giving us a tour of all the fun spots we would have missed on our own. We needed way more time to explore than what we were planning! We didn’t stay super long, and when we left about 50 people were showing up!
This last trip, we all had our swimming suits on, the kids had their floaties, and we were ready for some fun! There were a few families swimming that were super friendly, and some awesome young Sailors. These Sailors were respectful, helpful with the kids, and patient, when they could have been self-absorbed with all the fun they were having. They were excellent examples and they made us proud – and we were grateful for their help!
There are a few sections of the cliff where you can jump into the water. Go take a swim first to see where the underwater boulders are! There are only a couple, near the wall, but you definitely want to give yourself space.
The deepest part of the pool is where the bubbles from the waterslide end; that is where you want to land. Most of the pool was plenty deep. Both Matt and I felt the boulders once when we jumped, though, so you definitely want to jump in the right spot! With that said, you can have a lot of fun here. The first time we went, our new friends’ daughter was doing some awesome parkour tricks off of the rocks!
The slide was what I was most excited about. The whole way down, I was worried my swimming suit was going to catch on a rock but it was so smooth! We even saw a dog go down it! There are no rocks to run into at the bottom. It carries you into the deepest part of the pool, so make sure you only slide down if you can swim.
Going upriver toward the waterfall, there is a nice deep pool that leads to a cave. It’s not super long, but the water is calmer; its dark and eery! It made me afraid something was going to grab my leg. There were some Sailors jumping off the waterfall here. It looked fun, but it’s definitely a riskier area to jump.
If you go downriver from the main area there are a more spots with little pools, but our new friends said there is nothing like the main swimming hole.
Our kids loved wading and looking for rocks. They are currently obsessed with finding new special rocks to bring home, so we limit them to one pebble. They did a great job exploring the river with us.
Flips and flops of Three Falls:
The beach is pretty rocky. There are some big boulders to sit on but no sand. This last time we went, there were so many horseflies! They were biting, and we had to duck in the water and swat them away quite a bit by the end of our afternoon there. The first time we were there I didn’t notice any, and that was in the morning.
Both times we were there, there were a good amount of people, but everyone was respectful and kind which made for a good time!
For something a bit more relaxing check out the waterfalls of Imosenotaki Park in Ono, Japan!
Plan your trip: