Travel Guide

8 Most Amazing Waterfalls in Japan

Japan is a land rich with many natural wonders. While many people think of Japan in terms of its busy high-tech metropolises like Tokyo, there is plenty to see in the country that will take you back to nature in the best way.

Japan’s waterfalls have a long history in local culture. Some of them are part of folktales, while others are the highlight of parks. You can usually find Japanese waterfalls surrounded by wild lush forests.

Some towns have built special viewing areas to give you the best place to see (and take pictures) of these wonderful waterfalls.

You can find lovely waterfalls in Japan no matter where you’re traveling to. Japan’s mountainous countryside is just perfect for them.

Here are eight of the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan:

1. Fukuroda Fall, Ibaraki Prefecture 

Fukuroda falls in Autumn. Photo Credit: Daigomachi Kanko Kyokai.

Fukuroda falls is found in the picturesque town of Daigo. At 120 meters tall, many consider it one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan.

In summer, these falls are surrounded by greenery, which changes color in the fall to frame the waterfall in fiery hues.

In winter, the water freezes over into a surreal sight, especially at night when it is the centerpiece of a colorful illumination show set to music.

Early-Mid November is the perfect time to see fall foliage in the area.

All of this can be viewed from a multi-level viewing platform situated at the end of a row of shops and restaurants. You can take a bus to the waterfall from nearby Fukuroda Station.

If you’d like to explore Daigo more thoroughly, you could also rent a car and drive up the viewing platform parking lot.

2. Kegon Falls, Tochigi Prefecture

Kegon Falls in late Autumn, Nikko. Photo Credit: Reginald Pentinio at Flickr.

At almost 100 meters tall, Kegon Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the area of Nikko and one of the most beautiful in Japan.

It is the only exit for water in Lake Chuzenji, meaning that these falls have an impressive amount of volume behind them.

There is a free viewing platform you can walk to, as well as a paid viewing platform that sits near the base of the falls.

For a view of the lake and the falls, you can take a ropeway to Akechidara Observatory. Kegon Falls is surrounded by lush trees and in the fall, their colors change to create a spectacular spot to see autumn leaves.

In winter, the falls freeze solid. Kegon Falls can be reached by walking from Chuzenjiko Onsen bus terminal. You can take a 50-minute bus ride there from either JR or Tobu Nikko Station to Chuzenjiko Onsen.

3. Nachi Falls, Wakayama Prefecture

Nachi falls and the red Pagoda. Photo Credit: Big Ben in Japan at Flickr.

Nachi Falls are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can see why.

Located in Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture, Nachi Falls lies along several ancient pilgrimage routes and is only a short walk from Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine and Seigantoji temple.

The falls are 133 meters tall and are considered done of the greatest waterfalls in Japan. The view of the falls is spectacular, with the ancient red Pagoda of Seigantoji temple standing nearby.

To get to Nachi Falls, take the bus from Kii-Katsuura Station (towards Nachi san). Get off at Nachi no Taki mae stop, then walk 5 minutes to the falls.

4. Ryusei Falls and Ginga Falls, Hokkaido

Ryusei no Taki and Ginga no Taki in Sounkyo. Photo Credit:

This pair of waterfalls are a wonderful sight, threading their way down sheer cliffs and dropping into lush forest. They are among the top 100 waterfalls in Japan.

A nearby lookout area and parking lot set up just for views of these two waterfalls can be found on National Route 39. Besides the lookout, the area also has a restroom, souvenir stand, and a food stall.

If you ever visit Sounkyo in autumn, one of the top recommended places to see fall colors in Hokkaido, make sure you have enough time to visit these two scenic waterfalls. 

At Sounkyo, a hot spring resort town in Kamikawa, there’s no shortage of things to marvel at. Ride the Kurodake Ropeway halfway up the Mount Kurodake to an observation deck, which provides stunning views over the onsen town and forested valley ablaze with colors in autumn.

From there take a walk for a while to reach the chair lift station. It will take you to the summit of Mt. Kurodake. The entire journey is an amazing experience for anyone interested in adventure!

5. Shiraito Falls, Mount Fuji

Shiraito Falls and Mount Fuji in the distance. Photo Credit: Big Ben in Japan at Flickr.

150 meters wide and 20 meters high, these vast falls are fed by volcanic spring water. The water flows in thin white threads down the cliff face.

Mount Fuji (Fujisan) and its surroundings were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Shiraito Falls is one of the 25 sites that were included in the list, including Fuji Five Lakes, Oshini Hakkai, Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine and others.

It’s very easy to get to the base of Shiraito Falls, just a pleasant hike down a walking trail that can be reached from the road. There are several souvenir shops along the trail as well as a great view of nearby Otodome Falls.

You have several options for getting to the trail that leads to Shiraito Falls. You can take the limited number of buses that run between Shin-Fuji Station, Fujinomiya Station and the Fuji Five Lakes.

You could also take the more frequent local buses or the once-a-day JR Kanto Bus or Fujikyu Bus that operate out of Tokyo Station.

6. Hirayu Great Falls, Gifu Prefecture

This is Hirayu Great Falls in the summer. Photo Credit: Okuhida Onsengo Tourism Association.

Gifu Prefecture of Japan has many beautiful attractions to visit including historic and scenic. There is a traditional Japanese village called Shirakawago, which worth a visit, and is marked as one of the remarkable sites you will ever visit in Gifu. 

One of Japan’s best 100 Waterfalls, Hirayu Great Falls stands 64 meters tall and is six meters wide. As you approach, you’ll hear the roar of the rushing waters as they drop down into the forest.

Every season is beautiful at Hirayu Great Falls, from spring and summer greenery to fiery autumn colors to the frozen solid falls in winter, which are lit up at night with a special illumination every year.

The falls are a 25-minute walk from Hirayu bus terminal.

7. Naena Falls, Niigata Prefecture

Visitors are enjoy the view of autumn foliage and the falls. Photo Credit: Myoko Tourism.

Famous for its loud crashing, Naena Falls is 55 meters tall and is a great place to relax.

The falls are also a great place to see autumn colors, though any time of year offers a unique sight and a chance to see the “Earthquake Falls” in all their glory, whether flowing or frozen.

Be sure to enjoy the ‘flowing noodles’ at the nearby restaurant, a noodle dish served by floating noodles down a bamboo slide, where you have to catch them with chopsticks.

To get there, take a car and get off at Myoko kogen Interchange on Joshin-etsu Expressway and enter the Niigata Myokokogen Park Line 39.

8. Nabegataki Falls, Kumamoto Prefecture

Nabegataki falls – A scenic spot in Kyushu. Photo Credit: Kyushu Tourism Organization.

Kyushu region of Japan boasts many wonderful scenic spots.

Nabegataki Waterfalls is about nine meters high and 20 meters wide. These falls are a 5-minute drive from Sakamoto Zenzo Museum of Art. It is one of the most impressive waterfalls on the island of Kyushu in Japan.

You can go behind these waterfalls for a magical view and some excellent photo opportunities. Dress to get wet, though!

During Japan’s Golden Week in the spring, there are special night-time illuminations that shine from behind the falls.

You can drive to the falls either via a 45-minute drive from Kokonoe Interchange on Oita Expressway or an 80-minute drive from Kumamoto Airport.

In addition, you can also take a taxi to Nabegataki Waterfall Park, where the falls are.

Leave a Reply