Nachi Falls Travel Guide: The Zen of Wateralls

Original Publish Date:
| Last Updated on:

Nachi Falls, nestled in Nachikatsuura within the Wakayama Prefecture, is a picturesque wonder you simply cannot miss when visiting Japan. As one of the top waterfalls alongside Kegon Falls in Tochigi and Fukuroda Falls in Ibaraki, its natural appeal attracts many tourists and pilgrims annually.

Unlock your wanderlust as you explore this beautiful 133-meter-high waterfall. Delve into the entwined realms of Buddhism and Shintoism within the historically rich region of Kumano and marvel at the scenic temples surrounding the cascading fall.

Embarking on Your Journey to Nachi Falls

Getting to Nachi Falls from Tokyo

Start by planning your route from Tokyo or another city. It’s recommended to visit a nearby major city like Osaka or Kyoto first. To further simplify your travel arrangements and budget, consider purchasing a JR (Japan Rail) Pass. This pass provides access to many prefectures, including Wakayama.

Route from Osaka or Kyoto to Nachi Falls

There are a few ways to get from Osaka or Kyoto to Nachi Falls.

By train

The fastest way to get to Nachi Falls is by train. From Osaka, take the JR Limited Express Kuroshio to Kii-Katsuura Station. The journey takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes. From Kyoto, take the JR Limited Express Kintetsu Nara Express to Kii-Katsuura Station. The journey takes around 4 hours.

Once you arrive at Kii-Katsuura Station, you can take a bus to Nachi Falls. The bus journey takes around 15 minutes.

By bus

There are also a number of buses that run from Osaka and Kyoto to Nachi Falls. The journey takes around 5 hours by bus.

By car

If you are driving, you can take the Tomei Expressway to the Shingu Interchange. From there, follow the signs for Nachi Falls. The journey takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes by car.

Which route is best?

The best route for you will depend on your budget and how much time you have. If you are on a tight budget, the bus is the cheapest option. If you want to save time, the train is the fastest option. If you are driving, you will have the most flexibility.

Here is a sample itinerary for a day trip from Osaka or Kyoto to Nachi Falls:

  • 🚆 Start your day by taking the train from Osaka or Kyoto to Kii-Katsuura Station.
  • 🚌 From Kii-Katsuura Station, take a bus to Nachi Falls.
  • 🏞️ Visit the Nachi Falls.
  • 🚶‍♂️ Take a walk along the Nachi River.
  • ⛩️ Visit the Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine.
  • 🍽️ Have dinner in Nachikatsuura.
  • 🚆 Take the train back to Osaka or Kyoto.

Here are some tips for visiting Nachi Falls:

  • 🌸 The best time to visit Nachi Falls is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild.
  • 👟 Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved.
  • 📷 Bring a camera to capture the beauty of the falls.
  • 🕑 Be prepared for crowds, especially during the peak season.
  • 🏨 There are a number of hotels and restaurants in Nachikatsuura, so you should have no trouble finding a place to stay and eat.

Unearth Historical Relevance, Legends, and Stories

The Harmonious Connection Between Buddhism and Shintoism

Upon arrival at Nachikatsuura, you’ll quickly note that Kumano’s spiritual aura has withstood the test of time. The harmonious relationship between Buddhism and Shintoism permeates local customs and landmarks.

Seigantoji Temple: A Gateway Into an Ancient World

Constructed in the 4th century, this temple is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also signifies an integral chapter in Japan’s religious history. Traces of Shinto-Buddhist temples, which existed before the Meiji restoration’s forcible separation, can still be seen here.

Nachi Falls Legends: A Testimony to Eternal Love

Nachi Falls is not only known for its statuesque height and natural allure but also as a testament to eternal love. The waterfall has echoed through time as the rendezvous spot for star-crossed lovers who jump off its peak to reunite in the afterlife. Although it’s advised to appreciate the beauty by merely feasting your eyes on this magnificent sight, these legends add a tale of tragic romance to your experience.

Spiritual Experiences: Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

The Kumano Kodo trail stands as one of Japan’s most sacred pilgrimage routes, taking about four days to complete. Traversed by monks for centuries, many visitors are drawn to Nachi Falls through their exploration of the Kumano Kodo trail.

Capturing the Perfect Photo at Nachi Falls

Don’t miss the chance to capture a stunning photo by positioning yourself at an angle that elegantly frames Seigantoji Temple’s red pagoda in the foreground and Nachi Falls cascading down in the background—a true masterpiece bound to encapsulate your beautiful memories at this magnificent place.

Exploring Nearby Attractions and Places Around Nachi Falls

Seigantoji Temple and Sanjūdō Pagoda: Significant Religious Landmarks

Seiganto-ji Temple

Seigantoji Temple stands proudly within this region, acknowledging its prestigious UNESCO World Heritage status. Witnessing it firsthand is sure to transport you back in time while enriching your knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture.

As you wander around the temple grounds, don’t forget to admire Sanjūdō Pagoda, an eye-catching structure that stands three stories tall in front of Nachi Falls. This vantage point offers a breathtaking view of the cascading waterfall, making it a must-visit for photographers.

Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine: A Serene Spiritual Space

Kumano Nachi Taisha
Kumano Nachi Taisha, Precincts -1 (June 2014)

Take a moment to appreciate the serene aura surrounding Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine. Situated next to the waterfall, this quaint shrine is part of three Kumano Shrines, the other two being Hongu Taisha and Hayatama Taisha. Enjoy a leisurely stroll and embrace its peaceful atmosphere as you observe monks paying their respects to Buddha.

A bus stop at Daimonzaka or parking area at Seiganto-ji Temple is available for everyone who wishes to visit the shrine. The entrance is free of charge.

Experience Daimonzaka Walking Trail and Route of Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route

Experience a spiritual connection with nature as you embark on the Daimonzaka Walking Trail surrounded by ancient cedar trees lining up the cobblestone stair-case-path. This mesmerizing walk is recommended for hikers of all fitness levels.

While most choose to spend half an hour exploring this route, those with time should consider delving into Japan’s sacred pilgrimage route, Kumano Kodo — a four-day spiritual journey that traverses the same path.

The entrance to Daimonzaka Walking Trail and Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route is free.

Recommended Duration in Nachikatsuura

To make the most out of your trip to Nachikatsuura, we recommend a 2 day, one night stay. However, if you prefer extra relaxation or wish to cover more ground at a leisurely pace, you can extend your stay by adding another night.

Cozy Accommodation for Every Travel Budget Near Nachi Falls

Luxury Living: Kumano-bettei Nakanoshima

Kumano-bettei Nakanoshima is a ryokan located on an island in the Nachi River, just a short car ride from the Nachi Falls. The hotel has a traditional Japanese atmosphere, with tatami mats and sliding doors. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the views of the river and falls are stunning. The hotel also has a number of onsen, or hot springs, which are a great way to relax after a long day of sightseeing.

The hotel is located in a quiet area, but it is still close to all the action. There are a number of restaurants and shops in the area. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves traditional Japanese cuisine.

The staff at Kumano-bettei Nakanoshima are friendly and helpful, and they are always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that guests have a memorable stay. The hotel also has a number of amenities, including a free shuttle service to the train station, a gift shop, and a business center.

Kumano-bettei Nakanoshima is a great choice for a stay in Nachikatsuura. The hotel has a traditional Japanese atmosphere, comfortable rooms, stunning views, and a friendly staff. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing and enjoyable stay in this beautiful part of Japan.

Book it now: Kumano-bettei Nakanoshima

Mid-Range Comfort: Hotel Urashima

Hotel Urashima is a 3-star hotel located in Nachikatsuura, Japan. It is a short car ride from the Nachi Falls, one of the three sacred waterfalls of Japan. The hotel has a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a sauna, and a restaurant.

This onsen resort has a brilliant view of the Pacific Ocean. Its ample offerings include picturesque hot springs, Japanese and Western-style rooms, and an array of entertainment facilities.

Here are some pros and cons of Hotel Urashima:

Pros:

  • Clean and comfortable rooms
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Great location for exploring the Nachi Falls area
  • Variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a sauna, and a restaurant

Cons:

  • Some rooms can be a bit small
  • The hotel can be a bit noisy during peak season
  • The hotel is not located in the heart of Nachikatsuura, so you may need to walk a bit to get to restaurants and shops

Book it Now: Hotel Urashima

Budget-Friendly Stays: Hotel Charmant

Hotel Charmant Nachi-Katsuura is a small, family-run hotel located in the town of Nachikatsuura, Japan. The hotel is a short car ride from the Nachi Falls, one of the three sacred waterfalls of Kumano.

The hotel has a total of 15 rooms, all of which are clean and comfortable. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a TV, and a private bathroom. The hotel also has a common area with a TV, a library, and a games room.

The hotel has a restaurant that serves Japanese and Western cuisine. The restaurant has a beautiful view of the Nachi Falls. The hotel also has a bar that serves a variety of drinks.

The hotel staff are friendly and helpful. They are always willing to help guests with their travel arrangements and recommendations for things to do in the area.

Hotel Charmant Nachi-Katsuura is a great choice for travelers who want to stay close to the Nachi Falls. The hotel is clean, comfortable, and has friendly staff.

Book it Now: Hotel Charmant

Nachi Fire Festival: An Annual Celebration

Celebrate alongside locals at the Nachi Fire Festival held every July 14th. Revel in one of Japan’s three largest fire festivals, where 50kg torches purify 12 portable shrines before enthusiastic torch-bearing locals chant loudly and religiously.

Embrace Nachikatsuura’s Charm

As a charmingly tranquil town with limited tourists and a small population, Nachikatsuura promises spectacular encounters with nature and Japanese culture. Bask in its natural beauty within historic temples beside the cascading Nachi Falls for an unforgettable trip.

Prepare to be captivated by ancient traditions merging with modern-day Japanese life in this remarkable destination – let your journey into the heart of Japan’s history begin!

Leave a Comment