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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

A thundering sanctuary of gods and a major destination on the World Heritage Kumano Kodo trail

Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine is one Japan's most photogenic places. A powerful waterfall set in a primeval forest is the natural focus of this spiritual home for worshippers of the mountain gods.

Don't Miss

  • Thundering spirituality at the base of Japan's tallest vertical drop waterfall
  • Seeing the summer set ablaze at the Nachi Fire Festival
  • A centuries-old cobblestone staircase believed to be a pathway to the gods

How to Get There

Located south of Nara, in Wakayama Prefecture, the Nachisan area is easily accessible by public transportation.

From Wakayama's Kii-Katsuura Station, take a 30-minute bus ride to Nachi-no-Taki-mae. For those traveling to the area from outside Wakayama Prefecture, the JR Kisei Honten Line will conveniently take you straight from Nagoya or Shin-Osaka down to Kii-Katsuura. The journey from Nagoya takes just under four hours and features commanding views of the Wakayama coastline along the way.

Quick Facts

Nachi Falls is the tallest waterfall in Japan, at 133 meters

The waterfall has been revered from ancient times by the Japanese as the home of a Shinto deity

Daimonzaka–the stairway to heaven

Leading from the base of the valley up to the spiritual sanctities of Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, Seigantoji Temple and Nachi Falls, this cobbled, gently sloping staircase offer a 600-meter taster of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route.

Sheltered under a canopy of cedar, camphor, and bamboo, you can also climb the 267 steps in full Heian-period kimono for the full pilgrim experience.

Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine—a sacred stop-off

Tucked away up on the mountainside, Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine is one of the spiritual stops on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route and is one of the three sacred shrines dotted along the ancient trail. The goddess enshrined here is Musubinokami. As this can be translated as “tie a knot”, she is known as the deity of marriage.

Seigantoji Temple–a beautiful Buddhist structure

Rubbing shoulders with the Shinto Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine is the Buddhist Seigantoji Temple. The two spiritual homes housing different faiths used to be joined as one until politics forced the two religions to split in the 19th century.

Theology aside, the striking, sharp red edges of the temple's famous pagoda stand in the foreground of the roaring Nachi Falls. Seigantoji Temple is a magnificent sight that you should not miss.

Nachi Falls–an ancient water god

If you peer up at the top of the waterfall, you can make out zigzag paper hangings, tied to a rope strung a meter or two above the cascade. These are known as shide and signify the dwelling of a god.

Japan's earliest records indicate that the waterfall has been worshipped as the abode of a Shinto deity since ancient times, and this explains the reason for Nachi Taisha and Seigantoji being built here in later times.

Although crowds can alter the experience a little, standing in front of such natural power will leave a lasting impression.

Nachi Fire Festival—purification through a festival of fire

Every July 14th sees the area lit by flame as the Nachi-no-Ogi, or Nachi Fire Festival, is held. Beginning at Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, torch-bearers clad in white swing giant flaming torches to purify the ancient path leading to the waterfall. The event climaxes with twelve portable shrines set alight to a backdrop of chanting, smoke, and flame.

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