Nachi Taisha Shrine: A Pilgrimage Destination with Japan’s Tallest Waterfall
August 4, 2016
Nachi Shrine is one of the Kumano Sanzan 3 Grand Shrines and a major pilgrimage destination.
Located on the side of Mt. Nachisan, the Nachi Shrine area features several shrines as well as temples flawlessly combining Japanese ancestry belief (Shinto) with Buddhism, one of the main objectives of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.
The temple area offers a great view down to Nachi Waterfall. The picturesque deep red three-story pagoda of Seganto-ji Temple on the left and the full view of the waterfall on the right form one of the most photographed spots of Wakayama prefecture. A picture that truly captures the spirit of Japan!
In the shrine (Nachi)
Nachi Waterfall is Japan's tallest waterfall with a height of 133m. It is situated within a sacred area, most of which can only be entered by monks and other authorised people. The waterfall itself can be seen from a shrine situated in the shade of tall cedar trees. For the best and closest look enter the falls viewpoint (300 yen).
Every year on July 14 Nachi boasts one of the main fire festivals in Japan. At Nachi-no-Hi Matsuri Fire Festival huge 50kg torches together with 12 portable shrines (mikoshi) are carried down to the waterfall.
Fire Festival at Nachi
Daimonzaka is a slope just before Nachi Taisha. Huge, century-old trees line this ancient staircase of moss-covered rocks, creating an eerie and magnificent atmosphere leading up to Nachi Shrine. Highly recommended.
Trees at Daimonzaka
Take a train to either JR Kii-Katsuura or JR Nachi Station.
From there take a local bus to the stop Nachisan (25 min from Kiikatsuura, 620 Yen, 15 min from Nachi, 480 Yen, same bus for Kii-Katsuura as for Nachi Station. Climb up the stairs for about 10 min to reach the main buildings of the Nachi Shrine area. You can walk to the waterfall from this area in about 10 min.
To get to Daimonzaka take the same bus but get off earlier at 'Daimonzaka' bus stop.
To get directly to Nachi Waterfall take the same bus and get off just before Nachisan at 'Taki-mae', the entrance of a path leading down to the waterfall (5 min).
1 Nachisan, Nachikatsuura-chō, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama-ken 649-5301
At home anywhere in the world. Foreign language addict. In favour of living with simple means. Currently living the dream in a small seaside & mountainside town in Wakayama prefecture, Japan. Embracing the quiet countryside life and my daily portion of natto.