Japan Atlas: Nature 
Nachi Fall

Location: Nachi Katsuura Town, Wakayama Pref. 

Designated on February 1, 1936. 
Area: 598 sq km (231 sq mi) 
Number of visitors: 8,730,000 (1995) 

 Nachi Falls: 
height 133 m (436 ft),  
width 13 m (43 ft) 



A Great Waterfall Plunging Down from Mystic Mountains  

The area stretching from the middle of the Kii Peninsula, where the prefectures of Wakayama and Nara sit together, towards the sea of Kumano to the south is designated the Yoshino-Kumano National Park. Deep in the mountains of Kumano, the landform is extremely precipitous. This, together with the thick forest fed by plentiful rain, makes access difficult for people. It is no wonder that since ancient times people have considered the area to be a mythical place. Since the 10th century, centered around the so-called Three Mountain Shrines of Kumano, including Hongu, Nachi, and Shingu, belief in the mystic powers of the mountains of Kumano has flourished. One of these beliefs was that the Kumano mountains cache the Buddhist paradise and that, if a worshipper prays at the Three Grand Shrines, he or she can attain salvation and enter paradise while still alive. The shrines thus attracted many pilgrims ranging from members of the Imperial family to the common people.  

Kumano Nachi-san mountain, with its slopes covered by a primeval forest of luxuriant evergreen trees, is about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) inland from the Sea of Kumano. Cascading down between the peaks, the Nachi River runs over 48 waterfalls. Nachi Fall, also known as Ichi-no-Taki (The First Fall), is the largest of these. The great Ichi-no-Taki, where in a 13-meter-wide flow, one ton of water drops straight down for 133 meters (436 feet) every second, rivals the Kegon Fall at Nikko and the Fukuroda Fall in Ibaraki Prefecture as the most beautiful waterfall in Japan. Nearby, said to be the first place which has enshrined and revered Nachi Fall, is the Nachi Shrine, one of the three Kumano Grand Shrines.  

Photos: (Top) Nachi Fall and the Pagoda of Kumano Shrine; (middle) Rushing water of Nachi Fall. (Wakayama Prefecture) 

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