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Nachi Falls

Coordinates: 33°40′19″N 135°53′28″E / 33.672°N 135.891°E / 33.672; 135.891
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Kumano Sanzan - Nachi no Ōtaki
UNESCO World Heritage Site
LocationNachikatsuura, Higashimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture, Kii Peninsula, Kii Province, Honshu, Japan
Part ofSacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iii), (iv), (vi)
Inscription2004 (28th Session)
Area2.5 ha (6.2 acres)
Coordinates33°40′19″N 135°53′28″E / 33.672°N 135.891°E / 33.672; 135.891
Nachi Falls is located in Japan
Nachi Falls
Location of Nachi Falls in Japan

Nachi Falls (那智滝, Nachi no Taki) in Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, is one of the best-known waterfalls in Japan. With a drop of 133 meters (and 13 meters wide),[1] it is the tallest waterfall with a single uninterrupted drop in Japan (although Japan also disputes Russia's right to Iturup Island, which has the 141 m high Ilya Muromets Waterfall); however, the tallest Japanese waterfalls with multiple drops are Hannoki Falls, at 497 m (seasonal), and Shōmyō Falls, at 350 m (year round).

There are two rocks at the top of the falls that are the guardian kami of the falls and the Shinto shrine. There was also a Buddhist temple here that was destroyed during the Meiji Restoration (late 19th century). Many shugenja and star-crossed lovers have leaped from the top of the waterfall in the belief that they will be reborn into Kannon's paradise. Early each morning, the Shinto priest makes offerings to the waterfall in a ritual.[2] In 1918, a Sutra mound was excavated at the base of the waterfall and found to contain many important archaeological artifacts, including statues, mirrors, altar fittings and Sutra cylinders. These are now displayed in the Ryuhoden (“Treasure Hall”), located next to the Sanjūdō Pagoda (the 3-story pagoda). These Sutra mounds were created by priests in times of war to hide their treasures but also many items were buried in this way as a result of the belief that the end of the world was coming at the start of the 10th century.[3]

Believed to house a kami called Hiryū Gongen worshiped at Kumano Nachi Taisha, it is part of the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Very tall and narrow depiction of a waterfall. There are large trees at the bottom of the fall and small trees at the top of the rock face. The sun (or moon) is half visible behind the rock.
Hanging scroll of the Kamakura period (13th–14th century) depicting the falls

See also[edit]

Seiganto-ji and Nachi Waterfall


  1. ^ "Kumano Nachi Taisha 熊野那智大社". Sacred Kumano. Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  2. ^ Juno, Cate Kodo. "Places of Interest at Seigantoji". Sacred Japan. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  3. ^ Juno, Cate Kodo. "History of Seigantoji". Sacred Japan. Retrieved October 9, 2014.

External links[edit]