Nachi, in the south eastern corner of Wakayama Prefecture, is one of the highest waterfalls in Japan - just over 130m tall.
The Nachi Taisha Shrine near the base of the falls is dedicated to the 12 kami (spirits) of the waters. An annual fire festival takes place at Nachi Falls in July, when twelve 50kg burning torches are waved in front of the waters.
Nearby is a 7th century Tendai sect temple – Seigantoji. The temple is the oldest wooden structure in the area.
It's quite a climb up to reach the temple so it's best to drive up if you don't fancy the hike, and thus avoid paying for parking down below.
The falls can be reached by bus from nearby Katsuura and Nachi stations. The Wakayama coastline around Katsuura is dotted with hot-springs including some on small islands offshore, reachable only by boat such as Urashima. Koshinoyu and Sotonoyu are particularly well-known.
The area is part of the Kii Mountain Range World Heritage Site area, which also includes Yoshino-Omine, in Nara Prefecture and Koyasan, in Wakayama Prefecture.
Another more modern attraction farther round to the coast is the newly-remodeled Adventure World near the resort town of Shirahama: a Safari Park, Aquarium, Amusement Park all rolled into one.
There are dolphin shows, with Bottlenose dolphins and Commerson's dolphins on display as well as 2 Giant Pandas.
There is much debate outside Japan whether the demand for dolphins for the increasing number of dolphin aquariums that dot the country fuel the bloody dolphin and porpoise "drives" in Japanese waters in such places as Taiji, just south of Kii-Katsuura in Wakayama Prefecture.
The environmental activist Richard O'Barry has done much to publicize the annual autumn "dolphin drives" in Taiji.
2399 Katada, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun
The southern part of Wakayama Prefecture can be reached by JR train from Shin-Osaka station in Osaka (about 4 hours) and from Nagoya station (3 hours 30 minutes).
|Nachi Falls in the mist|