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Photo By: PIXTA/ キヨキヨ
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Nabegataki Falls

Lying close to the border of Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures and not too far from Fukuoka City, Naebegataki makes for a great day trip option.

By Elizabeth Sok

Located near the town of Oguni in Kumamoto Prefecture’s northeastern corner, Nabegataki Falls offers visitors several breathtaking moments all year around. Lying close to the border of Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures and not too far from Fukuoka City, this site makes for a great day trip option.

The Surrounding Area

Nabegataki Falls

Photo by: PIXTA/tokomaru7 Be sure to snap some shots from all angles.

Between 270,000 and 90,000 years ago, four massive pyroclastic flows emanating from nearby Mount Aso were responsible for shaping much of the geological landscape of northern Kyushu. The last of those events was also the largest and helped to form both Aso’s caldera and Nabegataki Falls. Composed of harder and softer rock, the falls have been in a constant state of change as erosion morphs the contours of the rock face and shifts the flow of the water.

Today, it measures approximately ten meters high and 20 meters across, creating a cascading curtain or fine veil depending on the conditions.

From the parking lot which tends to fill up quickly on weekends and holiday periods, visitors will take a five-minute walk down to the falls along an easy trail. Once you reach the water, you’ll be able to enjoy Nabegataki Falls from the front and sides. Be sure to snap some shots from all angles and capture how light, water and the surrounding foliage combine to create glorious renditions of this serene spot.

A Behind-The-Scenes Look

Nabegataki Falls

Photo by: PIXTA/ TOSHI.K Hear the sound of water falling above and in front of you.

While Japan has thousands of waterfalls nationwide, Nabegataki is a rare example where you can go behind the falls. Thousands of years of erosion have created a shallow cavern accessible by walking through the ankle-deep water.

From this nook, you’ll be able to hear the sound of water falling above and in front of you as it resonates throughout the rock formation. If it rains in the days before your visit, be sure to pack a jacket as the falls will be heavier than usual and you may get wet.

Seasonal Delights

Nabegataki Falls

Photo by: PIXTA/ キヨキヨ A beautiful sight, throughout the year.

Nabegataki Falls is accessible all year around and, as a result, offers visitors a few unique seasonal sights. As the leaves begin to change colors in the autumn, many fall onto the surface of the water. This makes for some fantastic photo opportunities as reds and oranges fill your shot from above and below, framing the water cascading in between.

Golden Week is another popular time to head down to the falls which are usually illuminated from 6 p.m. The chilly winter air can freeze the water mid-fall, resulting in a surreal image.

Things To Know


The falls are open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and closed on Dec. 28 – Jan. 3.

Admission costs ¥300 for high school students and older.  ¥150 for elementary and junior high school students. Children younger than elementary school age can enter for free

How To Get There


By bus

From Michi no Eki Oguni Yu station, take a 15-minute taxi ride. 

By car

Take National Road 387 toward Hita/Oguni. Follow signs for the exit to Nabegataki Falls.  

Where To Stay

Tsuetate Onsen Hotel Hizenya
  • 4223 Shimojo, Aso-gun Oguni-machi, Kumamoto, 869-2503 Japan
  • ¥22,000 - ¥28,600
  • 4.48/5 (1,271 reviews)
  • 5.3 km

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