A recommended nature spot in any season, plus the Japanese tradition of "flowing noodles."
? This location is in Niigata Prefecture — GaijinPot Travel’s No. 1 place to visit in 2018! ?
Whether it’s to escape summer heat or to find a popular spot to view fall foliage, Naena Falls is a year-round attraction in rural Myoko, the southern part of Niigata Prefecture.
With “earthquake waterfall” being its nickname, the waterfall is famed for its big crashing sound that echoes in the neighboring forest. A gigantic volume of water gushes vertically down the 55-meter-high basalt cliff every second into the Seki River. Not only is the waterfall a beauty, the relatively lower temperature in the entire Myoko Highland area gives the soul a chance to calm.
If you stop your car at the designated parking lot — or even if you don’t drive — be sure to check out the the restaurant near it. Why? Because it offers a fun and memorable dish called nagashi-somen. This is a dish served when noodles flow down a long bamboo “gutter.” (The above video is a sample of the long-lasting Japanese food tradition you’ll encounter (and love!))
After you get your fill, embark on the 400-meter walk to the waterfall, which is easy to reach. The path leading to the waterfall is mostly paved and passes through an expansive dam in the beginning. The second half of the walk entails walking on rocks, however, it is mostly flat. The entire journey should take about 15 minutes.
At the end of the trail is a long bridge where you can get a complete view of the waterfall. Next to the bridge, there is a covered resting spot, so bring a bento to enjoy a nature break time after the walk. Taking a dip in the water is a popular thing to do in summer. Though, the currents can get pretty rapid.
Besides the nagashi-somen restaurant, there are also cafes, vending machines, bathrooms and benches at the entrance of the waterfall. Families, couples and local guide tours are frequent visitors to the spot.
When to visit
The recommended time to visit Naena is October when the autumn leaves are bursting into color. However, to beat the crowd and really get the tranquility of the waterfall, visit on weekdays. This waterfall, however, can be viewed in any season — even in snow-covered winter.
One word of advice is that the path to the waterfall can get slippery after rainfall, so bring hiking sticks and wear proper trekking shoes. Bring a thin jacket to the waterfall as the temperature significantly drops in the Myokokogen area.
Love Japan’s countryside? Explore more of its natural wonders.