Chasing Waterfalls in East Tokushima: Explore Amagoi, Jintsu, and Fudo Falls
Tucked away in the mountains of Kamiyama is the majestic Amagoi Falls, one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls. Amagoi is actually made up of two waterfalls that converge into a pool — the one on the right, with a drop of 45 meters, is the “female” fall and the one on the left at 27 meters high, is the “male”. For centuries, farmers would hike up here to pray for rainfall to prevent droughts and ensure a good harvest.
The trail up to Amagoi Falls is only 800 meters but is narrow and steep, so it takes about 30 minutes to reach to the top. The path takes you through the deep woods of Kamiyama, filling your lungs with the sweet smell of fresh water and green leaves. Along the way, there are several other waterfalls: Uguisu Falls, Fudo Falls, Jigoku-fuchi, Momiji Falls and Kannon Falls. Some have small paths that lead to the water — make use of these if you want to stop and dip your feet in the ice cold water. Signs dot the trail with gentle reminders of how far you have to go, sometimes encouraging you to keep on going and not give up.
Once you reach the enthralling Amagoi Falls, there is a small open space with a rest area and some benches. Once you’ve seen the majesty of the waterfall, this is the perfect place to hang out and eat before heading down again. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, head up the small wooden path to the right for another 30 minutes to explore the secluded Buddhist temple Konesan Higanji.
Where: Tani Jinryo, Kamiyama, Myozai-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
How to get here
It’s best to go by car. The parking lot is just outside the entrance to trail.
If you’re taking the bus from Tokushima Station, get on the 56 or 57 and disembark at Yoriinaka (an approximately 60-minute trip). From there, it’s a 60-minute walk to the waterfall.
Jintsu Falls is a little bit trickier to find than Amagoi Falls, but once you reach the parking area, it’s only an easy 10 to 15-minute walk to this 25-meter-high waterfall. Its name means “the passage of the gods”, a name that may feel excessive — until you get there. The waterfall lies deep in the forest and as the trees become denser, darkness creeps in. Time your visit right, though, and you’ll see the afternoon sun’s rays form an ethereal tunnel of light over the top of the waterfall — perhaps carrying the gods to their next destination.
The 600-meter long path to the waterfall is a wide concrete pedestrian-only road with a railing, recently replacing the old footpath on the opposite side on the falls, making it a lot safe.
While Jintsu Falls a great place to visit in any season, it’s worth making the trip here in late January to early February. Depending on how cold the winter is, the waterfall freezes, creating an impressive natural ice sculpture.
Where: Jintsu Falls, Kamibun, Kamiyama, Myozai-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
How to get here
By car is the best way to get to Jintsu Falls, but experienced cyclists can make the trip from central Kamiyama in spring, summer or fall.
Hoshi-no-Iwaya and Fudo-no-Taki Falls
The easiest hike out of the three, the trip to Fudo-no-Taki Falls is just a hop, step and a jump from Shokokuji, a small mountain temple. Legend has it that famous Heian Period monk Kobo Daishi subdued an evil spirit from the stars and subdued it here, inside Hoshi-no-Iwaya grotto behind Fudo-no-Taki Falls. Hosi-no-Iwaysa literally means “star grotto” while Fudo is the name of a fierce Buddhist deity, to which the falls are
You can take a close look at both the legendary grotto and the waterfall by taking a narrow path to the right of Shokokuji, over a small bridge. Fudo-no-Taki is a small waterfall with a drop of only 15 meters, but head up the path into the grotto and you’ll be blessed with a rare view from behind the falls. This view gave name to the waterfall’s second name, Urami-no-Taki Falls, which means “the view from behind”.
While you’re here, make sure to keep an eye out for the 450-year-old camphor laurel tree which hides a mysterious Fudo-myo-o carving.
Where: 126 Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun Tokushima Prefecture
How to get here
The roads are narrow and occasionally treacherous, so your best bet is a kei car (a Japanese microcar with yellow license plates) with an experienced driver, or by motorcycle or bicycle. You can also ask a taxi to drive you as far as the main road goes and walk the rest of the way.
Top Waterfall Chasing Tips
These locations are quite secluded and there are no vending machines or shops nearby. Bring enough water and food for your hike before getting here.
Wear shoes with good grip. The walk up to Amagoi Falls is especially steep and occasionally slippery, so shoes with decent traction are a must.