Akiu Waterfall (Akiu Otaki [秋保大滝])

Akiu Onsen / near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 1
Akiu Waterfall

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The Akiu Waterfall (Akiu Otaki [秋保大滝]; also Akiu Great Falls or just Akiu Falls) was a nice 55m waterfall on the outskirts of Sendai towards the northern part of Honshu in the Miyagi-ken (Miyagi Prefecture). It was said to be one of Japan's three most beautiful waterfalls though that could be debatable after what we had seen on the remainder of our 2009 Japan trip throughout the country. Still, this one was no slouch and it was the primary reason we visited the Akiu Onsen spa area in the first place. I'm guessing the name of the waterfall had something to do with Autumn since the first kanji character is Chinese for Autumn.

Fronting the entrance to the waterfall was a temple or shrine just beyond the Akiu Otaki bus stop and the torii at its entrance. From there, we took a short paved walkway that took us to a small viewing area. It was at this cozy viewing deck that we got ourselves a top down look at the Akiu Waterfall.

Beyond the viewing deck, there was a walking path that also linked this main viewing area complex to the main road. Turning to the left at that main road, we then crossed a bridge over the gorge on which the falls resided and onto another walkway towards the base of the falls.

Unfortunately, we only made it up to the barricade blocking further progress as unstable ground beneath the cliffhugging walkway forced its indefinite closure so we couldn't get any other views of the falls besides the top down views of the main viewing deck. Thus, the only way to safely have a look at the falls from its base was from the pictures here or postcards sold here.

All told, we probably spent about 90 minutes to do all the walking plus have plenty of time to wait for the return bus (thanks to the trail closure).

We thought this waterfall was a little bit off the tourist path because we were slaved to the public transportation schedules. And the bus service to this area wasn't all that frequent. See the directions below to get an idea of how we were able to pull this off.

It's also worth noting that while we were basing ourselves at the Akiu Onsen, within walking distance was the Rairaikyo Gorge, which was a relaxing nature walk within a forested gorge area interspersed with interesting rocks and mini-cliffs. Inside the gorge itself, we encountered at least two small named waterfalls - Shigure-taki Falls and Misuji-taki Falls.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

After visiting Akiu-o-taki, we explored the serene Rairaikyo Gorge in the town of Akiu Onsen next to our accommodationAfter visiting Akiu-o-taki, we explored the serene Rairaikyo Gorge in the town of Akiu Onsen next to our accommodation
Another look at the Akiu Otaki WaterfallAnother look at the Akiu Otaki Waterfall
After visiting the Akiu Waterfall and the Rairaikyo Gorge, we finally got to relax in our tatami-style accommodation in Akiu OnsenAfter visiting the Akiu Waterfall and the Rairaikyo Gorge, we finally got to relax in our tatami-style accommodation in Akiu Onsen
The entrance to the Akiu WaterfallThe entrance to the falls

A smaller side shrine we noticed inside the Akiu Otaki complexA smaller side shrine we noticed inside the waterfall complex

View of the Akiu Waterfall from the viewing deckView of the Akiu Waterfall from the viewing deck

Julie checking out the Akiu Otaki from the familiar viewing deckJulie checking out the falls from the familiar viewing deck

We couldn't quite read this sign, but in hindsight we then knew exactly what they were talking aboutWe couldn't quite read this sign, but in hindsight we then knew exactly what they were talking about

It can get a bit crowded at the viewing deckIt can get a bit crowded at the viewing deck

Forest walk bridging the Akiu Waterfall complex with the main roadForest walk bridging the Akiu Waterfall complex with the main road

Looking up the gorge containing Akiu Waterfall from the road bridgeLooking up the gorge containing the falls from the road bridge

Stairs leading down to the trail to the base of the Akiu WaterfallStairs leading down to the trail to the base of the waterfall

This was about as much of the Akiu Waterfall as we could see from the opposite side of the riverThis was about as much of the Akiu Waterfall as we could see from the opposite side of the river

When we were back at the bus stop, we had time to explore the Akiu Waterfall complex for a bit and check out things like this shrine in the heart of the complexWhen we were back at the bus stop, we had time to explore the waterfall complex for a bit and check out things like this shrine in the heart of the complex

Back at the torii fronting the entrance to the Akiu Waterfall complexBack at the torii fronting the entrance to the waterfall complex

When we returned from the Akiu Waterfall adventure, we checked out the Rairaikyo Gorge inside the Akiu Onsen townWhen we returned from the waterfall adventure, we checked out the Rairaikyo Gorge inside the Akiu Onsen town

I believe this was the Shigure-taki Falls inside the Rairaikyo GorgeI believe this was the Shigure-taki Falls inside the Rairaikyo Gorge

Rugged rocky scenery within the Rairaikyo GorgeRugged rocky scenery within the Rairakyo Gorge

I believe this was the Misuji-taki Falls inside the Rairaikyo GorgeI believe this was the Misuji-taki Falls inside the Rairaikyo Gorge

The walkway within the Rairaikyo GorgeThe walkway within the Rairakyo Gorge


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Bottom up sweep of the falls from the only place we were able to view the falls satisfactorily


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The buses from the Akiu Onsen to/from Akiu Waterfall only leaves about 3 times a day on weekdays as well as on Sundays and holidays, and 4 times a day on Saturdays.

Just to give you an idea of the logistics behind our visit to the waterfall, it was as follows:

  1. Caught shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Sendai at 7:36
  2. Caught local bus from Sendai Station to Akiu Onsen 10:39
  3. Dropped luggage at reception of accommodation in Akiu Onsen area before noon
  4. Caught local bus from Akiu Sato Center (walked from hotel) to Akiu Otaki at 13:16
  5. Caught local bus from Akiu Otaki to Akiu Sato Center at 15:32




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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