Tendaki Waterfall (Tendaki [天滝])

Yabu, near Tottori / Tajima Region, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 3
The Tendaki Waterfall

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The Tendaki Waterfall (Tendaki [天滝]; also just called Tendaki or Tendaki Falls meaning "Heaven Falls" or "Sky Falls") was a bit of a waterfall-saturation hike for us. This was because the trail had to have featured at least seven named waterfalls before reaching the tall Tendaki. It was designated as one of Japan's Top 100 Waterfalls as blessed by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, and at a reported 98m tall, we can see why. Anyways, the named intermediate waterfalls were (in order): Shinobinotaki, Iwamanotaki, Itotaki, Renrinotaki, Kuonnotaki, Meotodaki, and Tsuzumigataki. To be honest, we lost track of which waterfall was what as they kind of blended into the background while quite a few of them were either hard to see or weren't significant enough to be that noticeable. At the main lookout for the falls, there was also a shrine, where some kids that showed up after us were having a blast striking the gong.

We had quite a bit of time to take in the scenery and the intermediate waterfalls as the trail was said to be 1.2km or 40 minutes in each direction (i.e. 2.4km round trip or about 80 minutes on the hiking alone). The trail was mostly uphill the entire way so even though it was raining on the day of our visit, we were still sweating for most of the hike. There were signs essentially tracking our progress at every 100m or so as we'd see writings telling us how far we had gone and how much further we had to go. And there were also plenty of signs indicating that we were in bear habitat while several sections were prone to rock falls.

Most of the well-defined trail was hugging mountain slopes and even hugged up against some large rock cliffs or boulders in a few spots. In the narrowest spots, there were railings to assure the unsure. Anyways, as we merrily passed one cascade after another throughout the hike, we did notice that the last waterfall before the main one was both easily seen as well as significant enough to make us pause for a bit. Shortly after that seventh waterfall, we then reached an odd toilet facility (strange that they'd put one way out here so far from the nearest road) before reaching a shelter. Shortly after the shelter, there was a lookout where we caught our first partial glimpse of the Tendaki Waterfall. But then, we had to climb up a series of metal steps before finally reaching the main overlook where there was also a shrine.

The trail actually kept going on beyond the shrine, but it wasn't long before I encountered trail damage from a landslide. I wasn't sure if it was ok to keep going but I decided not to press my luck. It was a shame because I suspected that continuing on the trail could have led up to a more elevated view of the Tendaki Waterfall, which would make the falls appear even taller than the main lookout by the shrine (where it somehow didn't seem as tall as the 98m figure that was stated, but it could be the illusion of forced perspective working against the falls). In any case, we wound up spending nearly 2 hours, which was a bit more than the estimated 40 minutes in each direction, but we weren't exactly in much of a hurry during our visit. That said, the timing of our visit and departure seemed about right given the circumstances because we did see lots of people heading to the falls when we were heading back. It wasn't so busy earlier in the morning on the way there.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

The Tendaki Falls was about 70km or under 2 hours drive southeast of the Tottori Sand Dunes, which was one of Japan's more unusual and surprising featuresThe Tendaki Falls was about 70km or under 2 hours drive southeast of the Tottori Sand Dunes, which was one of Japan's more unusual and surprising features
Tendaki Falls was also about 2 hours drive north of the majestic Himeji Castle, which was probably my favorite of the Japanese castles to visitTendaki Falls was also about 2 hours drive north of the majestic Himeji Castle, which was probably my favorite of the Japanese castles to visit
East of Tottori was the impressive northern coastal scenery of the Anami Coast, where we could see the Sea of Japan eroding away at some eccentric lava and rock formationsEast of Tottori was the impressive northern coastal scenery of the Anami Coast, where we could see the Sea of Japan eroding away at some eccentric lava and rock formations
Looking back at the closest Tendaki Car Park, which had limited spaceLooking back at the closest Tendaki Car Park, which had limited space

Dad dealing with the elements while walking further along the road to the official trailhead for TendakiDad dealing with the elements while walking further along the road to the official trailhead for Tendaki

Right off the bat, we already started to encounter intermediate cascades along the trailRight off the bat, we already started to encounter intermediate cascades along the trail

Another pair of intermediate cascades further along the Tendaki TrailAnother pair of intermediate cascades further along the Tendaki Trail

This was some signage at the 100m markThis was some signage at the 100m mark

Mom continuing along the Tendaki Falls Trail while passing by another set of intermediate cascadesMom continuing along the Tendaki Falls Trail while passing by another set of intermediate cascades

Dad and Mom continuing along the Tendaki Trail where some railings or fences were put in place to assure hikers they wouldn't go into the sloping dropoffsDad and Mom continuing along the Tendaki Trail where some railings or fences were put in place to assure hikers they wouldn't go into the sloping dropoffs

Dad and Mom continuing to ascend along the Tendaki TrailDad and Mom continuing to ascend along the Tendaki Trail

Dad and Mom continuing along another one of the narrower spots along the trail where a fence was erected to keep the fear factor lowDad and Mom continuing along another one of the narrower spots along the trail where a fence was erected to keep the fear factor low

We saw a handful of these rockfall signs along the Tendaki TrailWe saw a handful of these rockfall signs along the Tendaki Trail

Trailside scenery en route to TendakiTrailside scenery en route to Tendaki

This was one of the harder-to-see intermediate waterfalls on the way to the Tendaki Falls, and this one happened to be one of the more significant waterfallsThis was one of the harder-to-see intermediate waterfalls on the way to the Tendaki Falls, and this one happened to be one of the more significant waterfalls

Mom and Dad passing by yet another attractive cascade before crossing a bridgeMom and Dad passing by yet another attractive cascade before crossing a bridge

Mom and Dad passing by a sign and shelter marking about the half-way point of the hike to TendakiMom and Dad passing by a sign and shelter marking about the half-way point of the hike to Tendaki

Mom crossing another bridge as the trail passed by yet another intermediate cascadeMom crossing another bridge as the trail passed by yet another intermediate cascade

Dad about to cross another pair of bridges with some hidden cascades beneath themDad about to cross another pair of bridges with some hidden cascades beneath them

Mom and Dad checking out the seventh waterfall, which I believe was the most attractive and intimate of the intermediate waterfalls we saw on the way to TendakiMom and Dad checking out the seventh waterfall, which I believe was the most attractive and intimate of the intermediate waterfalls we saw on the way to Tendaki

We lingered at the Tsuzumigataki long enough to have another look at itWe lingered at the Tsuzumigataki long enough to have another look at it

Mom passing a narrow stretch of trail, but this was one of the few instances where there were no railings to assure the unsureMom passing a narrow stretch of trail, but this was one of the few instances where there were no railings to assure the unsure

Mom passing by a seemingly out-of-place toilet facility as she approached another shelter further up aheadMom passing by a seemingly out-of-place toilet facility as she approached another shelter further up ahead

Mom and Dad about to make the final climb to the main lookout for TendakiMom and Dad about to make the final climb to the main lookout for Tendaki

This was an angled profile look at the Tendaki Waterfall before going up on that final climbThis was an angled profile look at the Tendaki Waterfall before going up on that final climb

Looking up at the metal steps comprising part of that final climb to the Tendaki LookoutLooking up at the metal steps comprising part of that final climb to the Tendaki Lookout

Mom and Dad checking out the impressive Tendaki WaterfallMom and Dad checking out the impressive Tendaki Waterfall

Watching a couple of kids messing with the gong at the shrine at the Tendaki Falls LookoutWatching a couple of kids messing with the gong at the shrine at the Tendaki Falls Lookout

Beyond the shrine, the trail deteriorated at this apparent landslide spot so I didn't go any further than thisBeyond the shrine, the trail deteriorated at this apparent landslide spot so I didn't go any further than this

Before heading back from the landslide, I managed to get this somewhat different view of the Tendaki WaterfallBefore heading back from the landslide, I managed to get this somewhat different view of the Tendaki Waterfall

On the way back to the car park, we noticed a lot more hikers making their way upOn the way back to the car park, we noticed a lot more hikers making their way up

Looking down at the bridges we were about to crossLooking down at the bridges we were about to cross

Mom ascending one of the few climbing spots on the mostly downhill hike back to the car parkMom ascending one of the few climbing spots on the mostly downhill hike back to the car park

Dad and Mom noticing a thin and tall waterfall that we hadn't noticed on the way upDad and Mom noticing a thin and tall waterfall taht we hadn't noticed on the way up

Still more people heading to Tendaki while we were heading back to the car parkStill more people heading to Tendaki while we were heading back to the car park

Back at the car park where we noticed a lot more cars parked here than when we first showed upBack at the car park where we noticed a lot more cars parked here than when we first showed up


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Checking out the falls starting from the trail closure spot beyond the falls and ending at the main lookout in front of a shrine


Sweep showing the stairs leading up to the main lookout as well as an angled look at the falls itself


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We'll describe the driving directions from Tottori since that was where we made our drive from. We'll just highlight the most direct route (even though we didn't take it as we wound up taking a more scenic route). That said, we'll also provide directions from the Harafudo Waterfall since that was where we continued our drive to reach the Tendaki Falls.

So the most direct route from Tottori would be to follow the Route 29 for about 53km before turning left onto the Route 482. We then drove on the 482 for about 12km before turning left at a signposted turnoff, which then ascended a narrowing road to a modestly-sized car park some 1.5km further. Overall, this drive was said to take under an hour to go the 34km distance.

Coming from the Harafudo Waterfall, we took the local road down to the Route 29 then turned left to go north on the main highway for about 12km before turning right onto the Route 482. Then, follow the Route 482 as directed above before following the signs up the local road to the limited-space car park for Tendaki. We did notice that there was also more spillover parking if the nearest lot was full. This drive wound up taking us about 40 minutes.

To give you some geographical context, the city of Tottori was 131km (2 hours drive) north of Himeji, 173km (2.5 hours drive) northwest of Kobe, 189km (about 3 hours drive) northwest of Osaka, and 216km (over 3 hours drive) west-northwest of Kyoto.




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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



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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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