Akiu Waterfall (Akiu Otaki [秋保大滝])

Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

About Akiu Waterfall (Akiu Otaki [秋保大滝])


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2009-05-23
Date last visited: 2009-05-23

Waterfall Latitude: 38.27496
Waterfall Longitude: 140.60294

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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 the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan though that could be debatable after what we had seen throughout the country over the years.

Akiu_045_05222009 - The Akiu Waterfall (or Akiu Great Falls)
The Akiu Waterfall (or Akiu Great Falls)

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.

Experiencing the Akiu Great Falls

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.

Akiu_060_05222009 - It can get a little busy at the main viewing area for the Akiu Waterfall
It can get a little busy at the main viewing area for 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.

Therefore, we couldn’t get any other views of the Akiu Waterfall besides the top down views of the main viewing deck.

Akiu_070_05222009 - This was as far as we were able to go before the trail closure blocking further progress to reach the base of the Akiu Waterfall
This was as far as we were able to go before the trail closure blocking further progress to reach the base of the Akiu Waterfall

While this situation might change by the time you make your visit, the only way we could safely have a look at the falls from its base was from the pictures taken at the barricade or from postcards sold in the area.

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.

Akiu_026_05222009 - The bus dropped us off right in front of the Akiu Otaki entrance, and given its long interarrival times, we had plenty of time to check out the shrines here
The bus dropped us off right in front of the Akiu Otaki entrance, and given its long interarrival times, we had plenty of time to check out the shrines here

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 based ourselves at the Akiu Onsen, we were within walking distance of 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 (時雨滝) and Misuji-taki Falls (三筋滝).

Authorities

The Akiu Waterfall resides in the Sendai area of the Miyagi Prefecture. It is administered by the Miyagi Prefectural Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) website.

Akiu_004_jx_05222009 - We happened to catch a bus on the way to the Akiu Otaki from our accommodation in Akiu Onsen
Akiu_007_jx_05222009 - A facility near the entrance of the Akiu Otaki
Akiu_030_05222009 - A smaller side shrine we noticed inside the Akiu Otaki complex
Akiu_032_05222009 - View of the Akiu Waterfall from the main viewing deck
Akiu_041_05222009 - More offset view of the Akiu Otaki from the main viewing deck
Akiu_055_05222009 - Julie checking out the Akiu Otaki from the familiar viewing deck
Akiu_052_05222009 - We couldn't quite read this sign, but in hindsight we then knew exactly what they were talking about
Akiu_063_05222009 - Forest walk bridging the Akiu Waterfall complex with the main road as we pursued the path to get to the bottom of the waterfall
Akiu_064_05222009 - Looking up the gorge containing Akiu Waterfall from the road bridge
Akiu_065_05222009 - Signs fronting the trail leading to the bottom of the Akiu Waterfall
Akiu_068_05222009 - Stairs leading down to the trail to the base of the Akiu Waterfall
Akiu_078_05222009 - 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 complex
Akiu_085_05222009 - Back at the torii fronting the entrance to the Akiu Waterfall complex
Akiu_001_05222009 - When we returned from the Akiu Waterfall adventure, we checked out the Rairaikyo Gorge inside the Akiu Onsen town
Akiu_093_05222009 - I believe this was the Shigure-taki Falls inside the Rairaikyo Gorge
Akiu_098_05222009 - Rugged rocky scenery within the Rairaikyo Gorge
Akiu_109_05222009 - I believe this was the Misuji-taki Falls inside the Rairaikyo Gorge
Akiu_114_05222009 - The walkway within the Rairaikyo Gorge
Akiu_117_05222009 - Another look inside the Rairaikyo Gorge as we explored a bit around the Akiu Onsen town

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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.

Akiu_002_jx_05222009 - The Akiu Grand Hotel was where we based ourselves when we made our visit to Akiu Otaki by public transportation
The Akiu Grand Hotel was where we based ourselves when we made our visit to Akiu Otaki by public transportation

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 (東京駅) to Sendai Station (仙台駅) on Tohoku Line at 7:36 arriving at 9:12
  2. Caught local bus from Sendai Station (仙台駅前) to Akiu Onsen (秋保温泉湯元) leaving at 10:39
  3. Dropped luggage at reception of accommodation in Akiu Onsen area before noon
  4. Caught local bus from Akiu Sato Center (秋保文化の里センター; walked from hotel) to Akiu Otaki (秋保大滝) at 13:16
  5. Caught local bus from Akiu Otaki (秋保大滝) to Akiu Sato Center (秋保文化の里センター) at 15:32

To give you some additional geographical context, Sendai was about 18km west of Akiu Onsen (over 30 minutes by car or a little over an hour by bus) and 368km north of Tokyo (over 4 hours by car or 1 hour 45 minutes by train). The Akiu Waterfall was about 14km west of Akiu Onsen (about 20 minutes by car or over 30 minutes by bus).

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

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Tagged with: miyagi, sendai, akiu, japan, waterfall, shrine, akiu onsen



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