Harafudo Waterfall (Harafudo-taki [原不動滝])

Shiso / Himeji / Tottori, Hyogo, Japan

About Harafudo Waterfall (Harafudo-taki [原不動滝])


Hiking Distance: 1.4km round trip
Suggested Time: 45-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2016-10-23
Date last visited: 2016-10-23

Waterfall Latitude: 35.19804
Waterfall Longitude: 134.50166

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The Harafudo Waterfall (Harafudo-taki [原不動滝]; also just called Harafudo Falls or Harafudodaki) was one of the more obscure waterfalls that we visited.

It was actually a three-tiered falls with a cumulative height of 88m so it sported some pretty impressive dimensions.

Harafudo_Falls_063_10222016 - Harafudo Waterfall
Harafudo Waterfall

However, it felt off the beaten track well west of the Kansai area (where the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara are located) while being pretty much right in the middle between Himeji and Tottori.

My parents looked at the kanji of this waterfall’s name and had this quizzical look because it literally translated as the “motionless waterfall”.

We’re not certain what that meant, especially since the Harafudo Waterfall was clearly moving.

Even the view you see pictured above came from a suspension bridge that was also moving with the winds as well as the steps of each person on it.

Harafudo_Falls_065_10222016 - Focused view of the uppermost tier of the Harafudo Waterfall
Focused view of the uppermost tier of the Harafudo Waterfall

Perhaps its appearance on a 1969 15 yen stamp essentially froze the falls in time?

Regardless, this was said to be one of Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls as gazetted by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, and our scenic rating for this falls certainly corroborated their survey.

Experiencing the Harafudo Waterfall

Our visit to the Harafudo Waterfall was pretty straightforward.

We spent about a little over an hour away from the car on this excursion.

Harafudo_Falls_110_10222016 - Context of the suspension bridge perched above and across from the Harafudo Waterfall
Context of the suspension bridge perched above and across from the Harafudo Waterfall

The hike itself (not including the part that was closed, which we’ll get to later) was on the order of about 1.4km round trip.

Still, we spent lots of time admiring the falls and going on that detour to see where that other closed trail went.

So I’d imagine that a more focused visit could be more on the order of about 45 minutes.

The Harafudo Waterfall Trail Description

From a pretty well-signed car park (see directions below), we walked along a road going past a restroom facility as well as some kind of outdoor gym or playground.

Harafudo_Falls_017_10222016 - Near the car park for the Harafudodaki Park, we noticed some religious structures, including this line of small statues reminding me a lot of the Bake Jizo in Nikko
Near the car park for the Harafudodaki Park, we noticed some religious structures, including this line of small statues reminding me a lot of the Bake Jizo in Nikko

We then passed through a little shelter where there was a Buddha statue as well as a small row of Bake-Jizo-like statues (like a smaller version of the ones we saw near Nikko).

Then, beyond these things, the trail eventually crossed a bridge over the Hachijogawa Stream before reaching the official trailhead some 450m from the car park.

At the trailhead, there was a booth collecting an entrance fee, which was said to be about 200 yen per adult when we were there.

Actually, our visit occurred before anyone was in the booth so we dropped the needed yen in a drop hole based on the honor system.

Harafudo_Falls_027_10222016 - Dad approaching the entrance kiosk for the Harafudo Waterfall hike
Dad approaching the entrance kiosk for the Harafudo Waterfall hike

Beyond the entrance booth, the trail then went across a suspension bridge traversing the Hachijogawa before ascending a series of steps.

Near a junction, we kept right to go onto another suspension bridge, which led us to a dead-end.

However, along the bridge, we were able to look directly down at the impressive Harafudo Waterfall.

We were never really able to get a clean look at the falls because of the presence of support wires that kept the suspension bridge where it was.

Harafudo_Falls_034_10222016 - The hike to the Harafudo Waterfall involved quite a bit of extensive walking on suspension bridges
The hike to the Harafudo Waterfall involved quite a bit of extensive walking on suspension bridges

From looking at the rugged terrain around the bridge, it would have been difficult to get such an intimate and non-blocked view of the falls so I guess you gotta take the good with the bad.

Given the waterfall’s size, it was difficult to get that all-encompassing look at the whole thing in one go.

As if the size wasn’t enough, there were also lots of foliage around the waterfall, which further made it hard to get that clean all look of all the drops in one go.

Still, that foliage also meant that it would be an ideal spot to see the koyo (Autumn colors).

Harafudo_Falls_107_10222016 - Context of the last suspension bridge and the bottom tier of the Harafudo Waterfall
Context of the last suspension bridge and the bottom tier of the Harafudo Waterfall

Unfortunately, as you can see on the photos on this page, our visit probably came a few weeks too early for that.

Nevertheless, my parents and I enjoyed a very peaceful and relaxing time here thanks to its relative obscurity.

When we had our fill of the view of the Harafudo Waterfall from the suspension bridge, we then backtracked to the trail junction at the start of the bridge.

Then, we explored the other trail to see where it went, but after going up several steep steps, we reached a trail closure where we managed to get a more elevated but partially blocked view of the Harafudo Falls.

Harafudo_Falls_123_10222016 - Partial view framed between trees of the Harafudo Waterfall on our way up to the trail closure further up the mountain
Partial view framed between trees of the Harafudo Waterfall on our way up to the trail closure further up the mountain

So we couldn’t say for sure where else this trail went since we didn’t cross the closure.

And so we turned back at this point and went right back to the car park.

Authorities

The Harafudo Waterfall resides near Shiso of the Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. It is administered by the Hyogo Prefectural Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Hyogo District Forest Office website.

Harafudo_Falls_005_10222016 - Following along the paved path from the car park as it led us closer to the Harafudo Falls Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_007_10222016 - The mountain scenery looking across the Hachijogawa River on the way to the Harafudo Falls Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_009_10222016 - Some kind of jungle gym facility that we noticed along the way to the Harafudo Falls Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_015_10222016 - Mom and Dad approaching some kind of religious area with an archway and a Buddha statue during our stroll to the Harafudo Waterfall Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_016_10222016 - Some kind of Buddha statue seen right next to a shelter or archway along the way to the Harafudo Falls Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_019_10222016 - Mom and Dad continuing to walk along the path paralleling the Hachijogawa River on the way to the Harafudo Waterfall Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_020_10222016 - Dad crossing over the Hachijogawa on the way to the Harafudo Falls Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_022_10222016 - You know it was a naturesque experience when you can see some interesting wildlife on the morning of our approach to the Harafudo Waterfall Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_151_10222016 - There was no one at the Harafudo Falls entrance booth so we did the right thing and deposited coins into the drop slot
Harafudo_Falls_030_10222016 - Right behind the Harafudo Falls Trailhead kiosk was this suspension bridge traversing Hachijogawa
Harafudo_Falls_035_10222016 - Looking down over some intermediate cascades on the Hachijogawa River from the suspension bridge immediately behind the Harafudo Falls Trailhead kiosk
Harafudo_Falls_037_10222016 - Mom and Dad going up some steps after crossing the suspension bridge traversing Hachijogawa to continue the hike to the Harafudo Waterfall
Harafudo_Falls_039_10222016 - Looking back at the suspension bridge over Hachijogawa near the start of the actual waterfall walk
Harafudo_Falls_040_10222016 - Mom continuing to go up the steps towards Harafudo Waterfall
Harafudo_Falls_045_10222016 - Dad also continuing to go up the steps towards Harafudo Falls
Harafudo_Falls_047_10222016 - Looking towards the suspension bridge with a frontal view of the Harafudo Waterfall
Harafudo_Falls_051_10222016 - The koyo wasn't quite at peak yet, but we did see some hints of it while on the Harafudo Falls suspension bridge
Harafudo_Falls_071_10222016 - Looking across towards the upper drop of the Harafudo Falls from the far end of the suspension bridge
Harafudo_Falls_072_10222016 - More contextual partial view of the upper drop and part of the lower drop of the Harafudo Falls from the suspension bridge
Harafudo_Falls_075_10222016 - Another direct look right down at the Harafudo Falls from the suspension bridge
Harafudo_Falls_085_10222016 - Yet another look towards the Harafudo Falls with some more hints of koyo further up above the waterfall as seen from the suspension bridge
Harafudo_Falls_089_10222016 - Contextual look of the uppermost drop of the Harafudo Waterfall with some koyo starting to show the higher up in elevation we looked
Harafudo_Falls_096_10222016 - Looking back towards the front end of the suspension bridge above Harafudo Waterfall where Mom was still checking out the waterfall while Dad was on his way back to terra firma as seen from the dead-end
Harafudo_Falls_094_10222016 - The dead-end at the other side of the Harafudo Falls suspension bridge
Harafudo_Falls_102_10222016 - Last look at Harafudo Falls from the dead-end side of the suspension bridge
Harafudo_Falls_105_10222016 - Angled partial look back at the Harafudo Waterfall from the front side of the suspension bridge as we had our fill of this spot
Harafudo_Falls_109_10222016 - Out of curiosity, we kept going up this other trail above the Harafudo Falls suspension bridge to see where it went
Harafudo_Falls_112_10222016 - That other trail involved quite a bit of climbing more steep steps well above the suspension bridge fronting the Harafudo Falls
Harafudo_Falls_115_10222016 - Partial and obstructed view back towards the Harafudo Waterfall as we continued our climb up this trail to see where it went
Harafudo_Falls_117_10222016 - We turned around at this closure so we'd never know exactly where this climbing trail would have taken us around the Harafudo Falls
Harafudo_Falls_132_10222016 - Mom descending this little detour that we had taken to return to the main trail for the Harafudo Waterfall
Harafudo_Falls_137_10222016 - Dad and Mom descending a few more steps and switchbacks before reaching the suspension bridge above the Harafudo Falls again
Harafudo_Falls_140_10222016 - Dad and Mom continuing to descend the steps in the direction of the trailhead after bypassing the suspension bridge in front and above the Harafudo Falls
Harafudo_Falls_143_10222016 - Dad and Mom going back down the steps towards the first suspension bridge below on the way back from the Harafudo Waterfall
Harafudo_Falls_145_10222016 - Context of Dad and Mom continuing to descend the many steps on our way back from the Harafudo Waterfall viewing area
Harafudo_Falls_150_10222016 - Going back across the first suspension bridge over Hachijogawa as we made our way back from the Harafudo Falls
Harafudo_Falls_154_10222016 - Mom and Dad back outside the Harafudo Falls area as we walked past some hopeful signs on the way back to the car park
Harafudo_Falls_155_10222016 - We noticed this interesting shrine and fountain near the entrance kiosk for the Harafudo Falls Trailhead
Harafudo_Falls_157_10222016 - Looking back at the context of the Hachijogawa River as we continued to hike back to the car park for the Harafudo Falls
Harafudo_Falls_159_10222016 - Looking upstream from a bridge towards some koyo starting to show through along the Harafudo Falls walk
Harafudo_Falls_162_10222016 - Enoying some of the rural scenery on our return walk to the Harafudo Waterfall car park
Harafudo_Falls_163_10222016 - Finally making it back to the car park for the Harafudo Waterfall

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We’ll describe the driving directions to the Harafudo Waterfall from Tottori since that was where we made our drive from.

Yet even with this starting point, there were some options on which way to go.

So we’ll start with a couple of approaches from Tottori first, then we’ll go over the driving directions from Himeji.

After all, the Harafudo Waterfall and the city of Himeji did share the same prefecture.

Driving from Tottori directly to the Harafudodaki Park

From looking at the map, the most direct route (and the one that the Japanese GPS had us go on) from Tottori was by taking the Route 29 for about 60km all the way to the signed turnoff for the Harafudo Waterfalls.

The turnoff to the park harboring the waterfall would be on the right side of the Route 29.

Once on the turnoff, then we’d follow the local road for a little over the next kilometer before parking at the well-signed car park on the left.

This drive was said to take around 90 minutes.

Harafudo_Falls_001_10222016 - The car park for the Harafudodaki Falls Park
The car park for the Harafudodaki Falls Park

However, given that the Route 29 initially had lots of traffic lights and then twisted about on mountain roads, we were skeptical of the estimated drive times by GoogleMaps or the GPS.

So we actually took an alternate slightly longer route, but it took advantage of the Tottori Expressway, which was toll free (actually it appeared all the expressways in Tottori Prefecture were toll free during our October 2016 visit).

Driving from Tottori to the Harafudodaki Park via the Tottori Expressway

So from Tottori City, we drove south on the Route 53 before it became the expressway, which we then followed for over 40km or so.

We then took an exit at an IC near Ohara, which wrapped us around to the Route 429, which we then took north and east for the next 30km before turning left onto the Route 29.

Harafudo_Falls_002_10222016 - Looking towards the car park entrance for the Harafudo Falls Park
Looking towards the car park entrance for the Harafudo Falls Park

From there, we followed the Route 29 north for about 6km before turning left onto the signposted turnoff for the Harafudo Falls.

Then, we followed the last kilometer on the local road to the signed car park on our left.

This drive also took us around 90 minutes.

Driving from Himeji to the Harafudodaki Park

Finally, coming from Himeji, it was recommended to drive north (either on Route 67 or the Bantan-Renraku Toll Road) towards the Chugoku Expressway.

Heading west on the Chugoku Expressway, you would then exit at the Yamazaki IC before taking the 29 north all the way to the signposted turnoff for the Harafudo Waterfall.

This drive was also said to take over 90 minutes.

And for some geographical context, Himeji was about 95km west of Osaka (about 90 minutes by car or by train), 62km west of Kobe (over an hour’s drive or a little over an hour’s train ride), and 119km south of Tottori (about 2 hours by car or train).

Viewing the falls from different spots along the suspension bridge providing different angles


View of the falls from higher up on the trail at a closure spot providing a more elevated but partially obstructed look

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Tagged with: himeji, hyogo, tottori, waterfall, suspension, bridge, japan, top 100, shrine



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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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