Nunobiki Waterfall (Nunobiki-no-taki [布引の滝])

Kobe, Hyogo, Japan

About Nunobiki Waterfall (Nunobiki-no-taki [布引の滝])

Hiking Distance: 4-5km round trip
Suggested Time: 2-3 hours

Date first visited: 2009-06-04
Date last visited: 2009-06-04

Waterfall Latitude: 34.70964
Waterfall Longitude: 135.19379

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Nunobiki Waterfall (Nunobiki-no-taki [布引の滝]; Nunobiki Falls) was actually a series of four waterfalls plus smaller cascades and man-modified waterfalls.

It was really a waterfall we didn’t count on seeing when we planned our first trip to Japan, but managed to find out that it was very convenient to visit while we happened to be staying in the city of Kobe.

Nunobiki_030_06032009 - One of the waterfalls comprising the Nunobiki Waterfall
One of the waterfalls comprising the Nunobiki Waterfall

Visiting this waterfall series definitely felt more like the we had stumbled upon something that was more of a locals’ park.

That was because none of the waterfalls seemed to be very significant, and we kind of thought they were more on the calibur of the best Southern California Waterfalls.

However, upon visiting these falls, we also realized that we could extend our excursion to get gorgeous views of the city of Kobe as well as some forest walks (which even included a small shrine).

But returning to the discussion of the Nunobiki Waterfall series, here’s the lowdown.

Experiencing the Nunobiki Waterfalls

Nunobiki_003_06032009 - Looking up at the first pair of waterfalls comprising the Nunobiki Waterfall
Looking up at the first pair of waterfalls comprising the Nunobiki Waterfall

Of the four natural waterfalls that made up the Nunobiki Falls, we were only able to photograph three of them as falls #2 was almost completely obstructed from our line of sight.

The first waterfall (where its lower half was man-modified) was seen after the about 15 minutes of walking from the start of the hike (see directions below).

Another 15 minutes later, we saw a viewpoint of both the 3rd and 4th waterfalls (again, the 2nd one was hard to see).

And after another 20 minutes more of uphill walking beyond the last of the waterfalls, we reached an overlook of the panorama of the city of Kobe backed by its harbor.

Nunobiki_010_06032009 - The mostly uphill walking path
The mostly uphill walking path

The walking paths actually continued to go in various directions beyond this overlook, but we didn’t explore where most of these paths went.

I did, however, go as far as the underside of a cable car, where it might have been possible to get even more panoramas of the city beyond what we were doing on this trail.

Thus, I’d imagine it would be real easy to spend the better part of the day just meandering and exploring what this place had to offer.

Our self-tour, which included more than the waterfalls, lasted about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Some tid bits about the city of Kobe

Nunobiki_045_06042009 - View over the City of Kobe from lookouts above the Nunobiki Waterfalls
View over the City of Kobe from lookouts above the Nunobiki Waterfalls

Since the Nunobiki Waterfall seemed to be more of an obscure locals-type attraction, Julie and I realized that this excursion didn’t have crowds, and it provided a relatively peaceful and convenient escape from the city of Kobe.

It was amazing that we were able to experience such tranquility as technically, this was an urban waterfall given how easily accessible it was from the city (the walk started from right behind one of the subway stations).

Indeed, this was quite a memorable place to end off our time on Japan’s main island before heading to Hokkaido during our first trip to the country.

Julie and I sensed that the Nunobiki Waterfall ought to be more known to tourists because the city of Kobe seemed like a reasonably located city within reach of the Kansai area.

Nunobiki_065_06042009 - Walking beneath the Shin Kobe station en route to the Nunobiki Waterfalls walk
Walking beneath the Shin Kobe station en route to the Nunobiki Waterfalls walk

In fact, it was within convenient train rides to attractions such as the Himeji Castle to the west, Osaka to the east, and two hops away from the charming city of Kyoto.

I recalled that during the relatively short train ride to Himeji from Kyoto, we saw the world’s longest bridge jutting out towards the ocean (though it was headed to an island).

And speaking of islands, we didn’t know that the city of Kobe actually expanded out into the water given its rugged terrain as it was backed by the very mountains responsible for the Nunobiki Waterfall and other geologic features.

Now since I’m finding myself writing the word Kobe a lot, I do have to mention that Lakers player Kobe Bryant was named after this city after his parents’ visit to this part of Japan.

Nunobiki_037_06032009 - A small shrine that we encountered while continuing the hike above the Nunobiki Waterfalls
A small shrine that we encountered while continuing the hike above the Nunobiki Waterfalls

Just a little trivia I thought I’d throw in there since our local team did win the 2009 NBA Championship during the year of our visit here (woohoo!).


The Nunobiki Waterfall resides in the city of Kobe 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 Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) website.

Nunobiki_001_06032009 - Once we were on the other side of the subway and train station at Shin Kobe, we were then amongst lush green scenery though we did have to kind of make sense of the kanji to navigate between some of the residences and forks here en route to the Nunobiki Waterfall
Nunobiki_006_06032009 - More focused look at Mentaki waterfall, which was one of the Nunobiki Waterfalls
Nunobiki_011_06032009 - Ascending beyond the first Nunobiki Waterfall
Nunobiki_012_06032009 - The naturesque path continued above some other Nunobiki Waterfalls, including what we thought was the second waterfall (not visible though)
Nunobiki_017_06032009 - Near the hard-to-see 2nd waterfall where you can see man-modified cascades plus the walkway for the Nunobiki Waterfalls
Nunobiki_020_06032009 - Looking towards the 3rd and 4th Nunobiki Waterfalls
Nunobiki_025_06032009 - The third Nunobiki Waterfall called Meotodaki
Nunobiki_030_06032009 - Looking at the fourth and last Nunobiki Waterfall called Ontaki
Nunobiki_034_06032009 - Ascending beyond the fourth Nunobiki Waterfall
Nunobiki_036_06032009 - Approaching one of the small shrines on the trail above the Nunobiki Waterfalls
Nunobiki_048_06042009 - Looking out towards a ropeway and some kind of bridge or catch beneath it from the trail well above the Nunobiki Waterfalls
Nunobiki_050_06042009 - Looking down from the top of the fourth Nunobiki Waterfall towards the viewing area before it, where Julie was waiting for me
Nunobiki_052_06042009 - Some steep trail between the main one for the Nunobiki Waterfalls and a view beneath the ropeway (I'm not sure if this was sanctioned though, but I just happened to notice it)
Nunobiki_054_06042009 - As we hiked further above the Nunobiki Waterfalls, we noticed cable cars above the urban park
Kobe_011_jx_06042009 - After finishing the Nunobiki Waterfalls hike, we returned to the Shin Kobe Station and splurged at a restaurant within that was known for Kobe Beef
Kobe_005_06042009 - After the Kobe Beef dinner, we then walked around the night arcades of downtown Kobe
Kobe_008_06042009 - This was the last street we toured while in Kobe (and while in the island of Honshu for that matter)

The walk to Nunobiki Waterfall began directly behind the Shin Kobe Station (新神戸駅), which was only a couple of subway stops from the Sannomiya Station (三宮駅) in downtown Kobe (神戸).

We had to do a little bit of searching once we got out of the subway station, but the key was to go upstairs to one of its exits where we then saw a humble-looking path underneath the building leading over a bridge to some residences.

We just persisted on the road (trying to read the kanji carefully so we didn’t end up trespassing into someone’s place) until we knew we were on the path to the waterfalls.

For additional context, Kobe was an hour train ride east of Himeji, 28 minutes by train west of Osaka, and an hour by train southwest of Kyoto.

Find A Place To Stay

The first falls along with the neighboring man-modified tier

The third and fourth tiers

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Tagged with: kobe, hyogo, shin-kobe station, nunobiki, japan, waterfall, overlook, view, sannomiya, himeji, osaka

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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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