Tendaki Waterfall (Tendaki [天滝])

Yabu / Tottori / Tajima Region, Hyogo, Japan

About Tendaki Waterfall (Tendaki [天滝])

Hiking Distance: 2.4km round trip
Suggested Time: 90-120 minutes

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

Waterfall Latitude: 35.33541
Waterfall Longitude: 134.61397

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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.

Tendaki_008_10222016 - Looking back at the closest Tendaki Car Park, which had limited space
Tendaki_013_10222016 - Dad dealing with the elements while walking further along the road to the official trailhead for Tendaki
Tendaki_019_10222016 - Right off the bat, we already started to encounter intermediate cascades along the trail
Tendaki_021_10222016 - Another pair of intermediate cascades further along the Tendaki Trail
Tendaki_022_10222016 - This was some signage at the 100m mark
Tendaki_024_10222016 - Mom continuing along the Tendaki Falls Trail while passing by another set of intermediate cascades
Tendaki_031_10222016 - 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 dropoffs
Tendaki_034_10222016 - Dad and Mom continuing to ascend along the Tendaki Trail
Tendaki_035_10222016 - Dad and Mom continuing along another one of the narrower spots along the trail where a fence was erected to keep the fear factor low
Tendaki_041_10222016 - We saw a handful of these rockfall signs along the Tendaki Trail
Tendaki_043_10222016 - Trailside scenery en route to Tendaki
Tendaki_045_10222016 - 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 waterfalls
Tendaki_057_10222016 - Mom and Dad passing by yet another attractive cascade before crossing a bridge
Tendaki_059_10222016 - Mom and Dad passing by a sign and shelter marking about the half-way point of the hike to Tendaki
Tendaki_064_10222016 - Mom crossing another bridge as the trail passed by yet another intermediate cascade
Tendaki_071_10222016 - Dad about to cross another pair of bridges with some hidden cascades beneath them
Tendaki_083_10222016 - 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 Tendaki
Tendaki_090_10222016 - We lingered at the Tsuzumigataki long enough to have another look at it
Tendaki_094_10222016 - Mom passing a narrow stretch of trail, but this was one of the few instances where there were no railings to assure the unsure
Tendaki_099_10222016 - Mom passing by a seemingly out-of-place toilet facility as she approached another shelter further up ahead
Tendaki_100_10222016 - Mom and Dad about to make the final climb to the main lookout for Tendaki
Tendaki_104_10222016 - This was an angled profile look at the Tendaki Waterfall before going up on that final climb
Tendaki_166_10222016 - Looking up at the metal steps comprising part of that final climb to the Tendaki Lookout
Tendaki_124_10222016 - Mom and Dad checking out the impressive Tendaki Waterfall
Tendaki_138_10222016 - Watching a couple of kids messing with the gong at the shrine at the Tendaki Falls Lookout
Tendaki_141_10222016 - Beyond the shrine, the trail deteriorated at this apparent landslide spot so I didn't go any further than this
Tendaki_151_10222016 - Before heading back from the landslide, I managed to get this somewhat different view of the Tendaki Waterfall
Tendaki_175_10222016 - On the way back to the car park, we noticed a lot more hikers making their way up
Tendaki_178_10222016 - Looking down at the bridges we were about to cross
Tendaki_187_10222016 - Mom ascending one of the few climbing spots on the mostly downhill hike back to the car park
Tendaki_192_10222016 - Dad and Mom noticing a thin and tall waterfall that we hadn't noticed on the way up
Tendaki_196_10222016 - Still more people heading to Tendaki while we were heading back to the car park
Tendaki_206_10222016 - Back at the car park where we noticed a lot more cars parked here than when we first showed up


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.

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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Tagged with: yabu, tottori, hyogo, waterfall, japan, top 100, heaven, shrine

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