Waterfalls of Tsuwano

Scenic waterfalls often visited by the domain lord

By Denes Perlaky   Dec 1, 2017 - 3 min read

Tsuwano is a castle town nestled in a narrow valley, between the Aonoyama and the Shiroyama mountains, the latter loosely translated as "castle hill". From its snowfall in winter and bountiful rain in other seasons, it is a perfect location for a clean and abundant water supply. This abundant and clean water not just helps traditional livelihoods like sake brewing, wasabi growing and washi Japanese paper making, but also creates beautiful waterfalls.

There are four big waterfalls in the area Tsuwano area, including Naru Falls, Shiraito Falls, On Falls and Men Falls. The closest to the town center is the Naru Falls, which takes about 20-25 minutes on foot.

Naru Falls (in Machida area)

The water of this 16 m high waterfall is said to be so clean that the people of Tsuwano were still using it as drinking water until recently. There is a shrine next to the pond of the waterfall, and some locals regularly come here for a purification ritual. The GPS position of the waterfall is 34.458581, 131.772257.

Shiraito Falls (Takamine area)

This is located in the Takamine area of Tsuwano. After heavy rain, the water falling directly into the basin look like white threads, giving its name in Japanese. It is said that this waterfall was one of the favourites of the Tsuwano domain lord.

The Shiraito Falls is close to the Washibara Hachimangu Horse Archery grounds. It is quite a hike from the station, it would take about 40-45 minutes, thus taxi or rental bicycle is recommended.

The GPS position of the waterfall is 34.4538175, 131.7415242.

On Falls and Men Falls (Otada area)

These two waterfalls were often visited by the domain lord of Tsuwano, for the coolness they bring in the summer as well as its scenery. Sometimes the domain lord would come equipped with his drawing tools to sketch the beautiful scenery.

These waterfalls are slightly further outside of Tsuwano, towards Nichihara. The road leading to the stream might be easy to miss.

The approximate GPS position of the On Falls is 34.514258, 131.841778 and for the Men Falls is 34.5126471,131.8411321.

Japan Travel Member

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Relinda Puspita 10 months ago
Can you take shower there? :)
Denes Perlaky Author 10 months ago
Dear Relinda,
I heard stories that one of the waterfalls is the place of a purification ritual, performed by locals. I am searching for anyone I could interview on this, but they are rather shy about it. The water of Narutaki (Naru falls) is still used in households, so I would stay away from that pool :-)
Terrie Lloyd 10 months ago
Nice to see you leave the GPS coordinates. Thank you. Although a beautiful area, Tsuwano also has a tragic history, as it was the site of a concentration camp of sorts for christians in the area, in the 1600's. A local church commemorates the site and suffering of the inhabitants.
Denes Perlaky Author 6 months ago
Dear Terrie,
I wrote an article about the hidden Christians that you mentioned, it can be found at:
https://en.japantravel.com/shimane/otome-toge-st-maria-chapel/43215
Yours sincerely
Denes