Kyushu, Japan | Osumi Peninsular Tour Part 2, The Captivating Ogawa-No-Taki Waterfalls and Arahiratenjin Shrine

Arahiratenjin tori at sunset

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The Region’s Acclaimed Sight

On our scenic tour across the remote Osumi Peninsular in the South Eastern corner of Kyushu after partaking of the Japan Space Centre, we also visited the region’s acclaimed sight, the Ogawa-No-Taki Falls. The fascinating photos online had convinced me to take the roundabout route across the hills to explore the captivating waterfalls.

The Waterfall’s Location

Despite the many pictures on the internet it was hard to pinpoint the exact location on Google maps, which we would later find out was due to the two different vantage points for viewing the Ogawa cascades.

The Upper View Point

Our initial approach driving across the Osumi peninsular from the Hetsuka Coast and Uchinoura Space Centre led us via some signposts to the upper viewpoint of the Ogawa-No-Taki Falls.  It turned out we were not the only visitors looking for the right route to the entrance to see the beautiful cascades from the bottom of the river valley, thankfully a large map displayed the right course and even suggested taking a photo with the phone to not get lost on the way!

Viewing Platform

However, while we were at this upstream outlook we wandered down the flight of wooden steps to the viewing platform to take in the Ogawa waterfalls from above. Down below we caught a glimpse of the turquoise waters of the pond and the crowds that had gathered on the lower viewing deck to enjoy its beauty.  However, the view from the top is pretty restricted and somewhat spoilt by some man made weirs up stream of the falls themselves.

The Main Entrance

On the map it appeared to be a short car drive to get to the lower main entrance to the Ogawa waterfalls, but it turned out to be much further than anticipated. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable switch back drive past lush green rice paddies and at last reaching the clear waters of the “O” River.

Access to the Ogawa Waterfalls

The large car park implied hordes of visitors at certain times but during our tour we were largely on our own. The small café Aqua Base served us a tasty and refreshing ice cream albeit with a surprisingly hefty price tag before starting the stroll.  A path and walkway leads to the Ogawa-No-Taki Falls parallel to the river crossing on duckboards and small bridges the many streams that come down the steep sides of the gorge. Small children will delight in the adventure. It turned into a pleasant stroll adjacent to the inviting clear waters of the main stream, between towering bamboo stalks and sheer cliffs before arriving at the wooden viewing platform.

A Captivating Sight

The pools at the bottoms waterfalls are not accessible from the path, possibly to prohibit visitors from clambering over the boulders and entering the captivating water. A main stream of water cascaded down the rugged cliffs, and miraculously driblets of water trickled out from gaps in the moss covered rock wall, evocative for us of the Dashbashi Waterfalls in Georgia.  Wistfully the sun was already low and the waterfall partly shaded, the colours must be even more enthralling when the sun shines directly down into the captivating canyon.

Ogawa Waterfalls Opening Time

Upon our return to the car, the café was already closed, officially the Ogawa waterfalls are only open until 17:00 but in practice there are no apparent barriers or gates stopping visitors from access at anytime.  After a quick stop at a local shop for a snack we drove towards the setting sun and the Western shores of the Osumi Peninsular.

Sunset Swim

Our last point of interest was the small Arahitenjin shrine that sits on a giant rock in Kagoshima Bay. A giant red tori gate sits in front of the shrine on a sandy beach where local families gather for a sunset swim in the calm seawater. The boys were also eager to get into the water their interest in climbing the steps to the small shrine had vanished with the sight of the enticing stretch of beach.

Arahiratenjin Shrine

I enjoyed the views of the cone shaped Kaimondake in the evening light on ascending to the Arahitenjin shrine after wading knee deep to the island.  The main shrine, came as quite a pleasant surprise it was protected from wind and waves and featured a bull shaped chozuya, to purify yourself before worshipping.

Relaxing End to Our Tour

The boys spent a long time in the sea snorkelling and playing with a ball, while I watched the sun gently glide behind the Minamikyushu Mountains. We also discovered a peculiar sight on the water’s edge, floating rocks, lightweight grey brown pumice undoubtedly from the infamous nearby constantly active Kagoshima volcano, Sakurajima, which we would pass on our return to Kurishima.  Our stop at Arahitenjin proved to be a relaxing ending to our eventful tour across the Osumi Peninsular.

Where we stayed in Kyushu:


Minshuku Hiroshimaya


Remm Hotel


Inakahama Beach

Blue Marine Resort

Hirauchi House

Sankara Resort treat yourself to a truly luxurious stay on the island.


Kyocera Hotel

Kirishima Kokusei for those wanting to stay in Kirishima Onsen

Takachiho Gorge

Kokumin Syukusya Hotel

Ryokan Shinsen if you fancy a luxury ryokan experience

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