Akame 48 Waterfalls is a beautiful hiking path featuring waterfalls in Akameguchi, Mie Prefecture. The hiking path is 4 kilometers (2.49 miles) long and features five main waterfalls along with many smaller waterfalls. The hiking path is within a steep ravine, and so it is cool and refreshing in summer. The foliage changes seasonally and attracts many camera enthusiasts, even in winter because photographers try to capture the beauty of the frozen falls. There are numerous special events, such as religious rituals and a summer illumination, which occur throughout the year. The area has ninja history and is said to be the training and meditation area of many ninjas, including the famous Momochi Sandayu. En no Ozuno, a famous mountain mystic (yamabushi) and founder of Shugendo also frequented this area. The area is also home to giant salamanders.
The Five Main Falls
- Fudo Fall. 230m, 6 minutes from the start. 15m high, 7m wide, 10m deep. Fudo Fall is named after Fudo Myoo who is the god of fire. Until the middle of the Meiji era (the end of the 19th century), this fall marked the beginning of a primeval forest. Please get a magnificent view of this fall from the bridge over the ravine.
- Senjyu Fall. 800m, 20 minutes from the start. 15m high, 4m wide, 20m deep. The fall, rocks and trees make beautiful artistic harmony. “Senjyu” means “a thousand hands” and the fall looks like a thousand hands. Another theory of the name is that it was named after “Senjyu-kan-non,” a god in Buddhism.
- Nunobiki Fall. 900m, 23 minutes from the start. 30m high, 30m deep. This fall looks like a strip of cloth. The depth of the water from such a narrow fall demonstrates the power of the fall to slowly cut rock over time.
- Ninai Fall. 2,600m, 70 minutes from the start. 8m high. This fall sandwiches a big rock, giving it the appearance of carrying the rock on its shoulder. Viewed from a higher place, you can see a slightly smaller fall just above the split-fall; this is commonly regarded to be the most beautiful spot in Akame 48 Waterfalls.
- Biwa Fall. 2,870m, 80 minutes from the start. 15m high, 10m deep. This indigo blue basin looks like a bathtub made of rocks. It is named Biwa because of its shape, which resembles an oriental stringed instrument called a biwa.
Why is it called Akame 48 Waterfalls?
“Akame” literally means “red eye.” The origin of this name has conflicting explanations.
One explanation is that a long time ago, a mystic named En no Ozuno came to this area to train, meditate and discipline his mind and body (during the Nara period, 710-794). During his meditation, the guardian god of such discipline came out of a waterfall riding on a red-eyed ox.
Another explanation is that En no Ozuno was served by two demons wishing to change their ways. (How the demons met En no Ozuno, and how they decided to enter servitude to him, varies with different legends.) One of the demons, Sekigan (sometimes called Shakugan), the demon husband, had red eyes. (The other demon, the demon wife, Koko, had yellow eyes.) The name “Akame” may be referencing sightings of Sekigan.
The number 48 was chosen not because there are literally 48 falls, but because the number represents “many.” How many falls do you count?
Who was Momochi Sandayu?
Momochi Sandayu is a famous ninja, head of the Momochi clan. He was born in 1525 and lived most of his life in the Iga area. ...READ MORE
Regarding ninjutsu, Momochi famously said, “Ninjutsu is not something which should be used for personal desires. It is something which should be used when no other choice is available, for the sake of one’s country, for the sake of one’s lord, or to escape personal danger. If one deliberately uses it for the sake of personal desires, the techniques will indeed fail totally.”
Who was En no Ozuno?
En no Ozuno (also often called En no Gyoja; born 634, died sometime 700-707) was a legendary yamabushi or “mountain priest” (literally, “one who lives in the mountains”). ...READ MORE
What is Shugendo?
Shugendo is a Japanese mystic religion which contains influences from Shintoism, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. ...READ MORE
After its establishment, due to various changing political landscapes the Japanese government characterized it as a superstitious religion unbefitting a civilized culture, and followers were pressured to align themselves with Shingon Buddhism or Tendai. This law was later repealed, and today the religion still exists, albeit in a very limited capacity.
More about Giant Salamanders
The scientific name of this amphibian is cryptobranchidae. It is the largest amphibian in the world. ...READ MORE
AccessTake the Kintetsu-Osaka line to Akameguchi station, then take a bus to the entrance of the falls. The bus costs 360 yen one way (180 yen for children).
It is *possible* to walk from the station, however it is a 4km hike, so please choose wisely.
Taxis from the station are also available; it is not too expensive, and if you have a party of four the cost is usually pretty close to a bus ticket.
Buses From Akame Guchi Station to the Falls (April through November):
|Weekdays||Saturdays||Sundays and Holidays|
|10:00 AM||9:00 AM||9:00 AM|
|10:25 AM||9:30 AM||9:30 AM|
|10:55 AM||9:55 AM||9:55 AM|
|1:15 PM||10:25 AM||10:25 AM|
|2:15 PM||10:55 AM||10:55 AM|
|3:00 PM||11:55 AM||11:55 AM|
|3:30 PM||1:15 PM||1:15 PM|
|2:15 PM||2:15 PM|
|3:00 PM||3:00 PM|
|3:30 PM||3:15 PM|
|4:00 PM||3:30 PM|
|4:30 PM||4:00 PM|
Buses From Akame Guchi Station to the Falls (December through March):
|Weekdays||Weekends and Holidays|
|10:00 AM||9:55 AM|
|1:12 PM||10:25 AM|
|2:12 PM||10:55 AM|
|3:12 PM||1:12 PM|