Renowned for being the wettest place in Japan, it is not surprising that Yakushima has a plentiful supply of waterfalls. The whole island runs on hydro-electric power and the waterfalls are always impressive whatever the season. If you happen to visit the island during a period of wet weather then heading for a waterfall is highly recommended as they will be at their most dramatic. There are so many waterfalls on the island that listing them all here would be impossible. Many of them are also inaccessible or dangerous to access. Listed below are 3 of the major waterfalls that are within easy access and one that requires a few hours hiking. Getting around from waterfall to waterfall by bus can take a lot of time, however if you take a YES Island Tour they will be part of your itinerary. Look at our Yakushima maps page to see where the waterfalls below are located.
The strength of the Senpiro Waterfall is such that it has created a massive valley from a vast granite bank. It's a wonderful waterfall that deserves to be seen, which is why it's such a popular destination and photo-stop for the coach tours. The entrance to the waterfall is just off the main island road, to the right as you head to Onoaida (尾之間) from the north. It's clearly signposted and so you shouldn't have problems finding it. This would make a LONG walk if you are visiting the waterfalls on public transport. There is a small car park, gift shop and toilet near the waterfall. From the car park it's only a 1 minute walk to the viewing area. Between the car park and the waterfall viewing point is the trailhead for the Mocchomu trek. If you are visiting Yakushima during heavy rainfall or after a typhoon then Senpiro Waterfall is a must-see as it will be at its most awe-inspiring.
As if one waterfall wasn't enough, the same body of water from Senpiro Waterfall then heads toward the ocean and just before it enters the sea it once again tumbles over a large waterfall called Toroki Waterfall. This is the only waterfall in Japan that falls directly into the sea. To get to Toroki Waterfall from Senpiro Waterfall, go back down to the main road and head back north a little way and over the bridge until you come to 'Ponkan Tankan' (just across from the sign with the two 'cute' orange characters). The building is a one-storey building which contains a large gift shop, an orange processing facility , nice toilets and a small cafe (which brews a decent cup of coffee and you get a free cookie. Just ask in the shop for service). The waterfall is on the other side of the road by the cute sign and there is a lovely new path path until the last 15m when you go on to the typical Yakushima style of rocks and roots. The walk only takes a few minutes to the viewing point. The viewing point for the waterfall is through quite a narrow gap in the trees and so if there are others wishing to see it then make way as soon as you've taken your photo. There are also lovely views of the rocky lava-strewn coast and turquoise waters on the other side. Another way to experience this waterfall is to sea kayak up this narrow inlet and get an even closer view.
Ohko Waterfall is listed as one Japan's best 100 waterfalls – deservedly so with its magnificent 88m high spray. The waterfall is situated between Kurio (栗生) and Nagata (永田) on the west coast of the island. There's a car park and a toilet just off the roadside. The waterfall is well signposted. There are a few local buses that go as far as Ohko no taki (Ohko Waterfall), but they are infrequent. This is a very popular waterall stop on the island coach tour circuit and it is worth the journey there to take a look. You can get much closer to this waterfall than you can to Senpiro Waterfall and in the summer heat the spray is deliciously cool. Swimming is warned against by the locals.
Janokuchi Waterfall translates as snake-mouth waterfall. It doesn't sound inviting, but this spot really is a lovely out-of-the-way place to visit. Put aside a full day and you will have enough time at the destination to have a leisurely picnic. The water is used by Koshima Village (小島) down below so swimming in the pool is not appreciated. It's a shame as this would make an excellent place to swim. It's an 4 hour return hike in total, but this is depending on how long you relax at the waterfall. Compared to other hiking routes, this one poses no serious challenges, but you should still go prepared for a 'trek' and not a stroll in the park. The trail begins and ends by the Onoaida Onsen (尾之間温泉), so if you happen not to have a sunny day at the waterfall then you could always end the trek with an onsen or a refreshing (and free) hot foot bath. Please see the Janokuchi Hike if you would like to book a YES guide to this waterfall .