Akiu Great Falls (Akiu Otaki 秋保大滝)
I visited Akiu Great Falls twice during my stay in Japan – once in autumn and once in summer – and spent some time in the surrounding areas.
Dates: 2009-11-03 + 2010-06-19
Place: Akiu Great Falls, Miyagi prefecture (秋保大滝, 宮城県)
Transportation: car, 50 minute one way.
Akiu Great Falls is called Akiu Otaki (秋保大滝) in Japanese, where Otaki literally means “big waterfall.” Akiu Great Falls is 55 meters (180 feet) high and 6 meters (20 feet) wide, and is a popular attraction located roughly 50 minutes (driving) from Sendai City. There is an observatory deck overlooking the waterfall that is easily accessible from the parking lot. And, for more interested visitors, there is a small trail that leads to the bottom of the waterfall.
Also next to the parking lot is the Akiu Great Falls Botanical Garden (秋保大滝植物園).
Akiu Great Falls is not accessible via JR. Visitors can ride the bus to Akiu Great Falls via the bus headed for Akiu Onsen, or drive themselves.
For my first visit, in the fall, a friend had offered to drive me to this waterfall for a short trip.
I drove myself there the second time, in the summer.
Akiu Great Falls and Temple
Akiu Great Falls is actually quite remote, and there isn’t much in the immediate surroundings. There are some small food vendors (food stalls) in the parking lot, a restaurant across the street, and a small temple (AKiu Otaki Fudoson) before the observatory deck. There is an onsen area (Akiu Onsen), but that is a bit further away from Akiu Great Falls.
The Akiu Otaki Fudoson temple (秋保大滝不動尊) looks more like a large shrine, but many Japanese people stop and “pray” (pay respect to?) before going to see the waterfall. It is a well maintained temple, despite how small it is.
Stone steps behind the temple lead to the Akiu Great Falls observatory deck, and the roaring water can be heard well before reaching the observatory deck. The waterfall is clearly visible from the observatory deck, despite being below the deck and seems out of reach. It is quite an impressive sight, and water mists would splash up at visitors, especially when there is wind.
The view was awesome in the autumn, with autumn foliage surrounding the waterfall. The view from the observatory deck was nice, but I had wanted to go down to the basin to get a closer view of the waterfall. Unfortunately, the trail was blocked off due to construction. We didn’t have that much time anyways, since my friend had just planned a short visit.
We also went into the Akiu Otaki Botanical Garden since it only cost 200 yen (roughly $2), and got to see parts of the river above Akiu Great Falls.
My summer visit to Akiu Great Falls was actually part of a day trip around Miyagi Prefecture, which I will save for a future post.
Viewing Akiu Great Falls was definitely different in the summer. While the scenery felt less surreal without the autumn foliage surrounding the waterfall, it was still beautiful with all the lush, green leaves on the trees.
We tried to hike down to the basin this time, but the trail was blocked midway due to construction. I guess the trail must have been badly damaged…