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Karatani Falls: A Hidden Gem in Muroto, Kochi

Tue, Nov 28, 2023

Karatani Falls


Karatani Falls” is a waterfall located in the upper reaches of the Karanotani River in Sakihama-cho, Muroto City, Kochi Prefecture. 

There are two waterfalls, the greater and lesser, and these two are collectively referred to as Karatani Falls.

It’s also considered a hidden famous waterfall in Kochi Prefecture and classified as a “Geosite” on the Muroto Geopark website.

Locals affectionately refer to it as “Taki-san” (Mr./Ms. Waterfall).

Greater and Lesser Falls


Karatani Falls – Lesser


Karatani Falls – Greater

Karatani Falls consists of the ‘greater’ and ‘ lesser’ falls.

About 50 meters from the entrance bridge lies the ‘lesser’ fall, while 200 meters further downstream is the ‘greater’ fall.

The ‘lesser’ fall cascades along the cliff with a relatively smaller volume of water.

The ‘greater’ fall, with a 20-meter drop, descends vertically, creating a powerful sensation with the sound of rushing water and strong winds.

“Onba-sama” : A Folktale of the Falls

There’s a local folklore associated with Karatani Falls called “Onba-sama“.

For details, please read the following.

Long ago in a town west of Sakihama, there lived a beautiful young maiden.

One evening, a handsome young man visited her.

The maiden’s heart fluttered as they talked through the night.

And so it continued, night after night, the man secretly visiting her.

While the maiden was pleased, she grew curious about the mysterious identity of the stranger. Furthermore, she became suspicious as his clothes were always damp each time he visited.

As time passed, the maiden came to be with child.

Concerned, the girl’s mother gave her a needle with a long, thin thread and said, “Sew this needle into the man’s clothes when he visits next.

The following night, as instructed, the maiden sewed the needle into the man’s clothes.

When the man left, the mother followed the thread attached to the needle.

It led her all the way to the Karatani Falls, where the thread disappeared into the basin of the falls

Peering into the basin, she discovered a large serpent coiled there.

Perhaps because its true nature was revealed, the man never appeared before the maiden again.

How to Get to Karatani Falls


1. Head towards the Karanotani River on the prefectural road Sakihama Kiragawa Line, making a left turn before reaching the Karanotani River.

2. Follow the road towards the mountains. 

3. Descend from the “‘Lesser’ Falls Bridge” across the Karanotani River and walk upstream. 

4. After about 50 meters, you’ll arrive at the ‘lesser’ falls.

5. Continue further uphill from there and and you’ll find a shrine and a worship hall. Nearby flows the ‘greater’ falls, about 200 meters from the ‘lesser’ falls.

The walk from the bridge shouldn’t take more than an hour round trip.

Things You Should Prepare

It’s not a particularly difficult path, but it involves crossing a stream.  

Therefore, it’s advisable to prepare suitable clothing and gear for stream crossing, as well as shoes that can be used in the river. 

Karatani Falls – Muroto City Homepage