In the depths of Osumi Peninsula lies Ogawa Falls, a pristine waterfall of beautiful rock formations, blue-green waters, and white gold sand. Far out of the reaches of Kagoshima Prefecture’s populated areas, access to the falls is granted after a gentle walk through mystical woodland which follows the Ogawa River upstream to the main event.
Seven kilometers out of the coastal town of Minamiosumi, the Ogawa River reaches a 46-meter drop where it trickles down a jigsaw of stone breeding a mossy coating across fantastic rock formations that stretch 60 meters wide before dropping off into a green-blue pool. The river flows downstream where the breathtaking scenery continues along a nature trail of diverse trees and wildlife.
Despite its rural location, Ogawa no Taki and its surroundings are monitored to maintain its immaculate condition so entrance is only permitted between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Arriving at the car park, a 1.2-kilometer walk meanders along the river through mystical forests to the falls. The paved route leads through bamboo forests towering above and areas completely covered by trees along a trail of gentle undulations. A highlight of the walk is the impressive Takimiohashi Bridge which can also be climbed for stunning views from above.
The calm, shallow waters of Ogawa Falls are a result of water further upstream being channeled elsewhere for hydroelectric power. However, it’s this lack of water that creates an atmosphere of serenity and mysticism as well as the exposure of perfect white sand and weathered rocks. Preserved in all its natural glory, Ogawa Falls is one to admire from afar as a wooden walkway has been laid out as an observation deck. There’s no chance of swimming in the falls. There is a lunch spot with a table around half way in.
Found out in the sticks, Ogawa Falls are best accessed by car which is around 15 minutes from Minamiosumi or two hours from Kagoshima City. With a few access points to observation decks at a distance from the falls, be sure to follow the road signs for Ogawa no Taki to locate the entrance car park. Alternatively, a taxi from a nearby town will take you the correct starting point. For those wanting to explore both Satsuma Peninsula and Osumi Peninsula, the Nankyu ferry runs a 20-minute journey between Ibusuki Port and Nejime Port, just 15 minutes from Ogawa Falls, and a 50-minute journey between Yamagawa Port just outside of Ibusuki and Nejime Port.