Ta-taki Falls

CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTY SUTTON

{Editor’s Note: This post was originally published as Tadake Falls, but we have since learned that is a different set of waterfalls in the Nago area. We have changed the name of this post to its correct name: Ta-taki Falls. Thanks!}

Tadake trail

Get ready for one amazing Okinawa adventure! Ta-taki Falls is a combination of hiking, river trekking, water sliding, jungle swinging, hide and seek, rope climbing and rock collecting in the midst of a breath-taking tropical wonderland.  Rarely will you see another American on this adventure unless it is someone in your group.  This remote waterfall is an escape for the daring and definitely worth the effort put in to find it.  Are you ready to go?

COST:   Absolutely FREE!  The only cost is your time and energy (and whatever it takes to purchase Motrin on your way home).

WHAT TO EXPECT:  The trail is a river. Yes, a river!  So be prepared to get wet. This is a wonderful welcome in July, but maybe not so much in January. Water shoes are a must, no flip flops unless you are prepared to barefoot it in the end.  At an average pace it will take around 30 minutes to reach the base of the waterfall.  Along the way your feet will traverse pebbles, sand bars, boulders, trees, rock walls and dirt.  The current is slow and steady and at no point did we feel in danger of being swept away.   Tadake vines  The widest portion of the river may reach 15 feet and did not go deeper than waist deep (unless it was at the base of a waterfall).

At different points along the trail you will find ropes in place to either help you cross a difficult area in the river (keeping balance) or help you around a cliff-like area. There are also many Tarzan-like vines to play/swing on, but be careful, it’s not always like the movies and you could end up under water quickly! There are multiple small waterfalls along the way that may distract you, but keep going for the main attraction, it will be worth it.

Tadake falls  When you are just about to the base of Ta-taki Falls it will become eerily silent.  You’ll walk on a pebble-ish sand bar which turns to the right and …TA DA, there is the magnificent waterfall! Fifty feet up and emitting power that you couldn’t imagine existed.

There is a nice area for a picnic if you don’t mind sitting on rocks, reading lips for conversation and taking in the gorgeous view. A ledge goes behind the waterfall allowing you to disappear (and scare your mother silly if you’re 9!) into the unknown for a moment or two.  The pond at the base of the waterfall makes a fine swimming hole and/or allows for hours of rock-skipping.

Tadake behind falls
Along the way, we saw neon green and black dragon fly-looking creatures—BEAUTIFUL!!  Vegetation consisted of Bamboo shoots, Ferns and an umbrella canopy of tall, “jungle” trees. There were also thousands of shiny, opalescent rocks of all colors and sizes to admire.

EXTRA: If you’d like the adventure to continue, there is a trail that takes you to the top of the falls. It is straight up (then down) with ropes strategically placed to allow you to climb or repel.  At one point there is a complete drop off, but the good thing is that all brush would catch your fall if you were that unlucky. There are multiple large trees on top on which you can fix ropes to repel down the side of the falls. AMAZING!!  This extra trip will take another 15 minutes one way.

FINAL REMARKS:  I would NOT suggest this for anyone with children under age 10 and/or who has not had experience hiking.  It is strenuous in regards to cardio and strength, so make sure you are in good physical condition.  We have heard warnings about not swimming in fresh water here in Okinawa, but other than a few bug bites, we had no ill effects—just be forewarned for yourself.  It was a “Natural” adventure in which I will list as one of my top 5 hikes of all time.  I hope you get to enjoy it as well.  Be smart and be safe.


Ta-taki Falls

Address: 1636 Tsuha, Ogimi, Kunigami District, Okinawa, Japan

GPS Coordinates: 26.634079, 128.09470899999997

Tadake hatDirections:  HWY 58 north past Nago (or at the end of the Expressway), when you pass the Family Mart on your left at the corner intersection to Yagachi Island, start counting your “clicks” (kilometers). Go 6.9 Km to reach Henan Bridge.  You’ll see light blue pillars approx. 6 feet tall with the red, heart shapes/hat thingy circling the tops on each side of each end of the bridge.  Immediately after crossing this bridge, take a right.  Tadake house

Follow the road for 2.7 Km and do not turn right or left, keep on the main road that leads you down into a valley.  About 1 Km in you’ll pass a fish hatchery on your right, keep going.  The road will curve left and then right again.  Look for a home on your left with a gray, concrete wall.  This will be the indicator that you have reached the parking area.  Directly across from the home you will see an open space in which to park.  Tadake sign   There is a sign posted on a tree which reads Tadake Falls in Kanji.  The river/trailhead is just down a slope to the right.

68 COMMENTS

  1. Keep in mind that all Okinawa fresh waterways present risks. A number of people come back ill from swimming in these falls, even though this writer and others may not experience any problems.

    • Construction is now complete at the new parking facility, complete with restrooms and shower. Just as the original post states, you’ll still go to that same house to enter the river, but now you have to park at the spacious new parking area about 500 meters farther away, and walk the rest of the way up the road to the house. The river passes by the parking area, so you can’t get lost if you simply go upstream. This is one of the best hikes on the island. Not the most strenuous, but is the most desirable since you can play in the waterfall, unlike Hiji falls. You can even go find the small seating area with room for three people behind the waterfall curtain! Excellent spot to try out your waterproof camera! I FaceTimed my wife from here 🙂
      For the adventurous, there is a strenuous climb off to the left of the falls (as you’re facing the fall), that leads you roughly 100 feet up along a ridge line, and then back down about 60 feet to the top of the falls. Well worth the effort, but be warned that there are risks on this narrow, steep, slippery trail. Only the healthy and nimble-footed should attempt it. Once at the highest point on this trail to the top of the falls, be sure to descend on the left trail with rope guides. It’s better traveled, more safe, and less overgrown than the right fork. Exercise extreme caution up there. Especially if you brought children.
      This is a “must-do” item for those that love the outdoors. Don’t leave Oki without visiting this beautiful spot!

  2. *** PLUG THE FOLLOWING INTO YOUR GPS***

    Ta-taki Falls, Okinawa Ogimi, Kunigami-Gun

    This will take you to the road that leads into the parking area. There are small signs with a drawing of a water fall to guide you.
    The main parking lot is closed so you will travel an additional 500m.

  3. The comment below is correct. We took our two year old in a carrier and even climbed to the top of the falls. Take precaution. As long as you aren’t clumsy.

  4. Did this hike in January with a 4 years old and 15 month old. Both kids loved it. The water was cool and refreshing. I did the extra thing to the top of the falls and felt it the next day. Great hike. Oh and I wore flip flops and my shoes are still okay.

    • Did your 4yr old walk? Or did you backpack him? I’m considering doing this hike with my very active, adventurous, three year old. I’m trying to see if it’s doable. What would you recommend to take along on the trip?

      • We’ve done this a few times. First when my older two were almost-6 and my youngest almost-3. She walked it. Just have your little one wear a life jacket and know you’ll obviously have to hang on to him/her at a few points along the way. It’s definitely doable, though! And so much fun!

  5. Thanks for all the great info. Did this trek 2 weeks ago with my wife and 2 boys (4 & 7yo). We brought a camera, snakces and water and had a blast…. A must visit while on the island..

  6. We just did this last weekend. Our kids are 13, 11, and 4… all of them LOVED it. My four year old needed some help going up and over some areas but overall did great. We snapped his life vest to our back pack so he would be safe swimming at the falls. The depth drops off very quickly near the falls. If you are with someone who can’t swim be very careful. My husband and two older kids climbed to the top of the falls. From what I understand the trip up the falls and back is pretty steep. I recommend going early because by lunch time there were a lot of people heading into the falls. We were there by 9:30 – 10am and there were just a few small groups. We left 12:30 and found a shady spot over looking the East China Sea to picnic on our way back. It was a fun FREE family day… other than a packed lunch and gas. Put this on your must do list!!

  7. excellent river hike! some minor rock climbing to traverse the river, some banana spider webs to watch out for, went with my 7 y/o girl and she had no problem. wear shoes, their are rocks everywhere. waterfall was beautiful and no water bacteria problems. well worth the trip

    • Steve, were you the only other hiker? What time did you go? We have tried to do this hike but the weather was bad every time. The hike starts right where you park right?

  8. Thanks to all of you for the info. This morning we loaded up the kids (girl 11, boy 6) and some lunch, grabbed some friends and headed north to the falls. It rained the whole way there and the road leading in had a lot of runoff/mud on it but we took our time and made it to the trailhead. The water was a little cold at first but as you make the journey up stream and you get adjusted to it it was great. The tree tops covered the river the whole way up so we did not get rained on, my wife brought our expensive camera and had no issues with it regarding moisture. We made it to the falls, ate lunch then headed back down to the car. Just a warning for regarding the turnoff, the road on the other side of the bridge is closed, so you have to turn on the road before the bridge. This road loops around to the other road right after you turn on it. If you miss the turn there is a spot about 1/2 a mile up the road to turn around at. Great little get away for a sunday.

  9. I was wanting to know the camping rules out there too. Are there any open flat spots in the jungle next to the river that anyone noticed?

    • Nolan, I’ve only been out there once, and from what I saw this is not a good place to camp. The terrain surrounding the river is extremely steep and dense with trees. I wouldn’t think it wise to try to stay overnight along the river; the time I went we were caught in a flash flood and had to hike up to higher ground. We waited a few hours for the water levels to recede before we could safely hike back to our cars. I can’t imagine trying to set up a tent there or the danger you could face in the event of some unexpected island rain. My experience may not be typical of most, but please use caution!

  10. Thanks for okinawa hai for this place’s info…
    Me and my husband went up there!! And yes in a pouring rain!!
    We took the first road on the right before crossing the Henan bridge, passed through an area that looks like junk shop, when the road split stay on the right, we took the main road at first and we got lost. And thanks for the picture preference we found the lot where to park.
    My suggestion is dont bring your little kids when it’s raining coz the water is too high and the rocks and ground are slippery, use the ropes to hike (thank you so much for whoever put the rope up there it helped us a lot!) I took my iPhone with me and placed it in ziplock to keep it dry.
    The hike there today was not so bad but be careful and take your time, it’ll be worth the hike, it’s beautiful up there!!!❤
    I hope I can share the picture that I took.

    • @Wilma. Wasn’t the water freezing cold for you? How’d you manage that? Also, at the start didn’t you have to go under the fallen tree across the water?

  11. Has anyone gone to Tadake Falls recently like this month October? If so, do you know when it is open. My family went to today and the road to the falls was blocked off–no sign saying closed or anything. Also any tips on what type of clothing and shoes to wear and essentials for the backpack. I am not a hiker and want to be prepared.

    Thanks

    • My fam and some friends just went there this weekend. We saw the road closed. It’s closed because of trees and rocks that are down due to the big typhoon. There is another road right before or after (cant remember) the closed road. It’s really easy to find.

      • at Mojo: When we went that second road was closed off as well. About what time did you guys go–maybe they have certain hours or something.

      • Okay, we tried again this weekend and found it. It is the first road on your right at the beginning of the bridge. However upon arrival, we tried to get through the water, but it was freezing cold from the start and we didn’t want to chance it with our 8 year old getting hypothermia, so we will try it again when the weather warms up next year.

  12. Mae asks, “…should I be worried of leptospirosis?…”

    I’ve been going to Taa Taki for over 20 years, and have never heard of a case of Leptospirosis being traced back to these falls. Of course, it might someday happen. If enough people leave enough “trash food” there on a regular basis, it might attract rodents, whose feces and urine contain the little culprit.

    On the other hand, I have heard of numerous cases being traced back to Hiji Falls.

    It could be that a “fauna divide” which occurs at Shioya Bay and the Tahiho River / Dam system acts as a nominal barricade to the northern rodent population.

    That being said, I have also never heard of a case of Leptospirosis being traced back to a great day at Lake Aha (Aha Falls), which is in the same “Yambaru” arena as Hiji Falls, though on opposite sides of the mountain divide.

    For some reason, the focus of the problem has always been on Hiji Falls, and other Falls and river-walks seemed to have escaped the Leptospirosis problem.

    Somebody really need to do a thorough testing of all the popular rivers and falls in Okinawa during the summer-fall Leptospirosis season, and publish the results in Japanese and English for all to see.

  13. What a great place! It’s actually call Taa Taki. Taa is the name. Taki means waterfall. Here are a couple of suggestions I would like to add: wear closed shoes because gravel gets into open shoes. (I wore my scuba boots and they were perfect! My husband wore sandal-type shoes. Because they were fitted, he had no problem climbing, but he did have to stop often and get the gravel out of them.) Bring a waterproof camera like a dive camera. (Some of the river could get chest high. We missed a lot of good photos later in the hiked because we had to protect the camera from the water.) Be sure to jump off the low cliff near the beginning of the hike when you reach the first small waterfall. The road you are looking for at the end of the bridge is REALLY at the END of the bridge! lol It’s a hairpin turn when the bridge ends. You will not drive beyond the bridge.

  14. just went today! loved it, went in the afternoon time so there were people around but it was still worth it. Sturdy shoes are a must! I saw kids there way younger then 10 and they seemed to enjoy it. I follow the directions given above and found a slight mistake, about the part with the Family Mart the Intersection is spelled Yagaji it is not hard to mess up though since it is the only Family Mart i saw for a while. But other then that totally worth it. Will be going back!

  15. We were up north last weekend and loved these falls! We got there about 9 AM and were the first ones back there (watch out for lots of spider webs!) The falls were amazing and we got so many good pictures! We took the hike up to the top of the falls. It was slippery from the rain, but we were happy we did it. It gives some great views of the mountains around. We did agree, that going to the top once is all we need to do! We hope to bring family back to these falls sometime! We did run into a few Japanese hikers and one group of Americans, but overall, it was very peaceful and quiet and a perfect way to enjoy nature!

  16. My husband and I went here last Sunday. It was absolutely gorgeous!!!!!! We took 58 straight there from Kadena… about an 1.5hrs. The directions are dead on… only thing I would add is that the pillars aren’t THAT tall and there are 2 forks in the road: 1st one, head left; 2nd, head right.

    We plan on going back soon. This time we want to go to the top of the falls… we tried last week but the wind was starting to pick up and we didn’t want to chance it. We took a ton of pics, so don’t forget your cameras!!!!! Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. We hiked this in November with our three children ages 10, 5, and 2. Our 2 yr old make it the ENTIRE way by himself. I’m not sure about the people who said not to take kids or make sure they’re old enough because my 2 yr old has been one to hang off my hip most days and he had a BLAST!! I took my expensive camera and got a ton of amazing pictures with the kids and the falls. It look us longer to get to the falls but it was pretty easy. I would recommend it to anyone with children. It’s a great experience and the kids love climbing!! Oh and we did go all the way to the top of the falls with the kids they all made it. 🙂

  18. Upon arriving on the island our sponsor suggested this trip and we jumped on it, What an amazing experience we had! It was beautiful and fun, no snakes we did see Banana Spiders but they didn’t bother us and we didn’t bother them…there were 4 adults and 4 children under 10, 3 were actually only 6 years old and they did awesome. We all actually walked in the water the whole trail as much as possible and swam across 1 time i believe…the kids had a blast but yes wear swimsuits/shoes (although we did see a ton of people in flip flops), extra clothes to change into afterward and snacks/drinks…a waterproof camera and be prepared for a great experience…

  19. We just did this yesterday. We have had a lot of rain and definitely some parts were deep and extremely slippery. We went to top of falls and that is where the tricky part began. The trek up was not as bad as the way down. After about 20 in the group walked the path it wore it down as some had been washed away due to heavy rains. I wore grip bottom water shoes and I only struggled on way up to water fall. Some of the ropes were broke so tree branches in the earth were the only way to hold on. It was fun and gorgeous. If you go to top of water fall expect to hurt next day from shoulders and arms.

    We saw a few spiders but no snakes. Super easy to find. Can’t wait for aha falls

  20. Well we finally made it to Tadake falls, after giving up on it cause the roads were closed….​ Don’t know why though. On the way back from Cape Hedo we noticed it was back open. The sun was starting to set so we quickly jetted down the road so we could get back before we lost the light.

  21. As of today, the road to get up there is blocked off (closed). The one that you turn on right after the bridge. I’m guessing from the 47″ of rain we just had from the typhoon 1 1/2 weeks ago. We went past it to the next road trying to find a way in but couldn’t due to the fact that many of the roads leading that direction were completely covered in debis and mud. So, as of right now, no falls to enjoy…. We did continue to the tip of the island and enjoy the sights of Cape Hedo.

  22. I went with my 5yr old and carried my 2yr old in a hiking back pack, it was amazing, peaceful and beautiful. The only question I had was when we got to the falls we saw the locals playing with the rocks and making mud on them and then putting them on their skin. I followed suite and so did the kids but I was wondering if anyone knew what and if it has any significance. I do recommend bringing a light lunch at the end, it’s nice to sit and watch the waterfall while eating a light snack or lunch.

    • How was it carrying your 2 year old? We went without kids and if I remember it was really deep in some areas where we had no choice but to swim. We didn’t really look for other ways around in those areas because we had no need to do that. But I would really like to take my 2 children (1 1/2 & 2 1/2). I just need some info so i can convince my hubby we can do it. 🙂

  23. I went to the falls today with some guys from my shop and just wanted to say it was fun!!! I also wanted to say that if you can make it up to the top of the water fall…instead of going back down to the bottom if you go around the bend for another 10-15 minutes there is another fall that is a little smaller but way more quaint and alot more peaceful!!!

    hope you enjoy the falls….oh and just for those with small kids i dont recommend it as it is a rough hike to the falls!

  24. My husband and I and his single buddy just went today and it was amazing! We are all outdoor people and the hike was a nice change of pace from the beach. We had a blast swimming in the pools and hiking around. We hiked up behind the waterfall and headed towards the second one but had to turn around so it didn’t get dark on us.
    I saw banana spiders everywhere and that scared me but no snakes.
    We are definately going back and bringing more friends. This place rocks!!!

  25. We took our dogs and they did fine. There were some challenging parts, but overall they really enjoyed it and I would take them again.

  26. There is no one there to stop you from taking your dogs. Once you park, you are on your own to do as you please 🙂 And yes, it is safe to take your expensive camera. I actually ran into a guy that shoots for combat camera out there with his big ol’ camera, so I’m assuming you’d be fine too 🙂

  27. The mileage figures for the turn after the bridge are pretty good… it’s a curving bridge on the edge of the ocean, and the little decorative endcaps are on the North end (far end).
    After you make the turn there are two “Y”‘s in the road: first one, stay left; second one, stay right down the littlest road.

    You can make it to the falls with only getting your feet wet if there has been no recent rains. Lots of rocks to cross back’n’forth as needed. And some areas, there are some small rope trails to climb up and around the deep water fords. I saw a five year old do it with his partents along with some “portly” lady friends… so this is do-able by anyone.

    Now, if you want to climb the trailhead up to the top of the falls… I would only recommend that for teenagers and above, and only for fit adults… it’s steep, treacherous and if you tripped, it would be an injury of some sort or worse.

    Overall, about 20 minutes to go from the parking lot to the falls, and another 15 minutes up the steep trails to the top of the falls.

    Do this instead of Hiji falls!!!! You’ll enjoy a real waterfall, and get a great hike out of it, too. (And save 500Yen per person).

  28. you have to go all the way to the end of the xpressway and thru nago — it’s on the Northern side of Nago — the bridge is the second bridge (I think; just know it’s not the first one) — there are Lotus Hats (like the ladies wear at Gysukendo Caves – that’s what the author is referring to as “hearts”
    I went with a group of 5-10yr olds; no one had a hard time; we parents did worry, but everyone was fine. It was beautiful…better than Hiji, in my opinion, as the kids could walk up along the wall and get under the fall itself. Definitely a must-see/do!

  29. Can anyone give specfic driving info from Kadena? I tried looking this up on Google and couldnt quite find Yagachi; I did find a Yaguji however…

  30. I’ve been twice and both times had a blast. Both times were right around this time of year – one New Year Day and the other a day or two before. It’s a bit cold, but if you have a change of footwear in the car (and possibly pants) it’s more than bearable while you’re there. Be forewarned, for anyone who cares to go that time of year. I’m not sure of all the details, but both times I’ve gone, there have been participants in a Japanese bathing ritual. This last time it was just one guy who changed into a karate uniform and stood under the waterfall for about 15 minutes, but last time it was a group of 15 or so high school/college boys in various states of near nakedness (loincloths, small towels, etc.) running to immerse themselves in the falls. Someone explained to me that it was related to a priestly purification ceremony and I believe that it is only performed around New Years. Just wanted to pass along a heads up!

  31. Fun trip I took my 6 month old with me in her bjorn. Its about a 20/30 min hike up a stream with 2 or 3 semi tough obstacles. The falls were great, way better than hiji. The water is spring water so if you don’t know its about 72 degrees year round. Definitely wear some kind of shoe not sandal. Enjoy.

  32. Thanks so much for the info! We totally enjoyed ourselves. No, you do not need to be in extreme physical shape, and the pillars are barely three feet tall, not six! We didn’t see any snakes. My 7yr had a blast and didn’t complain one bit about the hike, in fact, he wanted to stay all day. As you travel down the road after making the right off 58, keep in mind that you’re following the river you just crossed (the bridge) and try to stay right as the road curves and twists. We strayed off the road to the left thinking it the main road, but we only started to climb in elevation. We turned around and stayed to the right, which eventually led us there. Pack a light lunch and wear something you can get wet in but padded enough if you should slip! Surprisingly, the river rock wasn’t all that slippery, but tread on your shoes is a great idea. We will be visiting again soon!

  33. This above page said that they don’t recommend this for children under 10. We saw a group of 20 Japanese children supervised by 6 adults. We asked the age and they said they were 5 years old. We followed them back from the falls. They needed a little guidance but the 5 years olds did great.

  34. Went there today and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the post! i would just add to the directions that we found it only 6.3 kms to Henan Bridge. And the “main road” does veer right. If you go up and on a 2 lane road, you went the wrong way. The road you need is to the right and one lane only. And it took us about 1 1/2 hours from Kadena on a Wednesday afternoon. Faster on the expressway. ENJOY!

  35. Actually the correct name of the falls is “Taa” so would be: “Taa falls” or “Taa daki” in Japanese. Amazing place!

  36. AWESOME hike! I had so much fun. I wore my felt bottomed SCUBA booties so I had traction for slippery surfaces. I highly recommend this! It was definitely my favorite hike on Okinawa. The waterfall is better than both Hiji and Aha.

  37. I went with a few friends this past Saturday and had a blast! I actually trekked the entire thing in flip-flops, although next time I will definitely wear sneakers or a more sturdy type of sandal.
    I personally didn’t think the walk was that difficult, and I have nearly no hiking experience. The worst part is navigating your way through the rocks, but with sturdy shoes, I think that would be easier. The fall at the end was beautiful.

  38. THANK YOU for the tip on this hike. It was incredible!

    I have a couple of things to add, first WEAR A SWIMSUIT. Second, when you are driving on the road and trying to stay on the “main road” beware, the main road stays to the right almost the entire way, so do not bite off on any of the larger looking roads thinking that they are the main ones.

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