Akame 48 Waterfalls

Another blue-skied autumn day. I was up early and decided to get some fresh air.

An hour on the Kintetsu train from Namba to Akameguchi followed by a short bus ride brought me to Akamedaki, just across the border into Mie prefecture. It’s famous for its hiking trail dubbed “48 Waterfalls” (赤目四十八滝 akame shiju-hattaki) although there aren’t half as many as that — more like just a dozen or so. But it is a very pleasant hike, and I managed to get a lot of pictures (see footnote* below). The path follows a meandering stream studded with moss-covered boulders and flanked by tall trees. It is about three kilometres long, gently climbing through the Taki-gawa valley alongside a tributary of the Nabari river.

From the bus stop a short walk past a row of five or six restaurants and souvenir shops brings you to a salamander centre, which also serves as the entrance to the trail. Amphibians from all over the world can be found on display here, alongside the giant salamanders that call the Taki-gawa valley home.

The first waterfall greeted me shortly after starting the hike, past a bend in the stream. It and many others that follow are just textbook waterfall shots (like the one above) — all you need is a tripod and an accurate exposure at a shutter speed of 1/2 or 1/3 seconds. For me the most exciting shots were around some small rapids on a flat part near the end of the hike, where white water swirls around moss-covered rocks. Nature is on your side, as there are many convenient spots to set up your tripod.

Nature also rewards you for not giving up. The farther you go, the more shots there are, the best being towards the end of the path. Sure, the large waterfalls are nice shots, but they are almost cliche. Looking around carefully you can see many other things to photograph, like the aforementioned rapids. I almost made it to the the end of the path (where there was a magnificent waterfall, apparently) but decided to turn around because I had spent way too long meandering along the rapids. The last bus was leaving at 4:10pm and I had to rush back down to make it.

The Akame Shiju-Hattake falls was a welcome reprieve from Osaka. As I rode back on the train I recalled how struck I was by the thick green vegetation that never let up for the entire way, and how the sound of birds gave way to the roar of rushing water as I walked upstream. The most indelible impression was how autumn had just begun to make its mark on the surrounding forest. At times a gust of wind would loosen the branches and a swirl of red and yellow leaves floated in the air before landing in the water. A touch of magic to ease the swirl here in Osaka.

Below are 20 photos in a carousel gallery (click on one to open).

All pictures were taken with a Nikon D80, 80-200mm VR lens, and a tripod.

Added 10 August, 2007:
More photos at a later blog entry, Return to Akame Waterfalls.


Click here for access information to Akame 48 Waterfalls.


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