Every year, Nanataki Falls in Hachimantai freezes to form a gargantuan ice falls. People from all over Iwate make the 2.5km trek through the snowy forest to see this breathtaking natural creation.
This winter has been colder than the last few years, and we’re getting lots of snow. So I decided to go explore the area around Nanantaki Falls and check the progress of the waterfall on January 3rd, despite the fact that it usually doesn’t freeze until the end of the month – so most people go in early February.
The hike starts at a campground in the Iwate Prefectural Forest. During the winter you’ll have to park in the Iwate Prefectural Citizen’s Forest Forestry Museum lot. (Yes, that’s a mouthful!)
The hike is mostly flat, though there’s a slight climb as you approach Mt. Iwate. (This is in fact the first 2.4km of the hike toward Mt. Iwate via the Nanantaki Trail.) You’ll definitely want to rent snowshoes, which you can do at the aforementioned Forestry Museum or at the nearby Hachimantai Mountain Hotel.
It takes somewhere between 40 minutes and an hour to reach the waterfall, and slightly less for the return trip given the gentle slope down. It’s a really peaceful walk through the forest with such a great payoff at the end. If you’re here anytime in January or February, I cannot recommend this hike enough.
Better still- if you aren’t confident going alone- go with one of the various English guided hikes that you can find here! Feel free to contact us through this page if you want more information on that!
When we went on January 3rd – the waterfall was already completely frozen and the views couldn’t have been better!