Japan is a country full of the best of what nature has to offer, including some of the most amazing waterfalls in the world. Yamagata Prefecture has the most waterfalls of any prefecture in Japan, and of them the tallest is Tamasudare Falls in Sakata city.
Accessible year round and a simple 10 minute walk
from its parking lot.
Free and illuminated during certain times of the year!
About a 40 minute drive from Sakata Station.
A taxi or rental car is needed to reach here.
See available rental car options here.
- Recommended length of visit 1-2 hours
- A car is highly recommended to access this location.
-Snow shoes or boots are needed during the winter.
-Beautiful throughout the four seasons.
Tamasudare during the Winter
Tamasudare during the Summer
The cliff face of Tamasudare is thought to have been formed roughly 15 million years ago when the entirety of the Shonai region lay beneath the ocean. Its dark volcanic rocks are the result of lava that cooled and hardened in the ocean. A large vertical fissure that formed during this time is still visible directly behind the waterfall during certain times of the year.
Tamasudare is located in Masuda, a township tucked in a valley surrounded by mountains located about 20km to the east of the Sakata city centre.
It was first named by Kobo Daishi, a buddhist monk over 1,200 years ago and it is said that a buddhist statue is hidden behind the endless torrent of water against the cliff. Mitake Shrine is also located in front of the falls as this site was once a site for religious trials.
The Surrounding Area
The view of Chokai from Tamasudare in the Fall
Tamasudare Falls is located near the base of Mt. Chokai and is fed by the many mountains surrounding it. Its an area surrounded by rice fields, cedar forests, and rivers that make for a relaxing drive through nature of Masuda.
As this is area is located in the mountains, it also sees a significant amount of snow fall. During this time, the mountains and forests are covered in snow well into Spring and make for a beautiful sight to enjoy.
Note that there are no stores or restaurants are extremely sparse in this area.
The snowy mountains of Masuda
From the parking lot, there is a short 10-15 minute walk to Tamasudare that cuts through a beautiful small park with two paths. One is a paved cement path and the other is a short forested path leading up to the Mitake Shrine.
Along the forested path there is also a large wishing bolder. Travelers hit the rock the number of their age in hopes of receiving a wish. The dents from this are visible on the face of the rock.
A map showing the short walk to the waterfall
This area is also a fantastic cherry blossom viewing spot!
Its sheltered in between two mountains from wind and storms. As a result, sakura can be enjoyed here long after the rest of the region has already lost its flowers.
Some of the sakura in late spring
At the end of both trails is the Mitake Shrine where you can cleanse your hands and make an offering if you wish before proceeding to Tamasudare falls. At this point, the roar of the falls begins to deafen out any other noise.
Mitake Shrine during the Winter
Tamasudare during the winter
Tamasudare Falls lies at the end of this small valley. It is surrounded by towering cedar trees and features a massive black rock face with a 63 meter drop.
You can admire Tamasudare from afar or walk right up to the base where you are sprayed by blasting air and mist from the force of the falling water. The strength of the falls is at its highest in mid-spring from the torrent of melting snow.
Tamasudare during the fall (at its weakest)
Each season offers a unique view of the falls and during the coldest months of January and February, Tamasudare actually becomes an ice fall with water freezing in the air.
Tamasudare is certainly a must-see for anyone vising the Shonai region.
Tamasudare is free to enter.
The parking lot also has bathrooms and a gift shop with a small food vendor.
Besides winter, it is very easy to drive to and is a easy walk to the falls.
Tamasudare is sometimes difficult to access after heavy snow fall. Snow shoes or boots are also recommended.
Stick to the main roads. Google maps may direct you on "faster" routes on smaller roads that are not cleared during the winter.
See available rental car options here.
A snow sweeper clearing the roads
〒999-8201 Yamagata Prefecture, Sakata, Masuda, 52−1
You might also like:
The Nakajimadai Wetlands in the Mt. Chokai Geopark
Hiking Mt. Chokai
The 16 Statues of Buddha in Yuza