Onbara Falls is a bit of a hidden gem just outside the town of Beppu in Oita Prefecture of Kyushu, Japan. Beppu is one of the most famous Onsen towns in Japan and even the world. However, amidst all of the hot springs and Onsens are some truly epic waterfalls and Onbara Falls is up there with the most beautiful and most accessible.
HOW TO GET TO ONBARA FALLS
If you are visiting Onbara Falls it’s most likely you will be based in the town of Beppu. From here you will need to drive or take a bus up the winding road into the mountains. On the way, you will pass the Beppu Ropeway parking lot. The Google Maps pin location below is accurate and there is a parking lot. There aren’t really any signs but the parking lot is just before the river (which leads to the falls). The parking lot is right under the huge bridge so it’s not hard to find and I’ve added a photo of it below for your reference.
ONBARA FALLS MAP
MY EXPERIENCE AT ONBARA FALLS
After finding the parking lot we headed off intending to follow the river. I knew it was just 800m along the river until we would reach the falls. I quickly learned that it was best to follow the trail on the right-hand side of the river. There is a small sign that marks the start of the trail here.
The trail is short and well-defined with a dirt/rock path leading you up to the falls. With the morning sun shining through it was actually a beautiful little walk.
When we reached the falls, I was actually a bit confused. From the first sight of the waterfall, you can’t actually see the main falls. You can just see the trickles that are coming down the side. I assumed that it needed more rain like can often be the case. I took some photos and was almost ready to leave until I decided to explore right up to the base of the falls. It was then that I realized the main waterfall is tucked around the corner on the right.
Now that I had locked eyes on the main waterfall I was truly impressed. There was no-one else on the trail at all so we were able to hang out here and enjoy Onbara Falls in all its beauty with some peace and quiet. There is a stone statue atop one of the large rocks and amazing vines, trees, and plants scattered all throughout the waterfall area and the hike itself. It’s a very wild spot given that it is just 800m from the road.
What are my favorite pieces of hiking gear?
There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a hike. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my hiking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU
Best Luxury Place to Stay in Fukuoka: Hotel WBF Grande Hakata (Value): This is by far the most popular hotel and one of the most luxurious in Fukuoka.
Best Value Place to Stay in Kumamoto: Hotel The Gate Kumamoto (Value): Hotel The Gate is a well-situated accommodation in the heart of Kumamoto, just across the train station and walking distance to shops and restaurants.
Best Luxury Place to Stay in Kumamoto: Kumamoto Hotel Castle (Luxury): Set near the infamous Kumamoto Castle, this luxury hotel features a wide range of carpeted rooms from standard rooms to suites fitted with plush amenities.
For a full list of the top-rated places to stay in Kyushu, you can check out my comprehensive guide: WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU: BEST REGIONS & HOTELS
ARE YOU FOLLOWING MY KYUSHU BLOG SERIES?
I spent over three weeks exploring Kyushu and visited some incredible waterfalls, hiked some amazing trails, and visited a number of epic volcanoes. I created a number of guides to help travelers find the best spots in Kyushu. You can explore the articles by clicking on the links below.
- The Ultimate Kyushu Bucketlist: 30 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN KYUSHU
- The best places to stay in Kyushu in each region: WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU: BEST REGIONS & HOTELS
- How to plan your Kyushu vacation: THE ULTIMATE KYUSHU ITINERARY: 5-DAY, 7-DAY & 10-DAY
- Interested in chasing waterfalls?: 12 AWESOME WATERFALLS IN KYUSHU
- Keen for some epic hiking?: 11 AWESOME HIKES IN KYUSHU
- Everything you need to know about Oita: 11 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN OITA
- Your Ultimate Guide to Kumamoto: 13 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN KUMAMOTO
- My favorite waterfall in Kyushu: TAKACHIHO GORGE – MOST BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL IN JAPAN