Trek to a sacred Japanese waterfallDogo Island, Japan
Tucked deep in the lush forest of Tsuma on the Shimane Island of Dogojima, you’ll discover the Dangyo Waterfall or, as the locals call it, Dangyo-no-taki. Flowing off the rocky cliff faces are two sacred falls: Odaki to the right is considered ‘male’ and Medaki to the left is the ‘female’. Sumo wrestlers, as well as the owners of bulls who compete in ushi-zumo (bull sumo), often perform purification rituals at the waterfall before a competition.
Dangyo Shrine sits behind the waterfalls, curtained by a cloud of mist. At the base of the falls you’ll find a stairway that curls behind them and leads to the shrine entrance. Here there’s a cliff that is the perfect place to view the tranquil surrounds, soundtracked by roaring water. It’s the embodiment of Japanese Shinto spirituality at its most pure.
This part of the country is virtually unaffected by the environmental impacts of man, and the spring water that flows through the mountains is so clean you can drink it. As a way to keep the site pristine, access to the waterfall is only for the ambitious few who are willing to make the journey there. Public transport doesn’t reach the site, but it is accessible by foot, bike or car. While it isn’t particularly easy to reach, the reward of experiencing Dangyo-no-taki far outweighs the work of getting there.
Dangyo-no-taki is 50 minutes by car from Saigo Port. There is also a sightseeing bus tour, but the commentary is in Japanese only.
It’s free to visit Dangyo Waterfall, although you might want to take some 10 yen coins to place in the shrine’s donation box.