Even though I always forget about it, Naena Falls is one of my favorite places nearby. It was one of the first places I adventured to by myself when I arrived in Nagano!
It is located just over the boarder in Niigata Prefecture and is super easy to access. There’s a large parking lot, and the short trail (400 meters), other than the stairs next to the dam, is mostly flat. Just be sure to wear shoes you’re comfortable with getting dirty, as the trail can be muddy.
It is on the list of 100 most beautiful waterfalls in Japan, and it has a very unique shape.
It’s also nicknamed “Earthquake Falls” because of the loud sound the water makes as it crashes down onto the rocks below.
If you want to visit this waterfall, it is best to go early! The easy accessibility means it is a prime location for large tour groups. My rule of thumb is to get to busy places before 10; that way I miss most of the crowds, or I run into them on the way back. It is also inaccessible by car in winter. I imagine you could snowshoe to it or something, but I’m not sure if even that is possible. Maybe I’ll try next winter!