Locally, this waterfall had long been known simply as Taaaki. However, to commemorate the Taiyou Kokutai of 1972 (the 27th National Sports Festival, which was held in Kagoshima City), this waterfall was renamed Nunobiki no Taki.
During WWII, residents of Issou evacuated to the upper reaches of this waterfall as a precaution against air raids. To this day, bits of the stone walls that enclosed wartime crop fields and gardens can still be seen in the area.
Kyouseki, or stones engraved with Buddhist sutras, have been found in the plunge basin of this waterfall. It is thought that they are remnants of the days when Yakushima was used as a southern port of call for the Japanese envoy to the Tang Dynasty of China, from 618–907 CE. Perhaps the Buddhist priest among the ship’s crew used them in his prayers for safe passage across the waters.
A 753 (Tenpyō-hōsei 5) visit to Yakushima by Kanjin, a Tang Dynasty monk of the Risshū school of Buddhism, and Kibi no Makibi, the then–Japanese envoy to China, is recorded in Shoku Nihongi (“Chronicle of Japan”), an imperially-commissioned historical text completed in 797. However, at which of Yakushima’s ports precisely this visit took place remains unknown.