Enzymatic hydrolysis of nucleotide triphosphate (NTP) plays a pivotal role in protein functions. In spite of its biological significance, however, the chemistry of the hydrolysis catalysis remains obscure because of the complex nature of the reaction. Here we report a study of the molecular mechanism of hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in F(1)-ATPase, an ATP-driven rotary motor protein. Molecular simulations predicted and single-molecule observation experiments verified that the rate-determining step (RDS) is proton transfer (PT) from the lytic water molecule, which is strongly activated by a metaphosphate generated by a preceding P(γ)-O(β) bond dissociation (POD). Catalysis of the POD that triggers the chain activation of the PT is fulfilled by hydrogen bonds between Walker motif A and an arginine finger, which commonly exist in many NTPases. The reaction mechanism unveiled here indicates that the protein can regulate the enzymatic activity for the function in both the POD and PT steps despite the fact that the RDS is the PT step.