Immerse yourself in the energy and magnificent nature of Takachiho, a town with ancient myths and legends

Takachiho is a town known as the origin of many of the myths that have been passed down among the Japanese. Surrounded by great nature, it is popular as a tourist destination where people feel inspired by the magical energy.

Takachiho is located in the northern part of Miyazaki Prefecture in the Kyushu region. Known as a “town of mythology,” Takachiho has many mythology-related places as well as many shrines where different gods are enshrined, both of which are mentioned in Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, which are the oldest extant history books in Japan. The town is also famous as a spiritual spot perfect for relaxation and recharging one’s energy. In this article, we would like to introduce three must-see spots out of all the captivating places the town has to offer!

The first one is Takachiho Gorge. The gorge was formed in ancient times due to volcanic activity of Mt. Aso, and it has been designated as Japan’s beautiful scenic place and natural monument under the name of Gokasegawa Gorge. There is a trail of about 1 km, so you can take a walk while enjoying the impressive view of the gorge up close. Cliffs run for about 7 km along the gorge, with the average height of 80 m and the highest point at 100 m, and the view is just breathtaking.

This is a famous photo spot called “Takachiho 3 bridges” along the trail. A place like this is very rare, as you can see three types of arch bridge at once.

Another must-see place is Manai Waterfall, which has been designated as one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls. According to the myth, its water comes from Amanomanai, where a god named “Ame no Murakumo no Mikoto” planted a seed of water because there was no water in this land.

Renting a boat is a great way to get a close-up view of Manai Waterfall.If you are interested, do not forget to make reservations in advance.

It is the symbol of Takachiho Gorge and the sight of it falling from a height of about 17 meters to the surface of the water is breathtaking.

The second one is Takachiho Shrine. This historic shrine was built about 1900 years ago, and the main hall and the “komainu” (guardian dog) statues have been designated as Japan’s important cultural properties. The shrine is said to bring good luck for finding a wonderful partner and for a happy married life. Make sure to visit there if you are interested.

Another thing that you shouldn’t miss out on at the shrine is Takachiho Kagura. “Kagura” is a type of singing and dancing dedicated to gods, and it is usually performed at shrine festivals. At Takachiho Shrine, kagura is performed every night from 8 p.m. You can either purchase an admission pass online in advance or at the shrine on the day of the performance. Check out Takachiho Tourist Association’s website for details!

The authentic performance by local kagura dancers from different districts is very entertaining.

The third one is Amanoyasukawara. It is the place where Amano Iwato Shinwa (meaning “the myth of Amano-Iwato”), which was included in both Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, was set. You can get there by walking along the Iwato River for about 10 minutes from Amanoiwato Shrine’s West Building, which has been used as a place for passing down the myth.

Amano Iwato Shinwa is one of the well-known myths in Japan. According to the myth, Amaterasu Omikami, the god of the sun, got infuriated by the violence of her younger brother, Susanoo-no-Mikoto, and hid herself in a cave called “Amano Iwato.” As a result, the world was engulfed in darkness, leading to all sorts of calamities. It is said that countless deities gathered to discuss the situation, held a party in front of Amano Iwato, succeeded in enticing Amaterasu Omikami out of the cave, and the world got its light back. The place, which is said to be the very site of the deities’ party, is what it is called Amanoyasukawara.

The town of Takachiho offers tours using local buses and taxies so that tourists can get around the town easily. Also, the town’s official website is translated in English and Chinese, so make sure to check it before visiting.

Why don't you visit the mysterious and fantastic origins of Japan and experience the essence of Japanese culture in the town of Takachiho?

■DATA ▼Takachiho Gorge Address: Mitai Oshioi, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki Pref. Tel: 0982-73-1213 ▼Takachiho Shrine Address: 1037 Mitarai, Oaza, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki Pref. Tel: 0982-72-2413 ▼Amanoyasukawara Address: Iwato, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki Tel: 0982-74-8239 ▼Official website: https://takachiho-kanko.info/en/

(Information as of January 2024.)

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