[Takachiho, the Village of Mythology]

Takachiho is located in the northern part of Miyazaki Prefecture, almost in the center of the Kyushu Seiryo Mountains, a mountain range that straddles Kumamoto and Miyazaki Prefectures, and is said to be the “Village of Mythology” with many shrines dedicated to gods and places that are said to be the stage of Japanese mythology, which tells the story of the creation of Japan as recorded in the Kojiki and Nihonshoki. The day of our stay was a perfect day to enjoy the fog and light rain.

On the day of my stay, the entire town was enveloped in a fantastic atmosphere, partly because fog and light rain made the fresh greenery shine more beautifully.

Takachiho Gorge was designated as a national scenic beauty and natural monument in 1934. Manai Falls, one of the 100 most beautiful waterfalls in Japan, is located in the gorge and is the symbol of Takachiho Gorge.

Hearing that the time when light shines on the surface of the water through the gaps between the large rock walls and thick trees is a few hours before and after noon, we reserved a boat for rent. As we enjoyed the adventurous experience of rowing the boat through the gorge, avoiding the waterfalls, we were moved by the beauty of the natural formations, the spray of the waterfalls, and the sound of the water flowing in the silence.

Along with the Takachiho Gorge, you should also visit the Ama-no-Iwato Shrine and the Ama-no-Yasukawara. “Ama-no-Iwato” is the name of a cave that appears in the famous myth of Amaterasu, in which Amaterasu hides behind a rock door. It is said that the eight million deities gathered on this riverbank to discuss the possibility of having Amaterasu come out and shine the sun on a world that had become pitch-dark due to its hiding place. The countless stones piled up by people praying all over the area, each one containing a prayer, were so mysterious that it seemed as if they might be inhabited by 8 million deities and immediately start moving.

At tourist spots in Takachiho, you can listen to an audio guide that introduces the sights and myths of the town, and we saw many tourists from overseas as well, including Takachiho Shrine where you can see kagura (Shinto music and dance) performed every night of the year, and Kunimigaoka where you can trek to see the sea of clouds that occurs from late September to early December when the natural conditions are right. Takachiho also offers other special experiences, such as Kunimigaoka, where you can enjoy trekking to view the sea of clouds that occurs in late September and early December when natural conditions are just right. Takachiho is located in the mountains, so driving is recommended, but you can also take a train or highway bus from the airport. How about making Takachiho one of your travel destinations?

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