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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

A land of river gorges, canyons, bawdy dance performances and mythical shrines

Best known for the famous Takachiho Gorge and its connections to Japan's first gods and goddesses, Takachiho in Miyazaki Prefecture offers visitors an awesome blend of natural beauty and cultural inspiration.

Don't Miss

  • Rowing a boat down Takachiho Gorge
  • Kagura dance performances at Takachiho Shrine
  • Visiting Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine, an ancient shrine inside a cave

How to Get There

Takachiho is not easily accessible by public transportation. The best ways to visit are by car or by bus.

Takachiho is 140 kilometers from Miyazaki City and takes about two-and-a-half hours. Get onto the Higashi Kyushu Expressway (Miyazaki Route), and head north towards Nobeoka. After about 90 kilometers, take the exit toward Kumamoto just after Kadogawa IC. Route 10 will become Route 218. Stay on Route 218 for 25 kilometers, and then follow the signs for Takachiho.

The beauty of Takachiho Gorge

Known for its crystal-clear mountain waters, Takachiho Gorge is the pride of the area. Takachiko Gorge was formed over 100,000 years ago as a result of volcanic activity nearby. Visitors can take a rowboat through the canyon and see the Minainotaki waterfall up close. Alternatively, you can view Takachiho Gorge from above along a paved path that runs along the gorge.

Near the southern end of Takachiho Gorge are souvenir shops and a small aquarium. The gorge is illuminated until 10 p.m. during the warmer months.

Celebrating Japanese legends

Takachiho is the site of one of the most famous stories in Shinto mythology. According to legend, the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu was so angry that she hid in a cave in Takachiho, and the world was plunged into darkness. Other gods and goddesses gathered nearby, but could not convince her to come out of the cave. As the gods and goddesses waited, one goddess performed a provocative dance that made everyone laugh. Hearing the laughter, Amaterasu came out to see what all the commotion was about, bringing her light back to the Earth.

It is this story that the town celebrates. The legend is reenacted in a performance called Yokagura, or night dances. Yokagura is made up of a series of 33 episodes and takes place on Saturday evenings from mid-November to mid-February.

Performances at Takachiho Shrine

Located near the center of the town of Takachiho, Takachiho-jinja Shrine was built over 1,200 years ago on this sacred ground. Here, locals perform an abridged version of the Yokagura every night. The show starts at 8 p.m. and costs 700 yen per person.

Also on the premises are two giant trees with their trunks fused together. Called the "Couple Cedar", superstition says your descendants will prosper if you walk around these trees three times while holding the hand of a partner.

Other shrines to see

Nearby, you can visit Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine . Just behind Takachiho Shrine along the river is the cave where the sun goddess Amaterasu hid.

Futagami-jinja Shrine, just slightly southwest of Takachiho Gorge, was built for Izanagi and Izanami. Known for their marital bliss, the myth says this celestial couple created the Japan archipelago.

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