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Observe Ceremonial Dances in a Shinto Wonderland


Immerse yourself in Japanese Shinto mythology in the anciently beautiful Takachiho Gorge


Shinto, the indigenous Japanese religion, is still ingrained in many modern traditions. Throughout the country, you can find gorgeous shrines, from the lavish to the simple, dedicated to spirits found in nature. The stunning Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki Prefecture was formed by lava flows from Mt. Aso   and is an area brimming with spiritual Shinto sites. While you are there, visit Takachiho Shrine, which boasts nearly two millennia of history, to watch an abridged version of the ancient Takachiho-no-Yokagura dances.

Takachiho-no-Yokagura translates as the “Night Shinto dances of Takachiho,” and are usually performed as ceremonial dances for a local god in the wintertime. However, performances are hosted at Takachiho Shrine throughout the year, so tourists and local residents can enjoy them no matter the season.



The four dances in the performance portray legendary episodes of Japanese mythology. In one, watch as dancers portraying Izanagi and Izanami, the husband and wife gods who created the Japanese islands according to Shinto legend, gracefully move around the space, expressing their happiness in marriage and blessings for bountiful harvests. A well-known dance depicts the tale of the sun goddess Amaterasu, infuriated at her brother, hiding herself away in a cave. This plunges the entire world into darkness, and a party of other gods work together to coax her out again. Local residents say that this very cave is located nearby in Takachiho, so be sure to visit it before or after the show as you explore the beauty of the gorge. 

Access:  Take the Shinkansen bullet train from Hakata Station to Kumamoto Station (about 1 hour). Then take the bus from Kumamoto Station to Miyako Bus Center (about 3 hours).



Contribution to Sustainability

Visitors can help preserve an ancient Shinto ritual dedicated to the local god of each village which has been passed down for over 800 years while appreciating it themselves. A piece of the revenue from each performance is passed on to the historical society, who uses that money to promote Takachiho-no-Yokagura and fund its succession.


Takachiho Shrine Kagura-den Hall


1037 Mitai, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken


Approx. 1 hour or more




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