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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

History

Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine 天岩戸神社

A shrine and cave full of myth, and dances to the gods

Situated in the Takachiho area of Kyushu in Miyazaki Prefecture, Amano Iwato Shrine is dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu, and primarily known for the thousands of small stone pillars or stupas on the path from the shrine to the river.

Legend says that the nearby cave, called Amano Yasukawara, is where Amaterasu hid while upset, keeping her light away from the world until another female deity performed a lewd dance that made the other gods laugh so hard that Amaterasu emerged to find out why.

Don't Miss

  • Taking a tour of the cave where Amaterasu sulked
  • The stone piles along the river that lead to a "power spot"

How to Get There

The shrine is about 10 to 15 minutes from central Takachiho by car, bus or taxi.

There's a bus from Takachiho Bus Center about once an hour. Amano Yasukawara cave is a 10-minute walk from Amano Iwato Shrine.

Gaze across the river deep into Japanese legend

The main buildings of Amano Iwato Shrine are actually located on the opposite side of the Iwato River, across from the famous cave and shrine gate. There is an observation deck by the river, just below the shrine, that you can use to get a great view into the cave.

The river, the stone towers and the heavenly cave

Inquire at the main shrine entrance and you'll be able to arrange a guided tour ,in Japanese, with a priest. He'll take you down a little path to the river, which is lined with small stone towers to mark this sacred power spot.

The further you go along the path, the more numerous these little stupas become until they seem to be everywhere. You'll then arrive at Amano Yasukawara, and enter the cave of the goddess with your guide.

Venturing further out in the Takachiho area

Combine a tour of the shrine and cave with a visit to Takachiho Gorge, where you can row through some of the most spectacular scenery in Japan, especially during the fall and hike along the ridge above the gorge and river.

A kagura festival is held from November through to February in Takachiho, where the locals dance to pray for a good harvest, ward off the devil, and invite deities to a building called Kagurayado. Thirty-three dances are performed through the night.

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