About Takachiho(in English)
Takachiho town in Miyazaki Prefecture is on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan, and is located on the borders of Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It has a spectacular gorge with waterfalls and volcanic rock formations. You can walk along the gorge, a 20- minute stroll (with lots of steps). There are also rowing boats for hire.. You can enjoy great views of the town, nestled amongst the mountains, from the Kunimigaoka viewing point. (a mountain, accessible by car, just outside of the town centre with a little tourist shop and restrooms.) This tourist spot celebrates Takachiho’s mythological roots as the founding place of Japan with 3 enormous statues of mythological gods.
The many shrines in Takachiho ought not to be missed. The main Takachiho Shrine, a 15-minute walk up from the gorge has many old trees and also hosts the nightly Yokagura dancing for tourists. The Amano-Iwato Shrine in the Iwato village area of Takachiho has a wonderful walk down into a gorge and along to the cave where Amaterasu sun goddess was said to have hidden. This beautiful and mysterious place has thousands of little rock towers which visitors have made as offerings to the gods, hoping for good luck.
For hikers and the more adventurous there is Mt Sobo, on the outskirts of Takachiho, close to the Oita prefectural border.
Takachiho has a total area of approximately 237km2 and a population of 14,600 people who live in a set of villages, nestled in the mountain valleys, which make up the town of Takachiho.
The Yokagura dancing is perhaps one of Takachiho’s most popular attractions and the set of 33 dances have become a designated cultural asset. The dances traditionally take place between November and February. Starting at the end of the afternoon and continuing on to the next morning, the 33 dances are performed by villagers, the techniques passed on from generation to generation. The dances are the villagers way of saying thank you to the Gods for a good harvest and to make sure the Gods look after them through the long cold Takachiho winter.
Takachiho is steeped in mythology and it is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. There are many traditional Japanese inns to suit any budget from the backpacker to the top of the range traveler. You can sample the local specialities of prize-winning, succulent beef, mushrooms harvested in the forests, wild vegetables tempura and local buckwheat noodles at the varied restaurants and in your hotel. Be sure to try out the local shochu. Takachiho’s crystal clear mountain springs are essential in the production of vodka-like drink. It comes in many varieties and strengths, "Kurouma-shochu" factory on the way to "Amanoiwato-Shrine" has a shop and shochu-tasting facilities.