Travel Reports by scarreddragon view profile of scarreddragon

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August 30, 2015 - Southern Kyushu: Takachiho, Miyazaki

I visited the prefectures of Kagoshima, Kumamoto, and Miyazaki in a week-long vacation to Southern Kyushu. After spending the afternoon in Kumamoto visiting the castle, we continued driving east to Takachiho, Miyazaki.

Takachiho is famous for the legend of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, hiding herself in a cave because of the cruel pranks of her younger brother, and denying her light to the world.

The other gods and goddesses had a meeting to decide what to do to lure her out, but despite multiple attempts, Amaterasu wouldn't budge. It finally took the lewd dance of one goddess and the laughter of the rest of the lot to get her to peak her head out of the cave, whereby one of the gods threw the stone in front of her cave to Nagano and light was finally returned to the world.

Takachiho hosts both the cave Amaterasu hid in, and the cave the other gods and goddesses had a meeting in to decide what to do. We timed our arrival into town in order to check into our business hotel, eat dinner at a wonderful sushi place down the street, then head to Takachiho Shrine to see the nightly dances called Kagura, which depict the story.

There are 33 total dances, and each night about 4 are performed. I don't know if they perform the most popular parts of the story every night, or if they rotate through the entire set, but an explanation of each dance is handed out to the audience. We got to see the dance where the goddess Ameno-uzume performed her dance that made all the others laugh, drawing Amaterasu out of her cave, as well as Tajikarao taking the stone blocking the cave and throwing it to Nagano. We also saw Goshintai, when Izanagi and Izanami, the creator god and goddess of Japan, discovered sake and created Japan in their drunkenness.

Priest explaining the dances
Afterward, you could take pictures with Izanagi and Izanami

The next morning, we went to Takachiho Gorge to rent a rowboat and see the waterfall.

I suggest going early and brushing up on how to row before you go, because it was a huge mess with lots of boats and no one knowing how to row. My husband was pretty bad at it... we finally switched and I rowed toward the end!

Boat depot from the water
Waterfall, bridge, and gorge from the rowboat

The boat is for 30 minutes, just enough time to figure out how to row the thing, see the waterfall, and head back. Then we walked along the gorge after a fruit smoothie to take a few more pictures.

The gorge, waterfall, and boats from the path

It's a pretty short path, so we then headed back to Takachiho Shrine to see it in the daylight.

Very pretty and green!

And then from there to Amano Iwato Shrine to view the cave.

Tajikarao throwing the stone to Nagano
Giving a tour

So this shrine is interesting because it doesn't have a honden, the main area of the shrine where the sacred objects relating to the god or goddess enshrined are kept. For this shrine, the cave in which Amaterasu hid herself IS the honden.

If you ask, you can get a tour of the shrine and complex by a priest, and be led to the viewing platform where you can catch a sort-of glimpse of the cave where Amaterasu hid. You are blessed by the priest before entering the area, and pictures are strictly NOT ALLOWED! There is a short information sheet in English you are given at the start of the tour, but unless you've got a Japanese speaker with you it probably wont make much sense.

From there, you can walk down to visit the cave where the gods and goddesses met to discuss strategy.

The ema were interesting. This moth thought so too.
The cave and the many rock towers around it

My husband said it was creepy here, but I thought it was neat.

Takachiho took up the morning, but I expected to stay there longer than we did. After a snack we drove all the way back south to the Nichinan coast and Kitago Onsen, where we stayed the night and met a friend for dinner.

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List of Posts:
2016/04/24 - Mitsuhiko Imamori Paper Cut Works Exhibit in Takasaki
2015/11/19 - Shiobara Onsen, Tochigi
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Miyazaki City
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Nichinan Coast and Cape Toi
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Takachiho, Miyazaki
2015/08/27 - Southern Kyushu: Kumamoto Castle
2015/08/25 - Southern Kyushu: Ibusuki and Kirishima
2015/08/24 - Southern Kyushu: Kagoshima City, Kagoshima
2015/08/03 - Tambara Lavender Park
2015/07/13 - Event: Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium
2015/05/01 - Kanna-machi Koi-no-Bori Festival
2015/05/01 - Wisteria Festival in Fujioka
2014/11/15 - Sakurayama Koen: Fall Colors and Winter-blooming Cherry Blossoms
2014/11/15 - Ueno-mura Sky Bridge and Fall Colors
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 1: Gifu City and Gujo Caves
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 2: Gujo City and Shirakawa-go
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 3: Hida Takayama
2014/07/02 - Rainy Season around Tokyo: Hydrangea Flowers
2014/05/27 - Road Trip: Yamadera, Yamagata
2014/05/26 - Road Trip: Yonezawa, Yamagata
2014/05/19 - Roadtrip Fukushima's Ouchijuku
2014/05/16 - Roadtrip: Aizu-Wakamatsu
2014/04/30 - Climbing Gunma's Mt. Myogi
2014/03/09 - Flower Weekend 2: Tokyo Report
2014/03/09 - Flower Weekend 1: Gunma Plums
2013/10/30 - Onioshidashi Koen and Mt. Asama Part 1
2013/10/30 - Onioshidashi Koen and Mt. Asama Part 2
2013/10/30 - Cosmos and Mt. Myogi
2013/10/01 - Fall Flowers: Higanbana
2012/12/01 - Winter Cherry Blossoms at Joumine Kouen
2012/11/18 - Annual Coco Harvest Festival
2012/11/11 - Ueno Cat cafe ''Nekomaru''
2012/11/10 - Tokyo Design Festa vol.36 at Odaiba
2012/11/04 - Utsunomiya, Tochigi Gyoza Festival