Spiritual and Natural
This mountain village, southeast of the mighty Mount Aso, is known for Japanese legends and its beautiful ravines.
Hidden between the mountains of Atago, Ueno, and Shojanziyama, Takachiho rewards the deserving traveler who made the drive from Aso or Beppu.
In the village, explanatory signs (in English) provide information on the glorious origins of the village. According to the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki - legendary tales of the creation of Japan by the gods - it is here that one of the most famous tales in Japanese mythology took place: Amaterasu fled into a cave after an argument with her brother, plunging the world into darkness... (Amaterasu is the sun goddess, celebrated at Ise shrine) This led to the creation of the kagura dance, practiced by the kami (gods) to lure her out.
Visiting the legendary cave (Amano Iwato, below the shrine of the same name) has been one of the local tourist high points, along with hiking and diving, since ancient times. At Takachiho Jinja shrine (in the village center), the inhabitants of the village, attached to their old traditions, still practice kagura dancing today.
Takachiho is also a place of amazing natural beauty, crossed by volcanic gorges through which flows the Gokase River. At Kuminigaoka (10 minutes by bus or taxi from the city center), enthusiasts flock to admire the view of the "sea of clouds" (unkai, 雲海) visible from the summit to the bottom where the clouds cling.
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