The spectacular steep walls of the Takachiho Gorge were formed by columnar jointing, due to the rapid cooling of an ancient lava flow that filled the narrow valley of the Gokase River after an eruption of the Mt. Aso volcano.
The Takachiho Gorge was designated a National Scenic and Natural Monument in November 10, 1934.
Boat Rental in the Takachiho Gorge
A boat ride is the best way to appreciate the Takachiho Gorge. The view from a boat directly up the 17-meter Manai Falls is truly thrilling.
Cost per boat: ¥2000 for 30 minutes
Boat capacity: 3 people per boat
Boat rental hours: 8:30 ~ 16:30 daily
We will close the reception early if waiting time arises.
Office hours: 8:30 ~ 17:00 daily
Suspension of rentals: Rarely, when rain causes the river level to rise.
(Extended Summer Hours)
Boat rental: 7:30 ~ 18:00
Office hours: 7:30 ~ 17:30
- The following actions are extremely dangerous on the boat and are strictly prohibited:
- Standing up ∙ A change of the person rowing. ∙ The consumption of alcohol ∙ Other reckless acts.
- Always put on the life jacket correctly before going on board the boat.
- It is dangerous for persons to board the boat after consuming alcohol and boarding may be refused in some cases.
- Only persons of junior high school age or older may row the boat.
- During boat use, the boat manager may decide to cease the boat operation if there is any danger posed to that boat operation, for example, by a natural disaster or other disaster.
- In the use of the boat, the manager will not be responsible for any accident that occurs as a result of the actions of those on board if the instructions of the manager have not been obeyed.
- Pets are not allowed on the boat.
- A life jacket must be worn whilst on the boat.
At 513 meters above sea level, Kunimigaoka offers panoramic views of the area. On cool, clear and windless autumn mornings, the view may become a "sea of clouds" blanketing the landscape beneath the summit.
The hilltop viewpoint has a one-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide to Japan.
With a history stretching back some 1800 years, Takachiho Shrine is the most important Shinto shrine in the area and enshrines the deities of the other 88 main local shrines.
The Main Hall and a pair of iron guardian dog statues in the shrine collection are designated as Important National Cultural Properties.
Dedicated to the deities Takachihosumegami and Jisshyadaimyoujin, Takachiho Shrine is widely believed to be an excellent site to pray for good harvests, lifting of bad luck, and marriage prospects.
Takachihosumegami is the joint name for three generations of a line of deities, also known as the Himuka or Hyuga Sandai. Jisshyadaimyoujin is a combination of ten different deities including Mikeirino-mikoto.
This shrine venerates the nearby site of the Amanoiwato or "holy rock cave" where, according to Japan's oldest chronicles, the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, the sun goddess Amaterasu hid herself when she was angered by the violence of her brother Susano-o.
On the opposite bank of the Iwato River is the Higashi Hongu or East Shrine, dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu.
A 10-minute walk along the Iwato River from the Amanoiwato West Shrine is the large cavern where, according to legend, the pantheon of all the gods and goddesses conferred on how to get the sun goddesss Amaterasu to come out of the rock cave and end the darkness of the world. The cavern is also called the Gyobogaiwa.
Originally there was only a shrine structure on the riverbank, but over the years many visiting pilgrims carried stones to the site and arranged them in piles The immense array of stone piles now standing on the Amayasu riverbank adds a mystical and fantastic aura to the site.
The shrine is on the Kushifuru summit where, according to legend, the first deity descended from the heavens to the Japanese islands.
In ancient times the Kushifuru summit itself was revered as an object of worship. The shrine was erected in 1694.
According to legend, this was the wedding and dwelling site of Sarutahiko and the goddess Amenouzumeno-mikoto, who guided Ninigino-mikoto during his descent from the heavens on the order of his grandmother Amaterasu. The shrine for their marriage ceremony was hurriedly built from rough logs, and this is the origin of the name Aratate, literally "rough built."
Takachiho Kagura Dance
Outside the official season for Takachiko yokagura, the ceremonial dance performance can still be enjoyed in the version known as Takachiho Kagura.
A performance of four representative dances from the kagura repertoire of 33 dances is held every evening from 20:00 to 21:00, at the Kaguraden performance hall on the grounds of the Takachiho Shrine. The dances are titled Tajikarao (Armstrong), Uzume (Goddess Uzume), Totori (Removing the Door) and Goshintai (Object of Worship).
These well-attended performances are genuine ceremonies, offered in rotation by dance groups from various local communities.
Takachiko yokagura dances are designated as an Important National Intangible Folk Culture Asset.
Location: Kaguraden at Takachiho Shrine
Date: Every day
Time: 20:00 ~ 21:00
Admission Fee: ¥700 per person
Takachiho Course of the Kyushu Olle Trail
Modeled on the Cheju Olle back-country network of hiking trails on Cheju Island in South Korea, the Kyushu Olle Trail includes the Takachiho Course, where hikers can get a deep and genuine feel for the extensive natural and cultural heritage of the Tachiho area.
The 12.3-kilometer Takachiho Course begins at the Information Center in town, and passes Takachiho Shrine, the Takachiho Gorge, Mukoyama Shrine, Maruono Tea Garden, and ends at the Gamataze Market.
The hiking course is a fine outing amid nature and the mountains, and takes in Takachiho Shrine and the Takachiho Gorge.