Tucked away in Miyazaki prefecture, Takachiho is a place very important to Japanese mythology and thanks to its serene beauty, an absolute must visit if you’re in Kyushu. It is home to Takachiho gorge and several important shrines including Amanoiwato shrine.
One of the most famous stories from early Japanese myth is that of when Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, became angry at her brother Susanoo after he went on a particularly cruel rampage and hid herself in a cave thus depriving the world of light for a long time. The other gods met together and came up with a plan to lure her out, tricking her into emerging from the cave and restoring light to the world. Takachiho is said to be the place where this happened and the cave where Amaterasu hid can be glimpsed at a distance from Amanoiwato shrine. You can also visit the site said to be where the gods gathered to discuss their plans.
In yet more mythological significance, Takachiho is meant to be the place where Ningi-no-mikoto, Amaterasu’s grandson and the precursor to Japan’s imperial family descended from the heavens.
Takachiho has some really lovely scenery, surrounded by forests and mountains on all sides. The highlight is Takachiho gorge which has interestingly shaped cliffs on either side and the Manai waterfall flowing into it. You can even hire a boat and row around the base of the falls. On the food front, Takachiho has some award winning beef that you can eat in several restaurants throughout the town.
Takachiho is in Miyazaki prefecture but can be a little bit difficult to get to, particularly as there is no train line. It is generally easier to get there from Kumamoto as it is closer and there are several direct bus services.