• The elusive Takachiho Shrine is tucked away within a grove of tall cedar trees. With its traditional Japanese architecture, it at first seems to almost disappear into its natural surrounds. It is humble in appearance on the outside, but upon entering the main hall the shrine becomes stately and grand, with the pair of iron dogs that guard the main hall of the shrine deemed as an Important National Cultural Property. Takachiho Shrine is considered to be the best spot to pray for good harvests, the removal of bad luck, and for good marriage prospects.

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho, located in the northeast of Kyushu, is home to the mythical sun goddess Amaterasu, the most important Shinto deity. Legend has it that Amaterasu descended upon the very same spot the shrine was erected some 1,200 years ago.

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho Shrine

    The story goes that Amaterasu, the daughter of Izanami and Izanagi (the gods who are believed to have created Japan), was often quarreling with her younger and mischievous brother Susanoo (the storm god). After one particularly big argument with her brother, Amaterasu left the sky and went and hid herself away in a cave. As a consequence, the world was plunged into darkness and all the evil spirits were able to roam free in the dark night. The gods tried everything in their power to get Amaterasu to leave the cave and return to the sky, but she continued to hide. The Gods placed roosters outside her cave in the hope that upon hearing the cries of the roosters she would believe it to be morning and would resume her place. But she was not fooled.

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho Shrine

    Then the gods placed a large Sakaki tree covered with jewels and a large mirror at its center, one of the gods started dancing in a manner which made the other gods burst out in roars of laughter. Filled with curiosity Amaterasu crept out from within the cave. Upon doing so she became so captivated by her own beauty in the reflection of the mirror that the other gods were able to convince her that the world could no longer be deprived of her radiance, and with that she returned to the sky and the world was returned to light.

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho Shrine

    Every night of the year a shortened version of the legend of Amaterasu is told by way of Yokagura (night dance). The performance is an hour long and begins at 7 pm nightly at the site of the Takachiho Shrine at the cost of 700 per person. No reservations are necessary, but the audience is encouraged to arrive early to ensure prime viewing position for the lively performance featuring masked dancers and traditional instruments.

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho Shrine is located at the western end of the town center, only a 10 to 15-minute walk from the Takachiho Bus Center. There are some hotels within the local Takachiho area that will offer a free shuttle bus service to and from the area, alternatively take a taxi which is the most convenient way to reach the shrine.

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho Shrine

    Takachiho-jinja Shrine
    place
    Miyazaki Pref. Nishiusukiguntakachihochou Mitai 1037
    phone
    0982722413
    opening-hour
    Open 24 hours [Gatshosho] 8:…

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