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Kyushu Travel Guide

Amano Iwato Shrine


Takachiho is a birth place of Japanese indigenouse religion, Shinto

Takachiho is the site of one of the best known legends of Japanese mythology. In the story,

Amaterasu, the Shito sun goddess, became so outraged by her brother’s cruel pranks that

she hid herself in a cave, refusing to come out and depriving the world of her life-giving light. 


All of the other gods and goddesses gathered to lure her out. They tried everything they could

think of to no avail until one goddess performed an outrageously ribald dance that caused the

other gods to roar with laughter. Amaterasu left the cave to see what all the fun was about,

and in doing so she returned her light to the world.



Amano Iwato Shrine

About ten kilometers outside of central Takachiho, Amano Iwato Shrine was built near the cave

where Amaterasu is said to have hid herself away.


The cave cannot be approached, however, there is an observation deck behind the shrine’s

main building from where you can gaze across the river. 

In order to access the observation deck, you need to inquire at the shrine entrance, and a

priest will give you a quick guided tour.



Amano Yasukawara

A short walk down the road from Amano Iwato Shrine is a path that leads down to the river
below. After a few minutes on this path you will see neat little piles of stones stacked along 
the river by previous visitors to mark their pilgrimage to this “power spot”.
arther along, the stacks become more numerous until you are surrounded by literally thousands
of them as far as you can see. Eventually the path leads to a simple shrine inside a cave known
as Amano Yasugawara

This is said to be the cave where the gods and goddesses met to discuss their strategy of luring

Amaterasu out of hiding. The natural beauty of the cave and river lined by countless stacks of

stones make Amano Yasukawara a place not to miss. 



 Location of Takachiho





General information  


1073-1 Amano-iwato, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki-prefecture


120 minutes by a vehicle from Kumamoto IC

150 minutes by a vehicle from Oita IC

150 minutes by a vehicle from Miyazaki


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