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Amano Iwato Shrine

 

Amano Iwato Shrine 
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.

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.

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”. Farther 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 Yasukawara. 
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. 

 

 


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