Japan’s myth is said to have begun here. According to ”Kojiki” (Records of Ancient Matters, written in the 8th century), the islands of Japan were created and formed by a couple of primary gods, “Izanagi” (male) and “Izanami” (female). They also gave birth to a number of gods including the sun goddess “Amaterasu”, considered the most noble of all that Izanami bore. Since “Susano’o”, another child of Izanami’s, was a very violent god, Amaterasu hated him and hid herself in “Amano Iwato” rock cave which is said to be located at “Amano Yasugawara” riverside. The earth was gone dark since the sun goddess hid in the cave, so numerous gods gathered there at “Amano Yasugawara” to discuss how to get her out of the rock cave. Finally, a goddess “Ameno Uzume” came up with an idea. As she began dancing naked, all the gods laughed out loud at that funny scene, that made Amaterasu wonder what was going on out there and tried opening the rock cave’s door. And there was a god of power “Tajikara’o” standing by right in front of the rock door, opened the door and threw it away, then pulled her out. Thus, the earth regained the light.
One of Amaterasu’s grandchildren “Ninigi” landed in Takachiho from Heaven to control Japan upon Amaterasu’s order. 3 generations passed after Ninigi, “Jimmu” show up and conquered today’s Kansai region to be the first Emperor of Japan, says “Kojiki” (Records of Ancient Matters)
08:30 Pickup at your hotel / anywhere in Kumamoto city
_____(or Hososhima Port / Miyazaki Pref.)
08-10 Enjoy a scenic ride to Takachiho
10:30 Kunimiga-oka observatory
11:00 Hike & Boating at Takachiho Gorge
14:00 Amano-Iwato shrine or Takachiho Super Cart ride
15:30 Leave Takachiho for Kumamoto
____ or move on to anywhere you like (extra charge)
17:30 Return to HOTEL
22,000 JPY (shared between number of people) + 6,000 JPY per person
(children from age 4 up to age 16: 50% off, under age 3: free of charge)
Max number of people: 7 (in my mini van unless large luggage)
9 (hiring a 10-seat van : plus 30,000 yen)
13 (hiring a 14-seat van : plus 33,000 yen)
Tour Customization / Transport / Photographs upload
Kunimi ga Oka Observatory
A hilltop located in the northwest of Takachiho, offers a great landscape of the entire Takachiho area. A few-minute walk leads you to this beautiful spot.
Boating at Takachiho Gorge
Breathtakingly beautiful gorge very well known to tourists. We park at the hill top and walk down to the gorge viewing its curious rock formation, and enjoy a boat ride between the rock walls and with a beautiful waterfall “Manai”.
Fee: 2,000 JPY per boat
Capacity: 3 adults or 2 adults + 2 under 6 yo
Rental Hours: 8:30 – 16:30 / Winter 7:30 – 18:00 / Summer
Amano Iwato shrine
The Shinto shrine that enshrines Amaterasu. Located in a peaceful atmosphere, 20-minute drive away from the Gorge. By applying for a 10-minute tour guided by a Shinto priest at the entrance, you can walk into the forbidden zone which is behind the main Shinto building, and take a view of the ruin site of the legendary Amano Iwato rock cave.
We have a 10-minute walk from Amano Iwato shrine down to the nearby river, feeling the holy atmosphere. A small path leads us to a riverside with a cavern where ancient gods and goddesses had a meeting together to discuss how to get Amaterasu out of the heavenly rock cave. Inside the cavern, there is Yasugawara shrine and around there you can find a lot of stone pile-ups which have been done by visitors hoping for their good luck or family’s good health etc,.
Takachiho Super Cart
Takachiho Amaterasu Railway Company presents this unique short tour. Ride a modified open-top car and go for a scenic tour. Just watch the YouTube footage below to check out what it is.
Fare: 1,300 JPY per person
Duration: 30 minutes
Operation Hours: 10:00 am – 04:00 pm
NOTE: Not operated in case of bad weather
Why don’t you enjoy Japanese modern tradition “Nagashi Soumen” in a restaurant right next to the Gorge. Soumen is noodles made from wheat and typically eaten cold. They offer Soumen noodles flowing in a long bamboo conduit of water and you catch them with chopsticks as the following footage! It’s a refreshing dish especially in the summer heat. Of course they have a lot other dishes such as hot Udon / Soba noodles and set meals.
Soba noodles at Otaniya
Otaniya is situated on the way to Amano Iwato shrine from Takachiho Gorge. They offer high quality and tasty hand made soba (buckwheat) noodles with a beautiful landscape of terraced rice fields on the hills of surrounding mountains. You can choose from among hot and cold soba noodles. For cold soba noodles, you dip them into a soy-based dipping sauce and experience as the Japanese eat noodles.
Drive on R218 to Takachiho and take the same say back to Kumamoto