trip by rental car Winter
Roadside Station Kitakata Yocchimiro-Ya
Miyazaki Sta.→ Roadside Station Kitakata Yocchimiro-Ya
Miyazaki section/ via Higashi Kyushu Expressway Route 218
About 1h 30m
You can purchase fresh vegetables and local specialty products. You’ll get a good sense of the area knowing that the products change every season. They also sell souvenirs. Several types of cashless payment like credit card are accepted. The parking lot is wide and easy to maneuver about. The public bathroom has a reputation for being exceptionally clean.
Roadside Station Seiun Bridge
From this station, you can view the Seiun bridge which stands 137m above the river. Here, local producers sell fresh vegetables and products and there are restaurants which serve a variety of dishes. This station was renewed and reopened in 2019. Nearby you can visit Hinokage Onsen Station which has its own onsen on the platform, which is rare even in Japan.
A famous location where you can rent a rowboat and get up close to the Manai waterfall which has been selected as one of the top 100 waterfalls of Japan. In the Japanese mythology, this lake was originally dry. It is said that a deity planted the seed of water here, which became the source of the water. The gorge is designated as a scenic location and natural monument of Japan whose beauty changes depending on the season you visit. It is not only a stunning location but a spiritual place where you can feel the power of nature. Access: Get off the bus at the Takachiho stop. Around 10 min walk. Car Park available.
There are many shrines in Takachiho Cho. Takachiho Shrine, Ama no iwato Shrine, and Arakawa Shrine are all dedicated to different gods. People from all over the world visit to feel the spiritual power of these shrines.
Please check out the details on the website of the Takachiho Tourism Association.
Near Ama no iwato shrine, there is another well-known “power spot”: Ama no Yasukawara. At these “power spots” you’ll notice piles of rocks created by worshippers wishing for good luck. If you knock one over, you must build two piles to atone for your clumsiness.
Takachiho-no-Yokagura is a Shinto ritual which has been dedicated to Ujigami-sama (a local god) for the past 800 years. Shrines throughout the area perform the all-night dances from November to February. For those who cannot enjoy Takachiho-no-Yokagura, the first 4 episodes (of 33 total episodes) are performed from 8pm to 9pm at Takachiho Shrine Kagura-den Hall throughout the year. The first three episodes (the dances of Tajikarao, Uzume, Totori) are based on Iwato Mythology. The fourth episode is the dance of Goshintai, it is a dance of a married couple (Izanagi and Izanami) living happily together. It expresses a prayer for a rich harvest, happy marriage, smooth pregnancy and childbirth. At Takachiho Shrine Kagura-den Hall, reservations are not accepted.
Farmhouse Accomodation (Farmhouse Inn)
This is totally different from your normal Japanese Ryokan or Inn. Farmers/forest workers have begun to accommodate guests at their own houses. During your stay, you can enjoy agricultural and rural experiences such as farming and cooking local dishes with your hosts. You will enjoy the fruits of your labor while absorbing the local wisdom and learning the techniques of your hosts. You will feel the beauty of nature, the importance of life, and the countryside charm during this one-of-kind experience.
Unkai at Kunimi ga Oka
Enjoy “Unkai” in the early morning during your stay in Takachiho-Cho. Unkai refers to a sea of clouds. This phenomenon occurs mainly in the cold but windless, sunny mornings from autumn to early winter (mid September to late November). The clouds sink between the Takachiho Basin and surrounding mountains, offering a fantastic and magical photo opportunity. It gets crowded during this season even though you must wake up very early in the morning.
Kunimigaoka Viewing Platform is 513 m above sea level. The view is so magnificent, Kunimigaoka received a Michelin star in 2011. http://takachiho-kanko.info/en/sightseeing/
Translated by Talbot Cullen/ Mai