A shrine and cave full of myth, and dances to the gods
Situated in the Takachiho area in Miyazaki Prefecture of Kyushu, Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine is dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu and is primarily known for the thousands of small stone piles on the path along the river from the shrine. Legend says that the nearby cave, called Amano Iwato, is where Amaterasu hid while upset, keeping her light away from the world until another female deity performed a lively dance that made the other gods laugh so hard that Amaterasu emerged to find out why.
Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine holds a significant place in Japanese mythology and history. It is believed to be the place where the sun goddess Amaterasu hid herself in a cave, plunging the world into darkness. The shrine is dedicated to Amaterasu and serves as a place of worship and reverence for her. The shrine is known for its unique feature of thousands of small stone piles along the path that leads to the cave, each pile representing a prayer or wish made by visitors.
The shrine is located in the picturesque Takachiho area, which is known for its natural beauty and stunning landscapes. The area is surrounded by mountains and offers breathtaking views of the countryside. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, who visit the shrine to pay their respects to Amaterasu and enjoy the serene and tranquil atmosphere.
To reach the shrine, visitors can take a bus or taxi from central Takachiho, which is about a 10 to 15-minute drive away. There is also a bus service available from the Takachiho Bus Center, with buses running approximately once every hour. The shrine is easily accessible and attracts a large number of visitors throughout the year.
One of the main attractions of Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine is the nearby cave, known as Amano Iwato. The cave holds great significance in Japanese mythology and is believed to be the place where Amaterasu hid herself. Visitors can take a tour of the cave and explore its mysterious and intriguing interiors. The cave is adorned with ancient rock formations and offers a glimpse into the mythical world of Japanese folklore.
The cave is also famous for its association with dance. According to legend, it was a lively dance performed by another female deity that made the gods laugh and eventually led to Amaterasu emerging from the cave. To this day, dance performances are held at the shrine to honor and celebrate this mythological event. These performances, known as Kagura dances, are an integral part of the shrine’s cultural heritage and attract visitors from all over the world.
Apart from the cave and the stone piles, Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine offers a serene and tranquil environment for visitors to relax and rejuvenate. The shrine is surrounded by lush greenery and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the river or sit by the stone piles and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.
The shrine also holds various festivals and events throughout the year, which provide a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the rich cultural heritage of japan. One of the most notable festivals held at the shrine is the Amano Iwato Kagura festival, which takes place from November to February. During this festival, locals perform traditional Kagura dances to pray for a good harvest, ward off demons, and invite deities to the Kagurayado building. The festival is a vibrant and colorful celebration of Japanese culture and attracts a large number of visitors.
For those looking to explore more of the Takachiho area, a visit to Takachiho Gorge is highly recommended. The gorge is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can take a boat ride through the gorge and admire the towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls. The gorge is especially popular during the fall season when the leaves change color, creating a picturesque and enchanting setting.
In conclusion, Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine is a place of great historical and cultural significance. It serves as a place of worship for the sun goddess Amaterasu and is known for its unique features such as the stone piles and the nearby cave. The shrine offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in Japanese mythology and experience the rich cultural heritage of the country. Whether it’s exploring the cave, witnessing the Kagura dances, or simply enjoying the serene atmosphere, a visit to Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine is sure to be a memorable and enriching experience.
Address And Maps Location:
1073-1 Iwato, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken