Lively dances, sun goddesses, cave shrines, and the rich mythology of Amano Iwato Kagura
In the charming village of Takachiho, japan, there is a deep reverence for the town’s high standing in Japanese mythology. The Amano Iwato Kagura dances are a vital part of the festivities that celebrate this mythology and are held at the Amano Iwato shrine. These dances are also performed at the Takachiho shrine.
Takachiho, located in Miyazaki prefecture, is best accessed by car. It is approximately 140 kilometers from the city of Miyazaki, and the journey takes about 2.5 hours if you use the toll road. To get there, you can take the Higashi Kyushu Express (Miyazaki Route) and head north towards Nobeoka. After about 85 kilometers, take the exit toward Takachiho and Kumamoto just after the Nobeoka IC. Stay on the Kyushu-Chuo Expressway until it becomes Route 218. Follow Route 218 for another 25 kilometers, and then follow the signs to Takachiho. Once you arrive, Takachiho Shrine is easy to find. Amano Iwato Shrine is approximately 10 kilometers from central Takachiho, and a bus operates between the Takachiho Bus Center and the shrine.
The main kagura festival in Takachiho is held from November through February. During this festival, the locals perform dances to pray for a good harvest, ward off evil spirits, and invite deities to Kagurayado, a sacred building. Visitors can witness all 33 dances performed from dusk until dawn in a grand nightly celebration. If you’re only in town for the day, you can catch a performance of the highlights each night at Takachiho Shrine. In addition to the kagura dances, Takachiho offers a glimpse into Japan’s past and boasts incredible scenery, such as the Takachiho Gorge.
Alternatively, you can witness kagura dedications being performed at the Amano Iwato Shrine itself. These dedications occur during the spring festival in early May, the autumn festival in late September, or on Culture Day on November 3.
The Amano Iwato kagura is the final dance out of the 33 dances performed. It tells the story of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, who hid in a cave and plunged the world into darkness. The lively and slightly erotic dances performed during the Amano Iwato kagura lured Amaterasu out of the cave, bringing light back to the world.
The Amano Iwato Kagura dances and the mythology they represent are deeply rooted in the history and culture of Takachiho. They showcase the importance of tradition and the preservation of ancient rituals. By participating in or witnessing these dances, visitors can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the rich folklore and mythology that shapes Japan’s cultural heritage.
Takachiho is not only known for its kagura dances but also for its natural beauty. One of the must-see attractions in the area is the Takachiho Gorge. With its stunning cliffs and the clear waters of the Gokase River, the gorge offers a breathtaking sight. Visitors can take a boat tour along the river and marvel at the beauty of the surroundings.
In conclusion, the Amano Iwato Kagura dances in Takachiho are a testament to the town’s deep connection to Japanese mythology. These lively dances, performed at the Amano Iwato Shrine and the Takachiho Shrine, are a vital part of the local festivals and celebrations. They not only entertain but also serve as a way to honor tradition and preserve the rich cultural heritage of Japan. A visit to Takachiho is not complete without witnessing the beauty of the kagura dances and exploring the natural wonders of the area.
Address And Maps Location:
1073-1 Iwato, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken