Rowing in a Volcanic Canyon by a Waterfall, and a Trek through Nature, Culture, and History
When it comes to exploring the wonders of nature, few places can compare to the breathtaking beauty of Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki Prefecture, japan. Nestled in a volcanic canyon, this natural wonder offers visitors a unique opportunity to row through the gorge while being surrounded by misty rainbows formed by a nearby waterfall. It’s an experience that is both thrilling and awe-inspiring, making it a must-visit destination for any nature lover.
Takachiho Gorge is formed by columnar jointing, a geological phenomenon that occurs when rapidly cooling lava creates hexagonal columns. This creates a stunning backdrop for visitors as they navigate the gorge in rowboats. One of the highlights of the journey is the chance to row directly up to the 17-meter Manai Falls, where the view from below is truly breathtaking. The mist from the waterfall creates rainbows that dance in the air, adding a touch of magic to the whole experience.
But Takachiho Gorge is not just about rowing in a volcanic canyon. The surrounding area offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions that are worth exploring. One of the recommended side trips is a visit to Takachiho Shrine, a Shinto shrine located near the gorge. The shrine is known for its beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere, making it a perfect place to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and spirituality.
Another nearby attraction is Amano-Iwato Shrine, which is closely associated with the legend of Amaterasu, the sun goddess in Japanese mythology. According to the legend, Amaterasu hid in a cave, plunging the world into darkness. It was only when the other gods performed a ritual dance outside the cave that she emerged, bringing light back to the world. The shrine is a place of pilgrimage for those seeking blessings and protection, and its serene surroundings make it a peaceful retreat from the bustling city life.
Getting to Takachiho Gorge is relatively easy, thanks to its proximity to major transportation hubs. The closest airports are in Kumamoto and Miyazaki, both of which can be reached by shinkansen (bullet train) or plane. From there, direct buses are available to the Takachiho area. If you prefer to drive, it’s approximately 140 kilometers from Miyazaki, and the journey takes about 2.5 hours via the toll road. The route is well-marked, so you won’t have any trouble finding your way.
The best time to visit Takachiho Gorge is during the fall season, when the leaves change color and the gorge is filled with hues of orange and red. The sight of the colorful foliage against the backdrop of the volcanic canyon is truly mesmerizing and makes for stunning photographs. Plan your visit from mid-November to early December to catch the peak of the fall season.
Once you arrive at Takachiho Gorge, there are several ways to explore its beauty. A paved path runs along the edge of the gorge for about a kilometer, offering breathtaking views of the Gokase River below. From certain points along the trail, you can look straight down into the gorge, marveling at the sheer depth and beauty of the natural landscape. There’s also a wooden observation deck perched on top of the rocks, providing a perfect vantage point to capture the flow of the falls and the rowboats below.
For the more adventurous visitors, it’s possible to walk along the water’s edge, although it can be rocky and slippery in some spots. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear and exercise caution. While you won’t be able to go directly under the falls without riding in one of the rowboats, you’ll still be able to see the mossy cavern and experience the power of nature up close.
If you have the time, consider staying overnight in one of the traditional Japanese inns or ryokans near the gorge. This will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and hospitality. One of the advantages of staying overnight is the chance to witness the gorge illuminated at night, creating a magical atmosphere that is truly unforgettable. Additionally, you can also visit Takachiho Shrine during your stay and witness the Kagura Night Festival dance performance, which is a unique cultural experience.
In conclusion, a visit to Takachiho Gorge is an unforgettable journey through nature, culture, and history. Whether you choose to row through the volcanic canyon, explore the surrounding shrines, or simply soak in the breathtaking beauty of the gorge, you’ll be left with memories that will last a lifetime. So, make sure to include Takachiho Gorge in your Kyushu itinerary and prepare to be amazed by the wonders that await you.
Address And Maps Location:
Takachiho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken