A sacred shrine that keeps myth alive through dance
Takachiho-jinja Shrine is a historical and sacred site located in Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture, japan. This shrine holds great significance in Japanese mythology and is believed to have been founded approximately 1,900 years ago. It is dedicated to three generations of deities, including Ninigi no Mikoto, the grandchild of Amaterasu Omikami and the great-grandparent of Emperor Jimmu.
The importance of Takachiho in Japanese mythology cannot be overstated. It is said that there were once more than 500 shrines in the area, making it a central hub for religious and cultural practices. Even today, Takachiho Shrine continues to be widely worshipped for its deity of marriage and purification.
One of the highlights of visiting Takachiho-jinja Shrine is the opportunity to witness the nightly kagura dance performances. Kagura is a traditional Japanese dance form that is performed as an offering to the gods. These performances reenact the story of Amaterasu-omikami, the sun goddess who hid away in a cave and deprived the world of its light until she was lured out by raucous dances. The kagura performances at Takachiho Shrine are a mesmerizing spectacle that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich culture and history of the region.
In addition to the dance performances, visitors can also take a rowboat under the waterfall at Takachiho Gorge, which is located nearby. This natural wonder is a popular attraction in the area and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Another worthwhile side trip is a visit to Amano Iwato-jinja Shrine, which is known for its connection to the myth of Amaterasu-omikami.
Getting to Takachiho Shrine is relatively easy, as it can be reached by car, bus, or taxi from Takachiho’s city center. The shrine is just a short 15-minute walk from the bus center, making it easily accessible for visitors. Many hotels in the area also offer free shuttle bus rides to the shrine’s nightly kagura dance performances, making it convenient for tourists to experience this unique cultural event.
Upon arriving at Takachiho Shrine, visitors will be struck by its distinctive appearance. Unlike many other shrines in Japan, Takachiho-jinja is not brightly colored but instead blends in harmoniously with its natural surroundings. The shrine’s earthy look is complemented by two tall cedar trees that are joined by their roots. Legend has it that if you walk hand in hand with a family member or loved one around these trees, it will bring great wealth and prosperity to your descendants.
To truly appreciate the history and significance of Takachiho-jinja Shrine, it is recommended to take a guided tour or participate in a cultural workshop. These activities provide deeper insights into the rituals and traditions associated with the shrine, allowing visitors to gain a deeper understanding of its cultural and historical importance.
As with any travel plans, it is essential to check the official website or contact the shrine directly for the latest information. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there may be changes to the shrine’s operating hours or restrictions on certain activities. It is always advisable to stay updated and follow any guidelines or regulations in place for the safety of both visitors and staff.
In conclusion, Takachiho-jinja Shrine is a remarkable place that offers a glimpse into the rich mythology and history of Japan. Its sacred status and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for those interested in Japanese folklore and traditions. Whether witnessing the mesmerizing kagura dance performances, exploring the natural beauty of Takachiho Gorge, or simply immersing oneself in the serene atmosphere of the shrine, a visit to Takachiho Shrine is sure to be a memorable and enriching experience.
Address And Maps Location:
1037 Mitai, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken