Takachiho Shrine - The land of myths - Waku Waku

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Takachiho Shrine - The land of myths

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Takachiho Shrine - The land of myths

Mentioning Takachiho Jinjya - the precious pearl of Kyushu, Miyazaki prefecture, people will first think of the splendid beauty created by Mother Nature, then the most famous stories about the appearance of Shinto.

Linh Linh

Linh Linh

Published on 26 Mar, 12:00

As I mentioned in part 1: Takachiho - The pearl of Kyushu island, when the Sun Goddess stayed in the cave, other gods gathered to find a way to "entice" her to come out. They organized bustling parties, and there was a god performing a provocative dance which made all of the other gods laugh happily. It was this laughter that made goddess Amaterasu go out of the cave.

This is the myth behind Kagura night festival of this town. And that dance is known as Yokagura - the dance at night. It is a pity that we could not stay overnight to admire this famous dance at Takachiho shrine, but in return, I could see the ancient beauty of this shrine in the daytime.

The entrance to Takachiho shrine
The entrance to Takachiho shrine
The space of the temple is extremely airy and surrounded by lots of enormous cedar trees. The souvenir shops display and sell their products right here, so it will be very convenient if you want to buy some gifts.
The space of the temple is extremely airy and surrounded by lots of enormous cedar trees. The souvenir shops display and sell their products right here, so it will be very convenient if you want to buy some gifts.

Many people visited the shrine even though they were not the followers of Shinto
Many people visited the shrine even though they were not the followers of Shinto

Takachiho-jinja does not have the bright red color like other temples I usually visit in Japan, but its simple and rustic beauty seems to match the tranquility and calm of this place.

The ancient and majestic Takachiho shrine with many carvings that bear the features of Shinto
The ancient and majestic Takachiho shrine with many carvings that bear the features of Shinto

In the cedar forest surrounding the temple, two cedar trees with tightly woven roots seem most outstanding.

I was immediately attracted by this pair of trees, as they looked like a couple hugging each other. They are also known as Meoto sugi - the Conjugal tree, and according to a souvenir seller here, if couples hold their hands tightly and walk around the tree three times, they will gain eternal happiness.

And the legend also has it that if you hold your loved one's hand and walk three times around the tree, the wealth and happiness will be granted to your descendants.

Below the trees is decorated with many wooden wishing plaques called Emma.
Below the trees is decorated with many wooden wishing plaques called Emma.
I and my friends also held hands and walked that way to wish for our strong and close-knit friendship. Because we already came to the place, at least we should try to know whether the myth would become reality as rumors said, shouldn't we?

In the evening at this thousand-year-old temple, Kagura night festival will take place together with many famous dances. At first, we did not know this, so just hired a car in one day. Therefore, if you are able to stay overnight, this will certainly be one of your unmissable activities.

My next stopover point in the journey of discovering the sacred land was Amano Iwato- jinja temple. Like other tourists, I came here only for admiring the place where the Sun Goddess in the myth hid during winter days. Such a beautiful temple with an interesting legend!

The temple worshipping goddess Amaterasu
The temple worshipping goddess Amaterasu

At the back gate of the temple, there is a trail leading to Amano Yasugawara cave. Every 30 minutes, a monk opens the door for us to discover this cave.

Along the path is Iwato river
Along the path is Iwato river

The trail is like a path leading back to an ancient land with peaceful and mysterious sceneries. In Takachiho, I felt as if the God existed everywhere, perhaps due to its natural tranquility, or the sacred atmosphere of each temple I had been to.

I could see the ancient rusty Torii gate in a distance (Photo of Ly Nguyen)
I could see the ancient rusty Torii gate in a distance (Photo of Ly Nguyen)

This is the cave where the Sun Goddess used to hide every time she got angry in the past. You can see a small temple within this cave, which is the place where the gods gathered to discuss ways to make her go out.

A special thing that I recognized as soon as walking to the cave is the countless cliffs stacked on top of each other.
The stone pillars together with Torii gate are the most typical image when people think of this cave (photo of Ly Nguyen)
The stone pillars together with Torii gate are the most typical image when people think of this cave (photo of Ly Nguyen)

The tiny stone pillars led me to the powerful and sacred place. Every visitor come here to pray and stack them since Japanese people believe that stacking the stones this way will help their wishes come true.

So, I have discovered almost the spiritual regions of the land that gave birth to Japan. Every location of this land seems to have the ancient atmosphere and the breath of Shinto, which makes people extremely excited and curious. Besides the outside beauty, the hidden myths are also an interesting thing that contributes to the unique appeal of this place.

It is still my familiar saying after reviewing a fascinating destination to finish this article: "If you have a chance, let's visit and discover this wonderful location!"

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Linh Linh

Linh Linh

Super humorous and active person, I myself am interested in writing and sharing my experience in Japan. Hope to find someone to travel with 🗻🗻🗻

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