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Takachiho Miyazaki : Where Myth Is Preserved by Its People


Takachiho Miyazaki is  definitely the place you should visit by all means when you are in Japan.

Takachiho Miyazaki, is not a very popular name listed on a common checklist of site seeing spots in Japan. Japanese rarely visit this location, as travelers need to transit to multiple public transportations and long riding hours. However, this uncommercialized, hidden countryside plays a significant role in Japanese myths. High rising wall of nature’s architecture and pure water of Takachiho-kyo, or gorge, encourages the atmosphere of god’s stories. If you are lucky, during cold mornings especially in the fall, heading to high hills of Kunimigaoka at 6 AM is a breathtaking scenery of developed carpet of clouds all below you; all that can be seen are mountains ranging around Kunimigaoka as though you are standing at eyelevel with ancient gods.

Amanoiwato in Takachiho Miyazaki is the place that sun goddess, Amaterasu-Ohmikami, hid from her brother, Susanoo-no-Mikoto, who angered her with his aggressive and violent behavior. The gods unwelcomed this situation because the land had no light with the sun god in hiding. They gathered to confer on how to have Amaterasu to come out. This meeting was held at Ama- no-yasugawara; the conclusion was to have a “party” in front of her hiding place so that she peeps out in curiosity.

This plan had succeeded, leaving legends and dances in Takachiho Miyazaki called Yokagura, only performed in evenings, which is designated as Important National Intangible Folk Culture Asset. Although Official Yokagura is formed from 33 kagura, or dances, from different district of Takachiho Miyazaki, Takachiho Shrine showcases four kaguras every night for tourists to enjoy; three of which are relevant to the incident at Amanoiwato. By putting efforts to presenting kaguras every night, Takachiho  Miyazaki and its people has succeeded in preserving its myth, heritage, and tradition.

Through aesthetics of natural geography and conserved custom, visitors are indulged to a condensed dialogue with Japanese myth.

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