Takachiho Gorge, known to be one of Japan’s most distinguished scenic spots, lies in Miyazaki prefecture in the Kyushu Region. Though the gorge is made up of steep cliffs, and there are paths made for safe trekking to tour around it. You can even get on a boat and admire Takachiho Gorge from below. As a location renowned for its breathtaking views and its significance in Japanese mythology, Takachiho Gorge is a must-see when visiting southern Japan.
About Takachiho Gorge
Takachiho Gorge Entrance
Gokase River cuts through the Takachiho Gorge, located in the eastern inland portion of Miyazaki prefecture. A while back in history, Mount Aso erupted, causing lava to flow just by Gokase River. The lava cooled to form the 7-kilometer long Takachiho Gorge. It was named a national scenic spot and as a natural monument in 1934.
Pillar-like Structure of the Gorge
Takachiho Gorge's "pillars"
Looking closely at Takachiho Gorge, you will find some vertical lines running across the surface. These lines are caused by years and years of lava flow, and create a pillar-like structure. While some lines are perpendicular to the ground, others are wavier and have a more free form. Through the countless lines of different variations, you can feel the historical depth of Takachiho Gorge first-hand.
Trekking in Takachiho Gorge
The trekking course
The trekking course in Takachiho Gorge measures approximately 1 kilometer. The entire course is fairly flat and not too difficult. Along the way are several sightseeing spots.
Arguably the most iconic view at Takachiho Gorge is of Manai Falls. The waterfall is chosen as one of Japan’s 100 most scenic falls. Legend says that Manai Falls was placed there by a deity, as the region originally lacked a water supply.
Manai Falls lit up (summer)
During the summer months, the waterfall and the trekking path are lit up, and create an ethereal atmosphere.
According to a different Takachiho legend, a deity defeated a demon, Kihachi, to secure the land. During the fight, it is said that Kihachi threw this rock to prove his strength. This rock is a whole 200 tons, and the traditional rope around it is changed annually as a part of a ritual.
Three Stacking Bridges
In order: Shinkyo, Takachiho-ohashi and Shinto-takachiho-ohashi
At the upstream area of the gorge are three arch bridges. Each of the bridge represents a period in time, from the Taisho period (1912 – 1926), Showa period (1926 – 1989) and Heisei period (1989 – 2018). This is the only place in Japan where you can see three arch bridges span across one gorge.
Each bridge is made of different materials; the Shinkyo (Taisho period) of stone, Takachiho-ohashi (Showa period) of copper and the Shinto-takachiho-ohashi (Heisei period) made of concrete.
“Sennin no Byobu” Rock
Along the trekking path, you will find a rock standing at 70 meters. This rock is referred to as “Sennin no Byobu Iwa”, or “Hermit’s Folding Screen Rock”, as the shape resembles a folding screen.
Row through the Takachiho Gorge
Trekking through the gorge may be enough to enjoy Takachiho Gorge, but riding on the boat and rowing across it really completes the experience. The boat ride is highly popular, with people lining up from early in the morning. For ¥2000 per half an hour, you can row through the gorge.
Manai Falls Up Close
Manai falls up close
You can get closer to Manai Falls by rowing your boat right next to it. Seeing Manai Falls right in front of your eyes is quite an experience, as you can feel the force of the waters first hand. The falls are a lot more powerful than you would expect, so be careful not to get too close, or you’ll end up soaked in holy water.
Feel the gorge!
The walls of the gorge up close
Physically touch the gorge surface by rowing right beside it! Touch the rocky gorge and feel the depth of its history. Be careful not to row too close to avoid smashing your boat into the gorge.
Nearest station: Takachiho Bus Center (bus stop)
From Miyazaki Station 宮崎駅
【Miyazaki Sta.】JR Nippo Line / for Nobeoka
→【Nobeoka Sta.】Miyazaki Transportation City Bus / for Takachiho
→【Takachiho Bus Center】→ about a 20-minute walk
From Kumamoto Station 熊本駅
【Kumamoto Sta.】Highway Bus Takachiho Express / for Nobeoka
→【Takachiho Bus Stop】→ about a 20-minute walk
From Miyazaki Airport 宮崎空港
【Miyazaki Airport Sta.】JR Miyazaki Airport Line / for Nobeoka
→ 【Nobeoka Sta.】City Bus Miyazaki Transportation / for Takachiho
→ 【Takachiho Bus Center】→ about a 20-minute walk
So many sights to see at Takachiho!
Takachiho is filled with superb views that you can see only in this area. There are many other attractions around the area, so staying the night and getting around to all the spots is definitely recommended!
Oaza Mitai-oshioi, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki
Boat: ・8:30a.m. - 5:00p.m. (last check-in at 4:30p.m.)
Boat: ・During safety checks and high water level days
Per boat: ・30 mins: ¥2000 ・Every additional 10 minutes: ¥300