A Quick Takachiho, Japan Travel Guide
During our Japan road trip, one of the stops we made was Takachiho which is located in the Miyazaki Prefecture of Kyushu in southern Japan. We were instantly amazed by the remarkable nature in this town with beautiful waterfalls, rock formations, and of course, the infamous Takachiho Gorge where you can take a rowing boat by the waterfalls in the gorge. Takachiho is also a very spiritual place with numerous shrines and temples, the main shrine hosting nightly dancing for visitors to enjoy. Takachiho is such an excellent place to add to a Kyushu road trip for its natural beauty and tranquility!
How to Get to Takachiho
How to Get to Takachiho by Train and Bus
If traveling from Fukuoka the fastest way to Takachiho by train and bus is by taking the Kyushu Shinkansen from Hakata Station to Kumamoto Station. From there you’ll transfer to either the Kyushu Sanko Bus or Miyazaki Kotsu (Miyakoh) Bus to Takachiho Bus Center. The journey takes about 4 hours and costs ¥8,130 one-way.
Another option is to take one of the direct highway buses from Fukuoka (Hakata Station) to Takachiho Bus Center which takes around 3 hours 30 minutes and costs around ¥4,100 one-way. The Nishitetsu Bus and Miyakoh Bus both operate this route. You can make advanced reservations for any of these bus routes to Takachiho on Willer.
How to Get to Takachiho by Car
We first visited Takachiho when we were driving on a Kyushu road trip and it was a terrific way to explore Takachiho. Depending on where you are driving from you’ll either take the expressways or a few smaller highways. If you are planning a Kyushu road trip then it is definitely worth getting a Kyushu Expressway Pass (KEP) which allows unlimited driving on the Kyushu Expressway, combined with the ETC card you don’t have to stop at the toll booths and simply pay additional tolls when returning your rental car.
- From Fukuoka: Around 2 hours 40 minutes
- From Kumamoto: Around 1 hour 30 minutes
Transportation in Takachiho
Many of Takachiho’s main attractions are scattered around the town center and are easily walkable, the furthest being Takachiho Gorge which is about a 30-minute walk from Takachiho Bus Center. However, some things to do in Takachiho are located outside of the town center and can only be accessed by rental car, taxi, or public bus.
Because of this, the best way to get around Takachiho is by rental car and the town is very car friendly with ample parking at most locations, restaurants, and hotels. If you aren’t driving the best way to get around Takachiho is on foot to some of the closer locations, by taxi, or public bus. The only disadvantage of the public bus is that it can be infrequent so be sure to check the Takachiho Bus Timetable while planning your trip.
Places to Stay in Takachiho
Hotel Grateful Takachiho
On our first visit to Takachiho, we stayed at Hotel Grateful Takachiho which is in a great location in the town center, has affordable rooms, and offers plenty of parking. There is also a 24-hour Family Mart located onsite making it convenient for travelers!
Location: 1352-1 Mitai, Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1101, Japan // MAP
Places to Eat in Takachiho
Tomoemaru is a small family-owned restaurant that is perfect for lunch. They offer many traditional comfort foods like chicken nanban, fried chicken with homemade tartar sauce, udon noodle sets, and Takachiho beef bowls.
Location: 1265-13 Mitai, Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1101, Japan // MAP
Takachiho Gamadase Market
Takachiho Gamadase Market is a great little roadside stand to stop for souvenirs and local products. It also has a restaurant that has high-quality Takachiho beef that you can select from the market and grill yourself.
Location: 1099-1 Mitai, Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1101, Japan // MAP
Things to Do in Takachiho
Takachiho Gorge is Takachiho’s most famous attraction for numerous reasons. This narrow chasm originally formed due to the cooling of volcanic matter creating the rugged landscape and cascading waterfalls throughout the gorge. The most famous of these waterfalls is the Manai Waterfall which has been noted as one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan on numerous occasions.
Of course, viewing Takachiho Gorge from above at one of the viewpoints is a terrific way to observe the gorge but another way to experience it is by boat! Takachiho Gorge has a boat service where you can rent a row boat to take on the calm waters to view the waterfalls and cliffs up close.
Takachiho Gorge Rental Boat:
- Closed when the water levels are too high or during inclement weather.
- Prices: ¥4,100-5,100, 30 minutes
Location: Mukoyama, Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1103, Japan // MAP
Kunimigaoka Viewing Platform
If you are driving in Takachiho make sure to visit the Kunimigaoka Viewing Platform which is located just outside of the town center. From here you can drive to the top of the platform and enjoy breathtaking views of the town from the top. For the best views try to visit around sunrise or sunset so you can see the clouds over the mountains and the city.
Location: Oshikata, 大字 Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1102, Japan // MAP
Takachiho Shrine is one of the most important sites in Takachiho known for Japanese mythology. I recommend visiting Takachiho Shrine at two different times for important reasons. First, visit Takachiho Shrine during the day so you can explore all of the shrine’s sites. Then return in the evening for the nightly Yokagura performance.
This performance is based on the story of Amaterasu, the Shinto sun goddess. After continuous torment from her brother, Amaterasu became outraged and decided to hide herself in a nearby cave refusing to come out and deprive the world of light.
The other gods and goddesses came to the cave pleading for her to come out trying everything they could to no avail. Then one goddess performed a ridiculous, suggestive dance that caused the gods and goddesses to laugh uncontrollably enticing a curious Amaterasu to come out of the cave thus restoring light to the world.
Now this legend is reenacted nightly in the Yokagura Performance Hall at Takachiho Shrine depicting a few scenes from the story in a one-hour performance with masked dancers and traditional instruments. Make sure to show up early so you can get a good seat!
Although the regular nightly performance is one hour, if you are visiting sometime in November through February you can see all 33 dances performed by villagers starting in the afternoon that go through the evening on select dates.
Location: 1037 Mitai, Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1101, Japan // MAP
Yokagura Performance Time: 8pm
Tochimata Rice Terraces
If you’re interested in seeing terraced rice fields in Japan then drive over to Tochimata Rice Terraces on your way to Amano Iwato Shrine. Here you can make a quick stop to see the terraced rice fields with beautiful mountains in the background.
Location: Mitai, Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1101, Japan // MAP
Amano Iwato Shrine
Amano Iwato Shrine is located near a cave where Amaterasu, the sun goddess, was said to have hidden. You can walk down the path to the cave surrounded by beautiful trees and tons of little rock towers that visitors have made as offerings to the gods for good luck.
Location: 1073-1 Iwato, Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1621, Japan // MAP
Cost: Free to visit