Takachiho Jinja 高千穂神社
The unpainted shrine buildings are set in a grove of towering Japanese cryptomeria (cypress) trees.
Takachiho Shrine is said to date from the Heian Period over 1200 years ago, though the present buildings are much more recent.
The main shrine building includes a relief carving of the shrine's guardian diety killing a demon.
Two of the tall trees standing side by side to the left of the honden (main hall) are believed to bring marital happiness if a couple walks around them three times.
Takachiho Shrine is the venue for nightly performances of Yokagura dances (Tel: 0982 73 2413; 500 yen) throughout the year from 8-9pm.
If you are walking from Takahiko Gorge it is possible to approach the shrine through a mountain path which brings you out at the rear of the shrine.
Visitors to Takachiho will also want to visit Ama no Iwato Shrine, which is about 8km out of town.
Kumamoto Airport is the nearest airport and has direct flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya (Komaki & Chubu), Kobe, Naha (Okinawa) and Amakusa. Kumamoto Airport is about 50 minutes from downtown Kumamoto by regular bus.
The Takachiho-Nobeoka Line is unfortunately no longer in service after a typhoon in 2005 washed away two bridges of what was once one of Japan's most spectacular railways. Now it is only possible to ride a toy train a few kilometers from Takachiho Station to experience the wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.
Express buses go to Kumamoto (nearly 3 hours), Nobeoka (90 mins) and Takamori (1 hour), which is on the Minami-Aso railway line.
Getting Around Takachiho
Bicycles can be hired from Shinwa Rental Bicycles at the old station for rather expensive prices or join a tour bus beginning at Miyako bus station.