NHK WORLD > NHK WORLD TV > Journeys in Japan

Tue, Feb. 2, 2016 Takachiho: Dancing for the deities
*You will leave the NHK website. *You will leave
the NHK website.

Takachiho lies deep in the mountains of Miyazaki Prefecture, in Kyushu. It is believed to be the setting for Japan's creation myth. In winter, villagers perform sacred dances, known Yokagura, which have been passed down among the local community for more than 1,000 years. Both the performers and the audience immerse themselves in the world of myth and reaffirm the bonds that connect them.

Ama-no-Iwato kagura mask workshop
Ama-no-Iwato kagura mask workshop
This workshop produces kagura masks, which are available for purchase by visitors.
Address: 399 Iwato, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki Pref.
Takachiho Shrine
Takachiho Shrine
This shrine in the heart of Takachiho is believed to date back about 2,000 years.
Kagura performances are held for visitors every day.
Address: 1037 Oaza-Mitai, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki Pref.
TEL: +81-928-72-2413
Kagura-no-yakata (kagura performance hall)
Kagura-no-yakata (kagura performance hall)
Housed in a traditional timber building that was moved and rebuilt in this location, this hall offers visitors special kagura performances, if booked in advance.
Address: 58 Iwato, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki Pref.
TEL: +81-982-76-1213
Ama-no-iwato Onsen Chaya
Ama-no-iwato Onsen Chaya
This neighborhood restaurant is run by local residents. It offers dishes made with local ingredients. It is under the same management as Kagura-no-yakata.
Address: 58 Iwato, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki Pref.
TEL: +81-982-76-1213
To reach Takachiho from Tokyo, flights from Haneda Airport to Kumamoto take about two hours. From there, it's another two hours by express bus.
Travel Log

Traveler: Kyle Card > More Info


Occupation:actor / talent

Length of residence in Japan:7 years

Reason:Improving my Japanese and work as an actor

Traveler's Archives:

> Bullfighting in Uwajima: Passion and Tradition

For this journey, I was extremely blessed with the opportunity to visit Takachiho in Miyazaki Prefecture, which is regarded in Japanese mythology and folklore as the birthplace of the Gods.    Takachiho is a truly spiritual place located deep in the mountains. It is surrounded by breathtaking, beautiful nature as far as the eye can see, and with rich agriculture and history.

The people of Takachiho recognize and express deep gratitude towards these blessings, and they safeguard the traditional ancient rituals pertaining to the prosperity of the area.    One such ritual, known as yokagura, I had the pleasure to witness and even participate in. It communicates the deep-seated connection and respect for nature and the spiritual world felt by the people of this region. This sense of human-nature connection is something that I feel has been gradually lost in our modern times. So it was refreshing for me to meet and experience a community where this connection is respected and upheld with the utmost importance.   A word commonly on the lips of the inhabitants of Takachiho is kogoshii, an adjective meaning "spiritual" or "godly." I found myself using the phrase in my travels as well, as the landscapes - and even the fresh organic foods of the region - were nothing short of godly indeed.

I was deeply moved by the community's love for their home and deep respect for nature, as well as their generosity in sharing it with the outside world. All of these attributes are something I hope can spread to the world at large, as Takachiho stands as a testament to the inherent prosperity attainable when humans maintain their relationship with nature.

*You will leave the NHK website.