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Largest City

Amano Iwato Shrine

The cave of the sun goddess.

Shrouded in a cave that sits on the edge of the ravine, Amano Iwato shrine is a seriously atmospheric stop on your travels around Takachiho.

Located just 10 kilometres outside of Takachiho city centre, the shrine was said to have been built nearby a cave in which the goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu, took refuge from her brother’s incessant pranks. Separated from the main buildings by a river, the cave cannot be directly accessed unless you enlist the help of a priest via a guided tour.

If you follow the main path, you will be brought to a small road covered in shrubbery and rocks; following this path will bring you to the smaller shrine known as the Amano Yasukawara. You will see stones neatly piled on top of one another as you near the shrine proper.

The significance of Amano Yasukawara also lies in the original legend of Amaterasu. This shrine was said to have been the meeting point of all the gods and goddesses, all of whom came together to discuss potential ways of luring Amaterasu out of her cave.

Although it is still relatively unclear when the shrine was erected, many believe that the east hall, known as the higashi-hongu, was built sometime during the 9th century. It is also from the west hall, or the nishi-hongu, that you can get a good view of the cave without having to join a tour on happy the condition that you take part in a purification ceremony.

Things To Know


The path to the shrine is rocky and unpaved which can make access difficult during bad weather.

How To Get There


Amanoiwato Iwato, Takachiho-chō, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken 882-1621, Japan

By bus

There is a bus running from the bus centre that departs for the shrine about once every one or two hours. This will set you back ¥300 for a one-way trip and will take approximately 15 minutes.

Where To Stay

Hotel Grateful Takachiho
  • 1352-1 Mitai, Nishiusuki-gun Takachiho-cho, Miyazaki, 882-1101 Japan
  • ¥7,500 - ¥14,000
  • 4.23/5 (589 reviews)
  • 4.5 km
Ryokan Yamatoya
  • 1148 Mitai, Nishiusuki-gun Takachiho-cho, Miyazaki, 882-1101 Japan
  • ¥17,300 - ¥36,600
  • 4.15/5 (266 reviews)
  • 4.5 km
Solest Takachiho Hotel
  • 1261-1 Mitai, Nishiusuki-gun Takachiho-cho, Miyazaki, 882-1101 Japan
  • ¥13,420 - ¥50,490
  • 4.19/5 (235 reviews)
  • 4.7 km
Hotel Takachiho
  • 1037-4 Mitai, Nishiusuki-gun Takachiho-cho, Miyazaki, 882-1101 Japan
  • ¥7,900 - ¥8,900
  • 4.18/5 (563 reviews)
  • 5.3 km