Amano-Yasugawara Power Spot
The secret gathering spot for gods.
While many visitors in Miyazaki Prefecture make sure to visit the famous Takachiho Gorge, they often neglect the nearby “spiritual power spot” with a shrine in a cave, located only 20 minutes away from it.
This power spot is called Amano-Yasugawara. According to a local myth, Amaterasu (the goddess of the sun) couldn’t stand her brother Susanoo (the god of storms and sea) anymore because he created a lot of chaos. Out of anger, she retreated in a dark cave called Ama-no-Iwato (heavenly rock cave) which has now become a local shrine. Numerous local gods were frustrated for little sunlight and endless disasters, so they gathered and planned a banquet near the cave which eventually tricked Amaterasu to get out and appear again. The spot where the gods secretly gathered is Gyobo Cave, a sacred site popular among wish-makers.
Whether or not the goddess of the sun actually hid near Amano-Yasugawara, one can really feel the spirituality of the place while embarking on the short walking route from Amano-Iwato Shrine. Once past the entrance where a handful of restaurants and souvenir shops are housed, a narrow path follows along a stream. The beginning of the path may be a bit of a hike but gets flatter as you reach the stream.
After walking for about 10 minutes, you should reach a point where the stream opens wide, with huge rocks sat here and there. Trees on both sides curve in and form a beautiful frame, with the center reserved for the penetration of sunlight. Depending on the weather, the spot may look even more ethereal with a bit of mist circulating in the air.
You may notice that human-made stone piles of different heights fill the surroundings. Indeed, back in the 1950s, visitors began to layer stone pieces, with hopes to have their wishes come true. Apparently, stone piles or types of memorials you see in many sacred places in Japan, with either three, five, or seven layers are the most effective.
The number of stone piles increases exponentially as the Gyobo Cave to the left matches your gaze. Like typical shrines, you will see a torii gate at the opening of the cave. But unlike typical shrines, the main shrine is located in the dark, only enlightened by dim natural light.
After you make your wish at the altar, take some time to listen to the refreshing melody of the stream; let it cut through your thoughts and bring alive the image of numerous gods celebrating the rebirth of light at where you’re standing. Relax and take in the spiritual powers from the ambiance.