Mt. Kirishima is a generic name for the volcanoes in the border of Kirishima City in Kagoshima Prefecture and Ebino City and Kobayashi City in Miyazaki Prefecture. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. It is presumed to be a post-caldera volcano formed in the southern rim of Kakuto caldera basin.
Mt. Kirishima is composed of many peaks including the highest peak of Karakuni-dake (1,700 m), Takachiho-no-mine, Naka-dake, Ohata-yama, and Ohachi. There are a lot of crater lakes such as Onami-ike, Ohata-ike, and Rokukannon-ike. The mountain area is a part of Kirishima- Yaku National Park. The communities of Kyushu azalea can be seen in the highlands.
Mt. Kirishima is the land of Japanese mythology concerning its creation. “Amano Sakahoko,” the three teeth fork-shaped weapon is staked upside down at the top of Mt. Takachiho-no-mine, which is believed to be where the Heavenly Descendant Ninigi no Mikoto descended from Takamagahara Field (Heavenly Hill Field).
Takachiho-gawara in the Kirishima mountain range (Kirishima City, Kagoshima Prefecture) is where Kirishima Jungu Shrine used to be located. It was originally built between Mt. Takachiho-no-mine and Mt. Ohachi but was destroyed by a volcanic eruption about 1,400 years ago and rebuilt at this place. However, it was again burnt down by the second eruption about 1,000 years ago and relocated to the town at the foot of the mountain. Presently only the remains have been preserved.
Located near the western starting point for climbing Mt. Takachiho-no-mine, the site is surrounded with the forest of red pine and the communities of Kyushu azalea. Seen from this point, Mt. Takachiho-no-mine protrudes into the sky, making a sharp angle. Its exquisite appearance deserves the name of “Holy Mountain.”
The summit of Mt. Takachiho-no-mine is believed to be where the Heavenly Descendant Ninigi no Mikoto descended from Takamagahara Field (Heavenly Hill Field). On November 11th every year, “the Fire of the Gods” festival is held here to commemorate Ninigi no Mikoto.
Kunimigaoka located in Takachiho Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is a hill, the summit of which is at 513 meters above sea level. It commands a panoramic view of Mt. Sobo in the north, Mt. Amanokaguyama, Takamagahara, Mt. Shikojimine and Takachiho Basin in the east, Mt. Aso in the west and the Gokase River below.
The name of the hill derives from a mythology. When Tateiwatatsu no Mikoto, a grandson of Emperor Jinmu, pacified Kyushu, he stood at the top of this hill at the sunrise and the sunset and performed the Kunimi ritual, which is an early Japanese ritual of “gazing down upon the land” performed by emperors or chieftains to pray for a rich harvest in autumn.
On cold autumn mornings from late October to early November, the villages in the basin below are folded in dense fog and the dramatic “cloud ocean” can be seen.
Kushifuru-jinjya Shrine Festival takes place every October at Kushifuru-jinjya Shrine in Mitai, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture.
It is not known when Kushifuru-jinjya Shrine was first worshiped. Initially it didn’t have a built structure and the entire Kushifuru mountain was seen as an object of worship. It was 1694 when the devotion of Nobeoka Clan and the villagers led to the building of the shrine. The deity of the shrine is Amatsuhikohikohononinigi-no-mikoto.
The biggest attraction of the festival is a long parade that consists of over 600 people including portable shrines and brass bands in a procession 2.6 km round trip from Kushifuru-jinjya Shrine to Takachiho-jinjya Shrine through the center of the town.
A Sumo wrestling tournament, which has taken place for over 350 years, occurs in the precincts of the shrine. Also babies compete with their loud cries for good health in “Unari Sumo”. Parades by groups with stick weapons and brass bands and archery tournaments are also held.
Kushifuru-jinjya Shrine Festival is a valiant festival proud of its long tradition.
The Manai Waterfall in Takachiho Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is an impressive waterfall, which symbolizes Takachiho, the land of myths and legends. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls.
Takachiho, a small mountain town situated in the center of Kyushu, in northern Miyazaki is one of the most sacred places in Japan, where the grandchild of Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, descended from the High Plain of Heaven. Takachiho is full of fascination for tourists, such as the sea of clouds floating over mountain villages, Takachiho Gorge with mystic atmosphere, simple and old-fashioned farm houses with chigi (ornamental crossbeams on the gable, mostly seen in a Shinto shrine) on the roofs and glorious mountains covered with tender green in spring and crimson foliage in fall.
The Manai Waterfall flows down the 17-meter perpendicular cliff made of columnar basalt in Takachiho Gorge. The waterfall gently flows down into the deep green water between the towering cliffs lit by the gentle sunlight. It is a breathtakingly beautiful landscape. The boats are available for rent and visitors can get right close to the waterfall.
The Tatsugaiwa Waterfall in Takachiho Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is a dynamic three-staged waterfall with a total height of 80 meters. Surrounded with a virgin forest, it looks beautiful against tender green in early summer and colored leaves in early November. Especially beautiful is the whole flow of the falls seen from a distance. You can enjoy nice hiking up to the waterfall, stopping at several smaller falls on the way.
In the upstream area is Shikimibaru Camping Site, which commands a panoramic view of the mountains in the central part of Kyushu including Mt. Aso and Mt. Unzen. In fall, the forest road to the camping site via the Tatsugaiwa Waterfall is also surrounded with beautifully colored leaves.
Tsuno Shrine located in Tsuno-cho, Koyu-gun, Miyazaki Pref. was the Ichinomiya (highest-ranked) shrine in ancient Hyuga province and one of the four official shrines recorded in Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers in the Heian period). The enshrined deity is Onamuchi no Mikoto. It is said that in 666 BC, when Emperor Jinmu left Takachiho in Hyuga province to conquer Yamato region, he offered a prayer for his military success and national stability at this place.
The precinct together with the gravel lane to the shrine building is filled with solemn atmosphere. You will feel yourself purified at this shrine. More than 2,000 cedar trees enclose and guard this sacred place for over 1,000 years.