Takachiho is a long day trip from Miyazaki. Using the Southern Kyushu rail pass, it is a free ride on the Ltd Exp train to Nobeoka, an hour away.
There is a lot of construction happening around the small Nobeoka railway station. The bus station is the next building across from the construction with the entrance on the back side.
The bus station is quite basic although there are comfortable chairs and bathrooms.
Foreign visitors should not purchase the 1800 yen day pass, but opt for the foreign tourist version, which is only 1000 yen.
The trip takes almost 1.5 hours on a municipal bus with many stops along the way. However, the scenery was decent as we climbed up the mountains.
Amanoiwato Shrine is some distance from the town centre although it is well worth a visit. The premises are very leafy and crowds relatively thin.
The shrine also has a part 2 across the bridge that tourists don't seem to notice.
The star attraction is downhill towards the river. According to legend, Amano Yasugawara is the place where the gods and goddesses convened to discuss how to entice the sun goddess Amaterasu to come out of the rock cave and end the world's darkness. Pilgrims carried stones to this site over the years and arranged them into piles.
The cave shrine was quite interesting and by the time I headed back uphill to town, I was getting hungry so it was time to try a fatty Takachiho beef noodle to stock up for the afternoon.
Takachiho Gorge was formed by rapid cooling of lava from Mt. Aso. A walkway is partially opened along the riverfront although there wasn't much water flow to appreciate the natural beauty fully.
By late afternoon, the sightseeing buses have finished for the day, so I walked back uphill to town.
Takachiho Shrine's history goes back some 1800 years. It is the place to go to pray for a good harvest and improve your marriage prospects.
A festive market was set up in the town centre offering food and games.
The small bus terminal has an indoor waiting area with tourist information and a bathroom. The manned counter closed before sunset so make sure you get your ticket way before the last bus is due out, or keep your day pass safe for the return journey.
An hour and half later, the sun had set and I reached Nobeoka for the fast train back to Miyazaki.