What is Takachiho Gorge?

a stone monument that says Takachihokyo
Photo by: Natasha Melissa

The Land of the Rising Sun has always been known for its famous Mt. Fuji and its divine temples. Nonetheless, it offers more breathtaking nature sites that you should also consider including in your holiday bucket list. Takachihokyo (高千穂峡) or Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki Prefecture might be the hidden gem that you have been looking for.

Takachiho is often referred to as the land of myths and legends for its appearance in the Japanese creation myths. I had entered my fourth year living in Beppu, Oita when my growing curiosity towards community and tourism around the prefecture urged me to go to this mesmerizing place that all my friends talked about.

At first, I thought a visit during spring or summer might be better compared to the other seasons since the weather will be warmer. However, as I could not wait, I decided to go in November, during the windy fall season. Even though I was exhausted from the three-hour journey from Beppu, as soon as I arrived the alluring view removed all the exhaustion from me in the blink of an eye.

What can you do there?

a park surrounded by red autumn leaves
Photo by: Natasha Melissa

Surprisingly, the red leaves surrounding the gorge during the fall season made the area even more beautiful despite its cold weather. A little garden with a small pool welcomed us at the entrance, where I could see dozens of tourists circle it while talking with each other and enjoying the chilly afternoon. Adjacent to the garden, there are also some restaurants and souvenir shops that you may check after completing the second activity: paddle boating.

three paddle boats floating on a river with a waterfall on their side
Photo by: Natasha Melissa

From the garden, you can walk towards the gorge by going down the circular staircase with an amazing view. Then once you see the boats, you can directly ask the guard to rent one and receive a lifejacket immediately. However, the length of the queue varies depending on the season and time you arrive there. A boat ride costs ¥2,000 with a maximum of three people on a single boat. Nonetheless, two people are more recommended as it will be easier to keep your balance, and definitely to get a better picture.

two people paddling a boat with a waterfall and a bridge in the background
Photo by: Natasha Melissa

Throughout the paddle boat journey, you will be able to experience the astonishing atmosphere of the gorge. The clear water, the refreshing air, the fancy waterfall, and the laugh you will get from the challenges of paddling the boat itself will make it great fun. This gorge reminds me of Furore Gorge in Italy; however, this delightful Japanese version is calmer and more peaceful.

What do other people say about this place?

a gorge with a waterfall and a bridge in the background
Photo by: Natasha Melissa

The pleasant experience that I got from this trip motivated me to talk about the gorge to some of my friends and colleagues. It turns out that one of my students I teach English to, Mayumi Shimogori, a housewife from Oita City, had visited Takachiho three times. She explained to me why she fell in love with the place.

six printed photos of Takachiho placed on a table
Mayumi’s photos of Takachiho

Her desire to have a spiritual trip was what led her to Takachiho, the place that many television shows introduced as “one of the most favored power spots” in Japan. Besides the gorge, she found Takachiho Shrine to be a very interesting spot to visit as she can pray, feel close to the gods and be surrounded with positive energy. In addition to the pleasurable paddle boating, the dazzling heart-shaped stone that she found on the other side of the river became one of the main reasons to go back. She believes that the Takachiho Gorge area has one of the most beautiful scenery in Japan.

One piece of advice that we can take from her is that “different flowers and plants that appear each season always add to the beauty of Takachiho. Besides, during summer, the temperature in the area is not as high as other areas in Miyazaki Prefecture. It’s a perfect destination to have relaxation at all times throughout the year.”

Takachiho Gorge information


Mukoyama, Takachiho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture 882-1103


  • Entry: Free
  • Boat rental: ¥2,000 for 30 minutes (up to three people)

Boat rental hours

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily




  • From Oita or Miyazaki
    • Take the JR train to Nobeoka Station. From Nobeoka Station, take the Miyazaki Kotsu bus to Takachiho Bus Center. The bus ride normally costs ¥1,790 one way, but you can purchase one of the following discount passes:
      • One-day pass (link in Japanese): ¥1,800, sold at convenience stores.
      • Visit Miyazaki Bus Pass: ¥1,500, available for foreign visitors (and not residents.) Sold at Miyazaki Kotsu’s bus centers including Nobeoka Bus Center, major train stations and hotels in Miyazaki City. Check the website for details.
  • From Fukuoka or Kumamoto
    • Take the express bus bound for Nobeoka and get off at Takachiho Bus Center. A reservation is required, and you can do so on Kyushu Highway Bus Reservation Site.
    • From Hakata, it costs ¥4,020 one way. From Kumamoto, it costs ¥2,370 one way.
  • From Takachiho Bus Center, take a taxi to the gorge, which takes approximately ten minutes and costs ¥1,000 one way.

Sadya Azzahra

University student in Japan. I believe what we see depends mainly on what we look for.
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