While there are so many beautiful places in Japan, this place may fall out of your travel radar. Takachiho Gorge is a hidden gem in Kyushu that you should consider to put it on your itinerary.
I learned about this place when I was flipping through a travel magazine. The image of rowing boats in the gorge with a waterfall left quite an impression. So I suggested going there when my friend and I were on our Kyushu trip.
Takachiho Gorge is located in a small town in the Miyazaki prefecture. While the prefecture is well-known for its beautiful beaches and good surfing spots, Takachiho is nestled high in the northwest, safely guarded by the mountains. Takachiho Gorge is a narrow chasm cut through the rock by the Gokase River. The peculiar sheer cliffs lining of the gorge was owing to the volcanic basalt columns form over a very long time. According to the locals, the surfaces of the cliffs look like scales of a dragon where the stone twisted and flowed along the river. Another awesome sight of the gorge is a 17-meter high Minainotaki Waterfall that was cascading down to the river in the middle of the gorge. It is impressive to witness the waterfall running on a backdrop of dense green foliage and dramatic gray cliffs.
We drove from Mount Aso early in the morning and it took about 2 hours to reach Takachiho Gorge.
There are two ways to explore Takachiho Gorge. Take a walk on the paths along the edge of the cliffs where you could have an overview of the entire chasm from above. The walking trails were well paved and run along the edge of the gorge. There were numerous viewpoints where tourists could stop and take beautiful pictures. At the end of the trail, we took a rest in a Japanese tea drinking shop located on the top of the cliffs to enjoy some tea, udon, and a fantastic view of the gorge from afar. The trail eventually leads to the Takachiho Gorge Boat Rental Station, where you could rent a boat and enter the gorge. Get up close to admire the rock formations and hear the rumbling sound of the waterfall – but be careful that you may get wet if you row right into the falls.
Apart from the cliffs, there are few other attractions to see like the Takachiho Shrine, freshwater aquarium, stocked fishing pond, and somen restaurants (Flowing somen – catching noodles with a flowing somen slide). A small town, Takachiho is nearby where tourist may continue their journey with various bus connections, had they are not driving themselves.