Miyazaki Prefecture is located in the southeast of Kyushu Island. It is characterized by a mild climate with long hours of sunshine throughout the year, and the sight of phoenix trees lining the streets is tropical itself. The most popular tourist attraction in Miyazaki Prefecture is Takachiho Gorge. Other must-see attractions include the world of wild horses that inhabit Cape Toimisaki, the southernmost point of Miyazaki Prefecture.
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Outline of Miyazaki
Miyazaki Prefecture has an image of being “tropical” to many Japanese. Miyazaki Prefecture has long hours of sunshine throughout the year, and tropical phoenix trees are planted here and there as roadside trees. It has a somewhat un-Japanese image, which is why it used to be a popular honeymoon destination in Japan. Nevertheless, Miyazaki Prefecture is actually a very Japanese place, closely associated with Japanese mythology. A visit to Takachiho Gorge and the nearby Takachiho Shrine will make you realize that this is a power spot that reminds you of ancient Japan. Around the Kunisaki Peninsula in the eastern part of Miyazaki Prefecture, many old Japanese traditional events have been handed down. You will encounter an old Japan that has not been developed much. At Cape Toimisaki, the southernmost point of Miyazaki Prefecture, you will encounter wild horses all around the cape overlooking the beautiful sea. The charm of Miyazaki is that this kind of experience is still possible today.
The best way to enter Miyazaki Prefecture is from Miyazaki Airport. Miyazaki Airport has international flights to and from Seoul and Taipei (Taiwan). As for domestic flights, there are flights to and from Tokyo (Haneda, Narita), Osaka (Itami, Kansai), Nagoya (Central Japan International), Fukuoka, and Okinawa. In addition to buses, trains are available at Miyazaki Airport. It takes about 10 minutes from Miyazaki Airport to Miyazaki City, the prefectural capital, by train. Takachiho Gorge (Takachiho Town), a popular tourist spot, is located inland near the border with Kumamoto Prefecture, so it is closer to Kumamoto Airport. It takes about 2 hours from Kumamoto Airport to Takachiho by highway bus.
Takachiho Gorge, located inland in Miyazaki Prefecture, is one of Kyushu’s most popular tourist destinations. The cliffs, 80 to 100 meters high, stretch for 7 kilometers. These unique cliffs were created by the volcanic activity of Aso in ancient times. Manai Falls, the main attraction, can be viewed from the promenade or approached by rented boats. The view of the falls from below in a rented boat is very impressive. The beauty of the emerald green mountain stream is also an attraction.
The Takachiho area is said to be the place where a family of gods descended in Japanese mythology. Nearby is the cave “Ama-no-Yasugawara,” where the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami is said to have holed up. Indeed, Takachiho has such a mysterious atmosphere.
Takachiho is about 2 hours from Kumamoto Airport by highway bus. On the route from Kumamoto Airport to Takachiho, you can also enjoy the magnificent scenery of Aso.
Takachiho Shrine is one of the most venerable shrines in Japan, said to have been founded about 1,900 years ago. The present main shrine was built in the 18th century. The shrine grounds are home to a magnificent 800-year-old giant cedar tree and a “married couple cedar” with two connected cedar trunks. It is said that if a man and a woman walk three times around the cedar tree holding hands, they will be happy. This shrine is not as large as Ise Jingu Shrine in Mie Prefecture or Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, but it is filled with a sacred atmosphere. Takachiho Shrine is a 15-minute walk from the Takachiho Bus Center.
Cape Toimisaki is the southernmost cape in Miyazaki Prefecture, jutting out into the Pacific Ocean with a series of cliffs. About 100 wild horses of ancient Japanese origin inhabit the 500 hectares of the cape, which is divided by a fence. 300 years ago, local samurai grazed their war horses, and these horses became wild. Known as “misaki-uma,” these horses are small, standing only about 130 cm tall. They graze quietly and do not mind people approaching them. However, visitors are advised to keep a distance of at least 3 meters from the horses. It is especially dangerous to stand behind the horses.
Every year around spring, about 20 foals are born, and you can observe them raising their young. There is a lighthouse at Cape Toi, and you can visit the inside of the lighthouse. There is a promenade at Cape Tsui.
It takes about 2 hours from JR Miyazaki Station to Kushima Station by rapid train. To get to Cape Toimisaki, take the Kushima City community bus (bound for Cape Toimisaki) from Kushima Station, which takes 40 minutes.
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