Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Takachiho Gorge In Kyushu: Most Beautiful Waterfall In Japan


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Georgiana Runnels



Located in the scenic Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu, Takachiho Gorge is a breathtaking natural wonder that captures the essence of Japan’s beauty. This picturesque gorge, formed by the Gokase River cutting through volcanic rock over millions of years, offers visitors an enchanting landscape of steep cliffs, lush greenery, and cascading waterfalls.


Takachiho Gorge holds a significant place in Japanese mythology and is surrounded by folklore and legends. It is believed to be the spot where the sun goddess Amaterasu hid in a cave, leading to a world shrouded in darkness. Her return to the heavens brought light and life back to the world. This mystical element adds to the allure of the gorge and attracts numerous visitors each year.


Not only is Takachiho Gorge renowned for its natural beauty and mythical tales, but it also offers a variety of activities and attractions that cater to visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or a history buff, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Takachiho Gorge.


This article will guide you through the wonders of Takachiho Gorge, exploring its majestic waterfalls, exciting activities, and practical information, ensuring you have an unforgettable experience when you visit this remarkable destination in Japan.


Overview of Takachiho Gorge

Takachiho Gorge is a natural wonder situated in Takachiho Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu in Japan. It is a prominent tourist destination known for its stunning landscape and cultural significance. The gorge stretches for about 7 kilometers and is characterized by steep cliffs that reach heights of up to 100 meters.


The main attraction of Takachiho Gorge is the Gokase River, which flows through the gorge, creating a series of mesmerizing waterfalls along its path. The crystal-clear turquoise water contrasts beautifully with the surrounding lush greenery, providing a picturesque backdrop for visitors.


Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the paved walking path that runs alongside the river, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the breathtaking scenery. The path offers spectacular viewpoints, giving visitors ample opportunities to capture the beauty of the gorge through photographs.


One of the most iconic features of Takachiho Gorge is the Manai Falls, also known as the “Manai-no-Taki.” This waterfall stands at an impressive height of 17 meters and is renowned for its striking appearance. The cascading water and the lush vegetation surrounding the falls create a truly magical atmosphere.


Another popular waterfall in Takachiho Gorge is the Minainotaki Falls, which is located a short distance downstream from the Manai Falls. With its slender stream of water cascading down the moss-covered rocks, the Minainotaki Falls offer a serene and tranquil setting for visitors to enjoy.


In addition to its natural beauty, Takachiho Gorge holds a significant cultural and spiritual importance. It is believed to be the setting where the Shinto god Niniginomikoto descended to earth and married the granddaughter of the sun goddess Amaterasu, who plays a pivotal role in Japanese mythology.


The pristine beauty, rich history, and mythical aura of Takachiho Gorge make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable experience in Japan. Whether you are an avid nature enthusiast, a culture lover, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Takachiho Gorge promises to captivate your senses and leave you with lasting memories.


The Majestic Waterfall in Takachiho Gorge

One of the main highlights of Takachiho Gorge is its majestic waterfalls that add an extra layer of beauty and allure to the already stunning natural landscape. The sight and sound of cascading water create a soothing and mesmerizing atmosphere, making it a favorite spot for visitors.


Among the waterfalls in Takachiho Gorge, the Manai Falls stands out as the iconic centerpiece. With its powerful flow and a height of 17 meters, the Manai Falls is a sight to behold. The water plunges down from the edge of the gorge, creating a spectacular display of mist and spray, which can be seen and felt from the observation deck located near the falls.


As you approach the Manai Falls, you’ll be greeted by the sound of rushing water and the lush greenery that envelopes the area. The deep turquoise hue of the water adds to the magical ambiance, making it a favorite spot for photography enthusiasts.


Another notable waterfall in Takachiho Gorge is the Minainotaki Falls. While not as large as the Manai Falls, the Minainotaki Falls exude a serene and tranquil charm. The slender stream of water gracefully descends from a height of 9 meters, gliding over the moss-covered rocks. The surrounding greenery and the gentle sounds of the waterfall create a peaceful and calming atmosphere that enchants visitors.


For an up-close and personal experience, visitors have the opportunity to rent a rowboat and paddle along the Gokase River, right to the base of the falls. Being in such close proximity to the cascading water is a truly immersive and exhilarating experience, allowing you to appreciate the sheer power and beauty of nature.


Both the Manai Falls and the Minainotaki Falls offer a different perspective of the beauty of Takachiho Gorge. Whether you stand in awe of the towering Manai Falls or find serenity in the gentle flow of the Minainotaki Falls, these waterfalls are sure to leave a lasting impression and make your visit to Takachiho Gorge truly unforgettable.


Activities and Attractions in Takachiho Gorge

Takachiho Gorge offers an array of activities and attractions that cater to a diverse range of interests, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy. Beyond the stunning waterfalls and scenic beauty, here are some of the highlights that await you in Takachiho Gorge:

Boat Ride along the Gokase River

One of the most popular activities in Takachiho Gorge is taking a boat ride along the Gokase River. Renting a rowboat allows you to navigate the calm and clear waters surrounded by breathtaking cliffs and vibrant green foliage. As you paddle through the gorge, you’ll have an up-close and personal experience with the waterfalls and the sheer walls of the gorge. The boat ride provides a unique perspective and an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Takachiho Gorge.

Takachiho Shrine

Located near the entrance of the gorge, the Takachiho Shrine is a sacred site that holds great cultural and historical significance. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to Niniginomikoto, the grandson of the sun goddess Amaterasu. The shrine grounds are beautifully maintained, and visitors can explore the serene atmosphere, stroll through the forested paths, and witness traditional rituals and ceremonies that take place throughout the year.

Amano Iwato Shrine

A short distance from Takachiho Gorge, you can visit the Amano Iwato Shrine, connected to the mythological tale of the sun goddess Amaterasu. It is believed that she hid in a nearby cave, plunging the world into darkness. The shrine is built near the alleged cave entrance and offers a glimpse into the ancient legend. The surrounding nature adds to the mystical ambiance, making it a must-visit attraction for those intrigued by Japanese mythology.

Takachiho Yokagura Performances

For those interested in experiencing Japanese traditional performing arts, Takachiho offers the Yokagura performances. These ritualistic dances and theatrical performances have been passed down through generations and are enacted to celebrate and honor the gods and deities. The performances take place at various locations in Takachiho Town, including the Takachiho Shrine, offering visitors a chance to witness the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Takachiho Onsen

After a day of exploring the wonders of Takachiho Gorge, relax and rejuvenate at one of the local onsens (hot springs). There are several hot spring facilities in the area, offering a soothing soak in the mineral-rich waters. It’s the perfect way to unwind and reflect on the natural beauty you have experienced during your visit.


These activities and attractions in Takachiho Gorge provide a well-rounded experience, blending natural wonders, cultural heritage, and opportunities for relaxation. Whether you immerse yourself in the beauty of the Gokase River on a boat ride or dive into the mystical tales of Japanese mythology at the shrines, Takachiho Gorge promises to leave you with cherished memories and a deep appreciation for the beauty of Japan.


Access and Transportation to Takachiho Gorge

Takachiho Gorge is nestled in the Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu, making it easily accessible from various parts of Japan. Here are some options for getting to Takachiho Gorge:

By Train

The closest train station to Takachiho Gorge is Nobeoka Station. From major cities such as Tokyo or Osaka, you can take a shinkansen (bullet train) to Hakata Station in Fukuoka. From Hakata Station, transfer to the JR Nippō Main Line and travel to Nobeoka Station. From Nobeoka, you can catch a bus or take a taxi to Takachiho Gorge. The bus ride takes approximately two hours.

By Bus

There are direct bus services from various cities to Takachiho Gorge. From Fukuoka, Kumamoto, or Miyazaki, you can take a bus that will drop you off directly at the gorge. The bus journey allows you to enjoy the scenic beauty during the ride.

By Car

If you prefer to drive, Takachiho Gorge is accessible by car. There are parking facilities available near the gorge, but it is recommended to arrive early, especially during peak tourist seasons, as parking can fill up quickly.

Local Transportation

Once you arrive in Takachiho Town, you can easily explore the area on foot, as most attractions and activities are within walking distance. However, if you prefer a more convenient mode of transportation, rental bicycles and electric scooters are available for hire. These options provide a flexible and enjoyable way to navigate the town and the surrounding area.


It’s important to note that Takachiho Gorge is a popular tourist destination, particularly during peak seasons such as spring and autumn. Therefore, it is advisable to plan and book your transportation in advance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.


As you embark on your journey to Takachiho Gorge, be prepared to be mesmerized by the natural beauty that awaits you. Whether you choose to travel by train, bus, or car, the scenic views along the way will only enhance your anticipation of experiencing the breathtaking wonders of Takachiho Gorge.


Best Time to Visit Takachiho Gorge

Takachiho Gorge is a destination that can be visited year-round, each season offering its own unique charm. However, there are certain times of the year that are particularly recommended for the best experience. Here are the best times to visit Takachiho Gorge:

Spring (Late March to May)

Spring in Takachiho Gorge is a magical time as the surrounding hills and valleys come alive with vibrant colors. Cherry blossoms bloom along the walking paths, creating a picturesque setting. The combination of the cherry blossoms and the cascading waterfalls provides a breathtaking sight, making spring a popular season among visitors. It is advisable to plan your visit during weekdays or early mornings to avoid crowds and fully enjoy the tranquility of the gorge.

Summer (June to August)

During the summer months, Takachiho Gorge offers a cool and refreshing escape from the heat. The lush greenery is at its peak, creating a lush and vibrant backdrop for your visit. The waterfalls flow with vigor, and the boat rides along the Gokase River offer a pleasant respite from the summer heat. However, it is important to note that summer is a popular tourist season, so be prepared for larger crowds and plan accordingly.

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn is considered one of the most spectacular seasons to visit Takachiho Gorge. The foliage transforms into a stunning display of red, orange, and gold hues, casting a magical atmosphere over the gorge. The contrast between the vivid fall colors and the emerald green water is simply breathtaking. It is advisable to visit during the weekdays or early in the morning to fully appreciate the beauty of the autumn scenery and avoid the crowds.

Winter (December to February)

While winter may bring colder temperatures, it offers a unique and serene experience in Takachiho Gorge. The waterfalls freeze, creating stunning ice formations that shimmer in the sunlight. The tranquility of the gorge during winter allows for peaceful walks along the path, with fewer visitors and a serene ambiance. Just be sure to dress warmly and be prepared for icy conditions.


It’s important to check the weather conditions and local forecasts before planning your visit to Takachiho Gorge, as rainfall can affect the water levels of the waterfalls. Regardless of the season, the natural beauty of the gorge is sure to leave a lasting impression and provide a memorable experience for visitors.



Takachiho Gorge in Kyushu, Japan, is a place of extraordinary natural beauty, captivating mythology, and immersive experiences. Whether you are drawn to the powerful waterfalls that cascade through the steep cliffs, the cultural and historical significance of the surrounding shrines, or the tranquility of the gorge’s peaceful ambiance, Takachiho Gorge has something to offer every visitor.


From the iconic Manai Falls to the serene Minainotaki Falls, the waterfalls of Takachiho Gorge are true marvels of nature, leaving visitors in awe of their majestic beauty. The boat rides along the Gokase River provide an up-close encounter with the waterfalls, allowing you to fully appreciate the power and enchantment of these natural wonders.


Beyond the natural splendor, Takachiho Gorge offers a cultural journey through its shrines and performances. The Takachiho Shrine and Amano Iwato Shrine provide glimpses into the rich mythology and history of Japan, while the Yokagura performances offer an opportunity to witness traditional rituals and dances.


Whether you visit during the cherry blossom-filled spring, the vibrant summer, the breathtaking autumn foliage, or the serene winter, each season in Takachiho Gorge offers a unique and captivating experience. It is a place where visitors can immerse themselves in the harmony of nature and find solace in the tranquility of the surroundings.


As you leave Takachiho Gorge, you will carry with you not only memories of its stunning scenery and cultural depth but also a profound appreciation for the beauty and wonder that can be found in Japan. Takachiho Gorge is a testament to the power of nature, the richness of mythology, and the enduring allure of this fascinating country.


So, make sure to plan your visit to Takachiho Gorge and allow yourself to be transported to a world of natural splendor, mythical tales, and awe-inspiring experiences that will stay with you long after you bid farewell to this enchanting destination.