Miyazaki, on the southeastern tip of Kyushu, is a prefecture with a tropical feel. It is blessed with a variety of tourist destinations, such as an area that appears in Japanese mythology, and areas with beautiful scenery created by nature. Here are some tourist spots that are particularly popular in Miyazaki.
1. Takachiho Gorge
This is an area at the northernmost point of Miyazaki that appears in Japanese mythology and is mentioned in Japan's oldest historic writings, Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. It is the setting of "Tenson Korin," in which the goddess Amaterasu Omikami in the heavens sends her grandson, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, down to earth. The gorge has amazing scenery with seven kilometers of 80m-high cliffs created from the pyroclastic flow of Mt. Aso, as well as Manai-no-Taki, a waterfall that is designated as one of Japan's top 100 waterfalls. The walking path goes by many famous spots including Takachiho Sankyo, a bridge popular for photographs, the waterfall, Tamadare-no-Taki, and the Sennin-no Byobu rock. You can see the gorge on a rental boat too, so try it if you have time.
2. Udo Jingu
This shrine sits on a cliff on the Hyuga Coast in southern Miyazaki. Throughout the year, many worshipers visit this shrine that has a beautiful and picturesque view created by the scarlet gate and fences and the azure Sea of Hyuga that can be seen from the path beyond the tower gate. It is unusual in Japan for there to be steps leading down to the main shrine, but this is because the shrine is built inside a cave. You can pay your respects amidst mystic surroundings that are cool even during the summer. It is said that your wishes will come true if you throw Undama (100 JPY for five) from the open space at the bottom of the stairs into the hole in a turtle-shaped rock. Give it a try if you have any wishes you'd like to make.
The shrine path beyond the tower gate. The azure ocean spreads out right below.
This is an island with a circumference of about 1.5km. Only Shinto priests were allowed to enter it until about 270 years ago. The island is distinguished by its unusual scenery surrounded by rocks formed by waves called the "Devil's Washboard," which are designated as a Natural Monument. The island has approximately 226 types of sub-tropical flora, including Tabu and Ako trees as well as large clusters of Livistona, a type of tall palm tree, some of which are more than 300 years old. Because it is the setting for romantic liaisons between deities in the Hyuga mythology, many people visit Aoshima Shrine for its matchmaking benefits. You can get to the entrance of the main path of Aoshima by car, and will generally walk beyond that point, but there are also auto rickshaws available to ride if you want to have a southern island experience.
4. Phoenix Seagaia Resort
This is a popular resort hotel that is a Miyazaki landmark recommended for those who want to relax in a sophisticated environment when traveling. The resort finished renovations in August 2016, with 96% of the guest rooms in the main hotel, Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort, renovated. It has a wide selection of facilities, such as a spa, onsen hot spring, pool and golf course, and a variety of activities such as horseback riding and diving so one day is not enough to enjoy all that it has to offer. It is also known for the food made with Miyazaki ingredients served in the more than ten restaurants on site. In particular, Ristorante ARCO has been highly rated by many customers since opening in February 2017.
5. The Sea-cruz Where Wishes Come True
The Sea-cruz refers to an area at the cape of Hyuga where huge rocks have been broken into a shape that looks like a cross. There is an observation deck from which you can see columnar rocks that have been split by the waves over an area of 200m from east to west, 220m from north to south, and at a height of 10m. There is a rock that is in the shape of the kanji character for kuchi (mouth) next to the rock that is split in the shape of a cross, and because the kanji character for "kanau" (to come true) is a combination of kuchi and an element that looks like a cross, it is said that wishes will come true if made here. As a result, the area is referred to as The Sea-cruz Where Wishes Come True. It is located about 15 minutes by car from the station, so the recommended way to get there is by renting a bicycle at Hyuga Station (300 JPY for up to three hours; 600 JPY/day). Umagaze, with an impressive view of a 70m-high sharp cliff, is also near by, so why not take a cycling trip and stop by?
Hopefully this information helps anyone considering going to Miyazaki.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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