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Takachiho

The small town of TAKACHIHO (高千穂) lies on the border between Kumamoto and Miyazaki prefectures, where the Gokase-gawa has sliced a narrow channel through layers of ancient lava. In winter, when night temperatures fall below freezing, local villagers perform time-honoured Yokagura dances in the old farmhouses, bringing back to life the gods and goddesses who once inhabited these mountains (see p.692). The main reason for visiting Takachiho is to see a few excerpts from this dance-cycle, but combine that with Takachiho gorge, a pretty spot whose strange rock formations are woven into local myths, plus a dramatic journey from whichever direction you arrive, and Takachiho becomes somewhere to include on any Kyūshū tour.