The emerald waters of Takachiho, Kyushu, Japan

Mount Aso’s huge volcanic eruptions have thrown out what is deep inside the Earth. Red hot lava flowing along the slopes and into the valley leaving its traces. Dark ashes covering the landscape. Rocks form under high pressures and temperatures and are then shaped by the erosion process of the water giving birth to the unique canyon of Takachiho. Today crystal clear emerald waters flow as rapids, waterfalls and peaceful streams through this beautiful gorge.

Next to the gorge one can find the serene Takachiho shrine surrounded by century old cedars which is well worth a visit. From there a beautiful path of stairs leads down through the cedar forest to the upper part of the canyon where one will find the lost path merging with the more touristy one. The second part of the trail takes you along the water with spectacular views on waterfalls to the lower part of the gorge where you can rent a boat. This part gets quite busy from 11AM onwards with herds of Japanese tourists. Unfortunately one can’t really have a swim in the Takachiho canyon.

And this is precisely a refreshing swim we needed to cool down from the daily 30°C+ we have had for the past week. Thankfully, the less popular and more challenging to find Kaeda gorge which is a 3-hour drive from there, close to Miyazaki, offered us this opportunity. An 8-km long trail follows the river through a lively and diverse forest with papaya and cedar trees, bamboos,… and one can spot monkeys, wild boars, many birds and insects inhabiting the dense and humid forest. Just watch out for spiders and cicadas which sometimes smash themselves into your forehead in a clumsy attempt of a flight.

If you have time to check out both canyons it is worth it. If only one, Takachiho is a must!

Marcella & Claire

Travel tips:

  • Check out this interactive map (quick tutorial) for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!
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