After staying in Kumamoto for 2 nights, picked up rental car and headed eastward to Takachiho (in Miyasaki Prefecture).
Dropped by Goroga-taki (height of 50m) and Tsujunkyo (bridge) along the way. As the latter was under repair no access was allowed. Otherwise, water would have been spilling from the centre of the bridge. Nevertheless, the water reflections and new lush green was beautiful.
OTOH, the Goroga-taki (waterfall) was a surprise. While we were looking for ways to get close to the Tsujunkyo where the normal access was blocked, water was gushing loudly from the parking area. Followed signs and steps downhill and reached a suspension bridge where this waterfall could be viewed unblocked.
After lunch in nearby road station, parked car at the base of the gorge after some tight elbow turns with sharp drops. Followed a trail along the narrow gorge for about 1 km. (boat rowing was closed on the day we visited).
The gorge was formed by a river cutting through sheer cliffs, which was formed from volcanic rocks slowly solidifying while flowing into twisted columns and pillars.
The Manai-no-taki (真名井の滝) splashing into the river against a backdrop of lush green and turquoise water reflections was captivating.
Along the trail, there were points where the river was cutting deep and large potholes at the base of the cliffs. As the trail was meandering uphill, we caught sight of 3 bridges crossing the gorge at different elevations. We turned back when we reached the road junction from where we had earlier driven across. The entire walk took about 1 hour and was fairly easy.
Takachiho Jinja (高千穂神社)
Before heading to our onsen hotel in Mt Aso, we dropped by this Jinja at the entrance to the gorge.
The Jinja was surrounded by tall and old Japanese-Sugi (Cedar) trees. One of them was 800 years old and a “husband-and-wife Sugi” where its bases have merged together.
On the side of the Jinja there was a Yokagura hall where a show is performed every night.