Amano Iwato Shrine in Miyazaki Prefecture is a shrine dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. Located above the picturesque Amano Iwato gorge, the shrine's location next to Amano Iwato cave is pivotal to the origin story of Amaterasu. According to Japanese folklore, the Amano Iwato cave is where the goddess Amaterasu hid after a battle with her brother, which caused the world to go into darkness without her light. This is one of the most famous legends in Japan.
From the shrine grounds, you can see the fabled cave across the Iwato river. However, the cave itself is not open to visitors. Visitors can take a closer look at the cave from an observation deck near the shrine, which is only available upon prior request of a guided tour conducted in Japanese by one of the shrine priests. As this is a sacred site, you are required to purify yourself via a Shinto ritual beforehand.
Near the shrine grounds is Amano Yasukawara, a smaller shrine located within a different cave. This was allegedly the cave where the other deities met to discuss how to lure Amaterasu out of hiding and return light to the world.
15-minute bus ride from Takachiho Bus Center (1-2 hourly intervals)