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Amanoiwato Jinja Shrine

This famous shrine features in probably Japan’s most famous legend, with thousands of famous stone pillars marking its significance.

This shrine, located in the Takachiho area of Miyazaki Prefecture, is the setting for one of Japan’s most famous legends. It’s said that the cave near to the shrine is where the sun goddess Amaterasu — patron goddess and mythical ancestor of the Japanese royal family — went into hiding, forcing the other gods to find a way to coax her out.

This cave is located across a river from the shrine, on the same side as the entrance gate to the shrine, with an observation deck affording a nice view of the interior (sans any divine occupants, at the time of writing). The path to the cave is lined with a famous series of stone pillars numbering in the thousands, signifying the area’s status as a key Shinto power spot.

If you want to be as close as possible to the source of this supposed mystical power, then follow these pillars until they become too numerous to count — at that point, you’ll be able to approach the cave shrine, and pray with a direct line to Amaterasu herself.

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