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Ama-no-Iwato literally means "The cave of the sun goddess" or "heavenly rock cave". In Japanese mythology, Susanoo, the Japanese god of the seas, was the one who drove Amaterasu into Ame-no-Iwato. This caused the sun to hide for a long period of time.
In order to get Amaterasu out of the cave the other gods threw a party outside. When she heard the noise she got curious and peeked but got blinded by the mirror Yata no Kagami and so she thought they were celebrating the arrival of an even greater and brighter goddess than herself, though in reality it was her own mirror image. Then Ame-no-tajikarao forced the cave to open up the rest and the world was bathed in light once again. As Amaterasu stepped out of the cave a holy seal was applied to it so that she couldn't go back into hiding.
Located along the Iwato River is the Ama-no-Yasukawara Shrine. Located in the large cavern, the cave is believed to be where the gods and goddesses met to plan their strategy of drawing Amaterasu out of hiding. The shrine is filled with stones that have been stacked along the river by previous visitors, marking the location as a popular spiritual/power spot in Japan. Visit the cave to feel the energy of the sun, and be sure to add your own pile of stones along the path!
Atmosphere of southern resort with mild weather and palm trees
Heavenly rock cave featuring gorgeous waterfalls and daunting rock formations
Shinto shrine believed to bring good luck for pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing
Interesting rock formations on the island of Aoshima in Miyazaki
Sake storage and brewery in Takachiho
Highlight of sightseeing in Beppu; Eight different hells
Kumamoto Castle Shopping Arcade
Well fortified hilltop castle; several original wooden buildings remain