In the Takachiho region of Miyazaki Prefecture, where this shrine is located, there are some 88 shrines dedicated to the imperial ancestral deities associated with Japanese mythology. Takachiho Shrine, founded about 1,900 years ago, is the most important of them all. The main hall in the first photo was rebuilt in 1776 and is designated as a national important cultural property. This old building is surrounded by many giant cedar trees, the largest of which is revered as the sacred tree of the shrine. It is said that this cedar tree was planted by Hatakeyama Shigetada, who visited the shrine in the late 12th century as a representative of Minamoto no Yoritomo, who established the first samurai government in Japan based in Kamakura, to show his devotion to the Imperial Family and to pray for eternal peace. This cedar tree is called "Chichibu cedar" in honor of Hatakeyama Shigetada's hometown in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture.
In addition, as shown in the second photo, a sightseeing kagura performance is held every evening at the shrine's kagura hall. Kagura means a sacred Shinto music and dancing and this local kagura is a tradition handed down in this region. This is offered to the deities of the shrine to express gratitude for the autumn harvest and to pray for a bountiful harvest the following year. Officially, the kagura is performed from late fall to early spring of the following year at many kagura halls throughout the region all night long.
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