Introduction to Landforms and Geology of Japan


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Columnar Joints and Landscapes


Takachihokyo is a gorge in the central Kyushu. Columnar joints were produced in welded tuff derived from the third and fourth huge pyroclastic flows of Aso Volcano, which enormously erupted four times (about 266 kya, 141 kya, 123 kya, and 89 kya, respectively [kya = thousand years ago]). The beautiful gorge with rock walls developed columnar joints was formed by down cutting of pyroclastic flow deposits filling valleys of the basement rock. A fall down the wall, Manai Fall, makes the gorge scenic. The cliff near the fall is about 17 m high. Colonnade and entablature parts are distinctive on Photo 21. The colonnade part is in the third pyroclastic flow deposit and the entablature part is in the lowest part of the fourth pyroclastic flow deposit.

Manai Fall
Photo 20: Manai Fall

Photo 21: Colonnade and entablature

Takachiho Gorge
Photo 22: Narrow gorge of columnar jointing

[Getting there]

Map for Takachio

Location: Takachiho Town, Miyazaki Prefecture (On the Google map)

Buses for Takachiho Bus Center are available at Nobeoka Station on JR Nippo Main Line, Kumamoto Station on JR Kagoshima Main Line, Fukuoka Station on JR Shinkansen, and Kumamoto Airport. Of them,  Nobeoka Station is the nearest to Takachihokyo, and it takes about 80 minutes.

[Names written in Japanese]

Takachihokyo, 高千穂峡
Manainotaki (fall), 真名井の滝
Takachiho Bus Center, 高千穂バスセンター
Nobeoka-eki (station), 延岡駅
Kumamoto-eki (station), 熊本駅
Fukuoka-eki (station), 福岡駅
Kumamoto-kukou (airport), 熊本空港

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