NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/5/31


紅葉川渓谷 Momiji-gawa-kyoukoku Momiji River Valley

Jp En

Momiji River runs down through a valley on Mt. Omoshiro, which lies to the northeast of the city of Yamagata.

A hiking course along the valley enables you to enjoy nature throughout the four seasons, and it is very popular with sightseers.

The valley is especially beautiful between late October and mid November when the leaves turn red or yellow; this change is called 'momiji' and is the origin of the name Momiji River.

The 2km hiking course takes about 40 minutes to walk along slowly. Here and there running into the valley are waterfalls such as 'Wisteria Waterfall' and 'Illusional Dragon Waterfall'. Moreover, there are many unique rocks in the valley such as 'Whale Rock' or 'Treasure Rock'. And there are many strange ones, too.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of views of the river; some parts of the river are broad and some run between rocks. The canyon is also very popular among photographers.
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明道の滝 Myoudounotaki Myodo Waterfall

Jp En

Myodo Waterfall is fed by the waters of the Mogami River, and is located in Yonezawa, Yamagata prefecture. More precisely, the upper part of the Mogami River is called the Matsu River, and the waterfall lies along the course of the Matsu River.

The powerful waterfall can be seen from an observation deck on a hiking course on Mt. Nishi-Gosai. The waterfall is on a precipice and you cannot get much closer to it.

The district is in the mountainous area of Yonezawa. To the west are the Asahi Mountains, to the east are the Ouu Mountains, and the Gosai Mountains are to the south. Yonezawa City lies in the basin formed by these mountains. The 100-ha wetland here is a treasury of alpine plants.

There are some hot springs in the area that are visited by many people all year long. Autumn is especially popular when the leaves around the waterfall turn beautifully red. A 'water' line runs through the red leaves. The sight is a symbol of the headstream.
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2007/1/22


飛雪の滝 Hisetsuno-taki Hisetsu-no-taki (Waterfall of Flying Snow)

Jp En

Hisetsu-no-taki is located in Asari, Kihou-cho, Minamimuro, Mie Prefecture, and is 30m high and 12m wide.

In olden times, the waterfall was called the 'waterfall of the valley of bamboo' because of the thick bamboo forest in the valley where it falls. The name, Hisetsu-no-taki, derives from Yorinobu Tokugawa's poem written after seeing the waterfall:

Passing over many mountains the river is rich
The surroundings are all of a deep autumn color
The waterfall
One protruding rock being caressed by the water
When the wind blows
The scattering droplets dance like a snow swirl.

While being the easiest waterfall to reach in Kihou-cho, its wonderful surroundings make it seem as though it is a grand waterfall hidden deep inside the mountains.

Asazato Shrine is located to the east of the waterfall, and the stream that leads to the fall runs through the shrine's sacred grounds.

The sight of the water droplets scattering like a snow swirl as they strike the undulating and protruding rock-face gives the observer a subconscious sense of an ethereal, profound atmosphere that seems almost unreal.
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2007/1/19


紅葉 Kouyou Autumnal Leaves

Jp En

When autumn arrives, the leaves of deciduous trees turn color, but because of the strong impression of leaves turning red, the autumnal color-changing of leaves is generally called 'kouyou (red/reddening leaves)'. Accurately defined, leaves that turn yellow are called 'ouyou (yellow/yellowing leaves)', while leaves that turn brown are called 'katsuyou (brown/browning leaves)' and so on, respectively.

No matter the color, the substance that is said to have a large part in causing leaves to turn color is a pigment called anthocyanin.

The color-changing of leaves begins when weather with a minimum temperature of 8 degrees Celsius continues for several days. When the minimum temperature dips below 5 degrees Celsius, the color-changing process becomes faster. The best conditions for beautiful color-changing are, long sunshine duration, strong UV rays, appropriate humidity, and a large difference between day temperature and night temperature.

Almost all of the famous 'kouyou' locations are in environments where these requirements are adequately fulfilled. Along with 'hanami (cherry-blossom viewing)' in spring, the 'kouyougari (red-leaf watching)' of autumn is also a nationwide event.
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2007/1/17


十二滝 Jyuunitaki Junitaki Waterfall

Jp En

Junitaki Waterfall consists of 12 (juni) stages, and is fed by the waters of the headstream of the Aizawa River. It is near the town of Hirata, in Higashida-gun, Yamagata prefecture. It is known as one of the three major waterfalls of Akumi.

The waterfall is situated at the western foot of Mt. Kyogakura and is about 30m high. Each of the 12 stages has a name, such as 'Long-Nosed Goblin (Tengu) Waterfall', 'Snake Waterfall' and 'Riverbank Waterfall'.

Since ancient times, waterfalls have been used as ascetic training places for esoteric Buddhists, who believe that exposure to the water helps to purify the mind and body and enable them to gain spiritual power. Deities like Fudo or Benten are often found enshrined near waterfalls.

In autumn, the leaves around Junitaki turn red, and the combination of their varying colors is very beautiful. In winter, there is a feeling of austerity as the water flows continuously surrounded by white snow.

Yamagata prefecture has about 230 or 10% of all the waterfalls in Japan, making it the prefecture with the highest number of waterfalls in the country.
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みどりが池 Midorigaike Midoriga Lake

Jp En

Located to the east of Mikuriga Lake, Midoriga Lake is a crater lake on the Murodou plains, which is a lava area surrounded by three mountains: Yuzan, Bessan and Jo-dosan.

Midoriga Lake formed in the crater left by an erupting volcano. At 1.6m deep, the water is quite shallow and rocks on the bottom can be clearly seen.

The transparent water reflects the beautiful scenery of the mountain ranges. The real mountains balanced by their reflected image makes an artistic composition. In seasons when lingering snow or fall foliage can be seen, the beauty of the reflected image increases.

By the sides of the lake, the pathways connecting with Mikuriga Lake and Jigoku valley are filled with hikers and sighteers throughout the year. In this area, there are also many alpine as well as water-loving plants such as Fauria crista-galli and Pedicularis chamissonis var. japonica, which is pretty enough for visitors to enjoy when in flower.
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2007/1/16


鳥海山 Cyoukai-zan Mt Chokai

Jp En

Mt Chokai is located between Yamagata and Akita prefectures, faces the Japan Sea and is the second highest mountain in Tohoku. It is 2236m in height and also called 'Deba-Fuji'.

People living at the foot of the mountain have worshipped it as a god. It stands almost vertically facing the coastline. Many kinds of alpine plants are native to this area. For example, the Chokai-thistle and the Chokai-fusuma can only be found here.

The weather tends to change drastically and each season has vivid colors. There is plenty of meltwater running between the valleys and sometimes it appears as waterfalls. The water feeds into many ricefields.

From the top of the mountain in the climbing season, you can see Mt. Iwaki, the Hachimantai mountains and the Oga Peninsula to the north and Mt. Getsu and the Asahi Mountains to the south. Moreover, Chokai Lake, an area of pure water in a small hollow, appears surrounded by green plants. The mountain usually opens to climbers on the first day of May.
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