Notsuke Peninsula is Japan’s largest sand spit, which is a 28 km long fish hook-shaped peninsula jutting into Nemuro Strait on the eastern edge of Hokkaido. Desolate landscape with withered trees called todo-wara and nara-wara continues endlessly. There used to be forests of oak and beech trees in this area, but the trees were blighted by ground subsidence and seawater erosion. Weathering is still in progress now.
Inside the bay is a tidal flatland, where many species of shellfish and crustacean inhabit. Migratory birds such as Whooper swans and geese come to stay here on their migration in spring and fall. Notsuke-hanto Wetland was designated as a Ramsar Site in 2005 and its ecosystem has been protected by the city government.
Osezaki in Nishiura Enashi in Numazu City in Shizuoka Prefecture is a 1-kilometer cape protruding into Suruga Bay on the west side of Izu Peninsula. It is traditionally called Biwashima (Biwa Island) because, according to the story handed down in this area, it was originally an island formed by the elevation of the sea bottom due to a big earthquake that occurred in 684. The island was named Biwashima but it was connected to the main land by the sand bar formed in the later times.
Located in the innermost part of Suruga Bay, Osezaki has been a famous scenic spot to view Mt. Fuji across the ocean and has been visited by a lot of tourists all through the year.
With stabilized sea conditions, Osezaki is a treasure trove of nature, providing habitats for abundant variety of wildlife. It is famous as the northernmost wild boundary of Chinese bottle trees. Over 1,000-year-old wild Chinese bottle trees form a colony along the promenade on the open sea side of the cape. It is designated as a National Natural Monument. Osezaki is also an internationally well-known dive site.
Notsuke Peninsula is Japan’s largest sand spit (a point of sandy deposit which projects into a body of water) located between Shiretoko Peninsula and Nemuro Peninsula in Hokkaido. This expansion of land stretches as long as 26 km and has a unique shape that is like a shrimp’s bent back. It is famous for its distinctive landscapes called Todo-wara and Nara-wara, the woods of withered trees; Todo-wara consists of oak trees and Nara-wara consists of beech trees.
Shrimp fishery using Utasebune, a traditional 3-sail fishing boat, is practiced on this peninsula in spring and fall. It is a kind of trawl net fishing by using seven pouched nets by which to avoid damaging Zostera (seagrass) used as the bait to catch shrimps.
The outline of an Utasebune boat floating off the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk displays the representative sight of the peninsula. Utasebune fishery can be seen from the sightseeing boat that departs from Odaito Fishery Harbor in Bekkai-cho.
Karasuma Peninsula features an extensive community of lotuses, which spread across Kusatsu in Shiga Prefecture. Stretching out for as much as 9.3ha, there is nowhere else in Japan that has so many lotuses in one place.
Lotuses flower between the middle of July and the middle of August. The best time to appreciate them is early in the morning around 6 a.m. The scene of thousands of lotus flowers swaying above the leaves is simply mesmerizing and takes viewers into a timeless bewitching world.
Alongside the lotus area is an aquatic botanical garden established by Kusatsu town and called Mizu-no-mori (Water Forest), with over 200 species of plants. The garden includes all sorts of lotuses and water lilies, and has a greenhouse (where many Southern garden plants and seeds are cultivated), as well as a small theater, which screens films and picture shows of lotus gardens and all kinds of lotuses.
During the lotus-flowering season, the garden opens earlier than usual at 7 to allow the people who have come to enjoy the lotuses to be able to relax afterwards.
The lotuses of Karasuma Peninsula make a charming and captivating spectacle, harmonizing perfectly with the scenery of nearby Lake Biwako.
Oku-Noto Salt Pan Village is a facility for experiencing salt-production and a museum with exhibits describing the relation of the Noto people to salt.
Because Japan is surrounded by sea, techniques for extracting salt from sea water developed. Most settlements near the sea had salt-extracting facilities.
Salt-extraction techniques can be divided into two main regional types: 'agehama' and 'irihama'. Along the coasts of Noto Peninsula, salt was produced using the agehama technique. For example, in the town of Suzu, where Oku-Noto Salt Pan Village is located, the 500-year-old agehama technique is still used.
In the agehama technique, you draw sea water into a pail and sprinkle it on the sand many times, then let it dry under the sun. The salt itself is tasty and rich in minerals. Not only that but if you use it in cooking, it will make the food tastier.
At Oku-Noto Salt Pan Village, you can experience this traditional salt-production method and make your own original salt. The experience is available from May to September.
Hegura Island is located about 48km north of the Noto Peninsula. The shore has complicated inlets and cliffs formed by exposure to rough waves. The island is about 13m high and some 5km around and is small enough to explore in an hour.
In the past, fishermen from Wajima on the opposite shore would come here during the summer fishing season. But now, the number of inhabitants is increasing. Thanks to currents and landforms, it has many good fishing spots and is especially popular with ama, professional woman divers, who were described in an ancient poem in the Manyoushu (A Collection of a Myriad Leaves).
The views around the island have not changed so much over time and, in summer, many ama come here to dive for fish. In fact, the island is mainly fished by ama, their main catch being abalone, agar, soft seaweed and turban shells.
In addition, the island is a good resting place for birds migrating between Japan and the Asian Continent. In fact, there are some birds that can only be seen here in all Japan.
Ago Bay lies to the south of the Shima Peninsula in Mie Prefecture. It is the biggest landlocked bay in the Shima Peninsula and has a saw-toothed coastline. Big and small, innumerable islands like Kashiko Island are very impressive.
Ago Bay is famous for pearl culture and, in the early Showa period, it was called Pearl Bay. Ago Bay is where a genuine round pearl was invented for the first time in the world, and it is said 'Ago Bay is the home of the pearl'.
The name 'Ago' dates back to the time of the Emperor Tenmu. In prehistoric times, many peoples lived here. There are many stone age tools found here, which were brought from remote Shinshu, evidence of the movements of prehistoric man in Japan.
Ago Bay appears at the beginning of Japanese history, and is a very time-honored sea. The pearl rafts are charming sights, unique to this district and a pleasure for visitors to see.