The boat ride down the Hozu-gawa River is a 16 km, 2 hour journey through the mountains in Kyoto, from Hozu-cho, Kameoka City to Arashiyama, Kyoto City.
During the time that Nagaokakyo was the capital city of Japan (784~794), Hozu-gawa River was used to transport goods downstream to the Kyoto and Oosaka areas. It was in 1606, however, that the river was formally developed and utilized as an industrial waterway, due mainly to the efforts of Suminokura Ryoukai, who used the river to transport such local products as timber, firewood and charcoal from the Tanba region to Kyoto.
This river trip is now known, even in other countries, as the best boat ride in all of Japan.
The narrow winding course of the river produces many rapids and rocks of various shapes stud the river, providing a challenge to those steering the boats. During the trip, riders can also enjoy the echo of the paddles, sounds of the bush warbler in the valley and a chorus of kajika frogs in the summer.
With such seasonal scenic wonders as cherry blossoms, rock azaleas, lush green leaves, colorful autumn leaves and snowy landscapes, the ride down the river is pleasurable all year around.
Goshiki-dai Plateau, located in the border of Takamatsu City and Sakaide City in Kagawa Prefecture, is the lava mass composed of five peaks. The five peaks are slightly different in color; hereby they were named Black Peak, Blue Peak, White Peak, Yellow Peak and Red Peak according to the five colors of Buddhism.
Driving on the road running on the hillside, you can enjoy fine views of the Seto Inland Sea and the mountains in Okayama Prefecture. You can also enjoy the seasonal changes in scenery including wild birds and azalea in spring and crimson foliage and orange picking in fall. The walking trails, the grass land and camping sites are provided on the hillside. You can also visit Kagawa Natural Science Museum and The Seto Inland Sea Folk History Museum (consolidated into Kagawa Prefectural Museum in April, 2008).
White Peak located in the western part of the plateau is presumed to have been where the retired emperor Sutoku, who had been defeated in the Hogen Rebellion and exiled to this province, was cremated. Many historic sites concerning the retired emperor remain in the mountain.
Mt. Katsuragi is located on the border of Kushira, Gose City, Nara Pref. and Chihaya Akasaka-mura, Minami Kawachi-gun, Osaka Pref. It is a part of Kongo-Ikoma-Kisen Quasi-National Par. Among the Kongosan mountains, this 959-meter mountain is the highest mountain next to Mt. Kongo.
Mt. Katsuragi is believed to be the residence of Hitokotonushi no Okami. Legend has it that when En no Ozuno, the founder of mountain practice, was building a bridge from Mt. Katsuragi to Mt. Kongo, this god helped him with his work only at night because he was ashamed of his ugly face.
The tableland at the top of the mountain called “Katsuragi Highland” is famous for mountain azaleas in spring and Japanese pampas grass in fall. Its diversified mountain path with natural beauty that changes from season to season is popular among hikers.
Maizuru Park in Takanabe Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is where Takanabe Castle was located till the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). As the shape of the premise looked like a crane wheeling in the sky, the castle was called “Maizuru Castle (Flying Crane Castle).”
Maizuru Park Cherry Festival, or also called Maizuru Castle Ruins Cherry Festival, is held from late March to early April. During the festival period, 1,000 stocks of mountain cherry and Somei Yoshino are in full bloom. 2,000 stocks of azalea also come into bloom in this season, making a wonderful contrast with the cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms are lit up at night.
The park is bustled with people who enjoy cherry blossom viewing as well as a lot of events such an the athletic meet, a local product fair, a sketch contest, an entertainment show, tea ceremony and lighting of Maizuru Lantern.
Kanpachi Gorge is a scenic spot extending 2.6 km from the Hirato Bridge to Koshido Dam in the mid-stream of the Yahagi River in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. It is counted as one of the ten scenic spots in Aichi Prefecture.
Before the dam was constructed, the torrent ran through the sheer cliffs with oddly-shaped stones and rocks. It used to be famous for rafting to carry lumbers to lumber dealers’ shops in Fuso Town and the lumberyard in Dodo Town in the down stream of the river. A lot of historic sites including groups of kofun are dotting around the gorge.
Surrounded with cherry trees and azalea trees, the dam lake is visited by a lot of people in the blooming seasons. It is also a popular spot for canoeing as well as for boating and fishing. Its clear water is suitable for various outdoor activities.
Mt. Hiei in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, is a mountain with an altitude of 918 meters. It is nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty. The huge and wide rock cliffs on the western side of the mountain steeply drop into the river below, forming a deep V-shaped valley. The continued granite monolith cliffs create a subtle and profound landscape like a Chinese monochrome landscape painting.
The top of the mountain is composed of three peaks. The climbing route starts from the huge flat rock called “Senjojiki.” The mountain is a popular spot for rock-climbing and visited by a lot of climbers from all over the country. The area around mountain is blessed with bountiful nature including Akebono-tsutsuji (Rhododendron pentaphyllum) and Mitsuba-tsutsuji (Rhododendron dilatatum), which bloom along the trail in early May, and wonderful autumn leaves in fall.
Two huge and lofty rocks, which are respectively named the Male-Horaisan and the Female-Horaisan, stand on both sides of the Mitsuishi River, which runs through gentle village hills in the Mitsuishi area in Shin-Hidaka Town in the eastern part of Hokkaido. These rocks have been worshipped by the local people as the god rocks since the ancient times. With an altitude of over 60 meters, the Male-Horaisan has been the symbol of the town.
The name “Horai” derives from a legendary mountain in China, where people can enjoy exceptional longevity. Covered with alpine plants such as alpine roses and Ezo Murasaki Tsutsuji (Rhododendron dauricum), the rock itself has a lot of mystic legends.
Mitsuishi Horaisan Festival is held in early July every year, when a shime-nawa (huge braided rice straw rope), which is 130 meters in length, 3.4 meters in diameter and 2.8 tons in weight, is place between the two rocks. The riverbanks of the Mitsuishi River is bustled with people enjoying a lot of events such as the river crossing parade of mikoshi (portable shrine), the Yosakoi Soran Dance, the Jumbo lottery, a local product fair, and a popular song concert.
Minamihama Wetland is located in Rishirifuji Town on Rishiri Island in Hokkaido. Spreading to the north of Menuushoro-numa Pond, it is the largest wetland on the island. With communities of colorful alpine and swamp plants, it is one of the representative scenic spot on the island and at the same time an academically important wetland. It is referred to as “the high moor with Japanese red pine trees at zero meters above sea level” or “the unique wetland where skunk cabbages bloom among peat moss.”
As wooden trails are built through the area, visitors can walk and view flowers of snake berry, bog-bean and Iso-tsutsuji (Ledum palustre var. diversipilosum). The wetland is dotted with numerous large and small ponds, where wild birds inhabit. The view of Rishiri Fuji is also very wonderful.