Shibetsu Wetland is located to the north of Notsuke Peninsula in the eastern part of Hokkaido. The wetland was formed on the sand dune facing Nemuro Straight between the Po River, a tributary of the Ichani River, and the Shibetsu River. The wetland area is a part of Po River Historic Site Natural Park. Generally, the wetland in the upstream area is called Kawakita Wetland and the downstream area is called Sanbongi Wetland.
It is a high moor with 170 ha peatland. Also, tundra plants that have existed since the glacial ages about 3,000 years ago can be seen. A wetland is the most fragile land form and so is a peat moss land. Once it is trampled, it takes a long time to recover. Shibetsu Wetland is designated as National Natural Monument and has been preserved carefully.
Hanasaki Lighthouse Kurumaishi (wheel stone) down the path from Hanasaki Lighthouse at the tip of Cape Hanasaki is one of a few of its kind in the world. This unique stone, 6 m in diameter, is a nationally designated Natural Monument. With radial joints in concentric circle, it really looks like a wheel as its name shows.
Besides this huge stone, there are some other wheel stones, 1 to 3 m in diameter, can be found in this area. The radial joints on a wheel stone were created when hot lava was cooled in the sea water in a short time. Amazingly, wheel stones were created as long as 6,000 years ago, when dinosaurs became extinct. Hanasaki Lighthouse Kurumaishi is the symbol of the cape that tells us the memory of mother earth.
This strange rock located in Kozagawa-cho is a nationally designated Natural Treasure. In the midstream of the Koza River with a total length of 56 km, which runs into the Kumanonada Sea and is known for its clear water, there are beautiful gorges formed by natural processes, which can be called the “figurative art created by nature.” One of them is the Kozagawa Gorge, located between Shichikawa Dam and the downstream. Along the gorge continuously stand strange rocks, each of which has a name according to its shape such as Ichimaiiwa (a monolith), Shojo-mine (a girl’s peak), and Mushikuiiwa Rock (worm-eaten rock). Mushikuiiwa Rock has numerous holes created by natural erosion, looking like a beehive. It is a worth-seeing art work made by nature. Kozagawa Gorge is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in the prefecture. In spring, a lot of people come to enjoy cherry blossoms while looking around the strange rocks.
Dogashima is a scenic spot in the western Isu Peninsula. Facing Suruga Bay, its beautiful coastline is compared to Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, one of Japan’s Three Finest Views, and it is called “Matsushima in Izu.” Visitors can fully enjoy its dramatic stone formations created by forces of nature.
The highlight of the sightseeing in Dogashima is Tensodo (Skylight Cave) on Kameshima Island in the close offing of the boat pier. The erosion of waves made a tunnel in the rock. The ceiling of the tunnel is open, and it is just like a skylight. The cave is nationally designated as a Natural Monument.
The three islands (Zojima, Nakanoshima and Takashima) in the offing of the coast are generically called “Sanshiro Island.” At low tide, a 30 meter wide natural stone bridge emerges and connects the islands with the mainland shore so that people can walk to the islands. This stone bar is called a “tombolo” and is prefecturally designated as a Natural Monument.
On the hill near the coast is Orchid Resort Dogashima with an area of 9 hectare. Visitors can enjoy various species of orchids of the season both in the greenhouses and in the open air garden.
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.
A very rare round granite stones can be seen on the bank of the Hirosawa River near the top of Mt. Sanage (629 m) in Kano Town in Toyota City, Aich Prefecture. They are designated as a National Natural Monument.
As the beautiful joints on the surface of the stones look like petals of a chrysanthemum flower, the stones are called “Kiku-ishi (chrysanthemum stone).” This type pf granite stones can be found in the riverbed and the micaceous granite layers in the cliffs along the river. They are 4 to 8 cm in a total size and 2 to 3 cm in a central size. This very rare petal-shaped pattern was formed by the radial alignment of quartz, feldspar and black mica, which are composing the granite.
As the walking trail is set out, you can easily get to the riverbank.
Mt. Yubaridake (1,668 m) is located at the south end of the Yubari mountains in the central part of Hokkaido. Although it takes a lot of time and effort to get to the summit, it is a very popular mountain, for it is full of attractive features and places of interest. One of such sources of interest is a variety of flowers blooming in this mountain. Species specific to this mountain such as Yubariso (Lagotis takedana) and Yubarikozakura (Primula yuparensis) and other alpine plants of 280 species in total can be seen, which is equivalent to the total number of plant species found in Hokkaido. As the habitat of such precious wildlife, the mountain as a whole is nationally designated as a Natural Monument, and it is also selected as one of 100 Fine Mountains of Flower. Mt. Yubaridake is composed of iron-rich rocks, from which only the plants that could be well adapted to this distinctive geological condition have made evolutional advances; thereby there are so many species of plants that are peculiar to this mountain. Contrary to such harsh natural conditions, flowers will always welcome the climbers with their refreshing life energy.
Nemuro Kurumaishi (wheel stone) is down the path from Hanasaki Lighthouse at the tip of Cape Hanasaki, which is famous for Hanasaki crabs. This unique stone is a nationally designated Natural Monument. With radial joints in concentric circle, it really looks like a wheel as its name shows. It looks as if it were a man-made work of art.
The radial joints on a wheel stone were created when hot lava was cooled in the sea water in a very short time. Amazingly, this wheel stone was created as long as 6,000 years ago. Such huge and beautiful radial joints can’t be found in any other place in the world. Standing in front of this stone, we can’t but realize the vital power of the earth. It’s the power that makes the earth itself rotate too.