Mt. Tanzawa with an altitude of 1567 m is on the border of Sagamihara City, Kiyokawa-mura in Aiko-gun and Yamakita-cho in Ashigara-Kami-gun in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a part of the Tanzawa Shumyaku (the great ridge) and a part of Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park. Being close to Tokyo metropolitan area, Mt. Tanzawa is thronged with hikers all through the year.
It is said that “Mt. Tanzawa” on the list of “Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains” includes not only Mt. Tanzawa but also other mountains rising in the central part of the Tanzawa mountain range, which used to be generically called “Tanzawa-san.” However, in the Meiji period (1868-1912), when a land survey was conducted, the triangulation point was placed at this mountain peak and the mountain was tentatively named Mt. Tanzawa. In time, people began to call this mountain alone “Mt. Tanzawa.”
The mountain is covered with the flowers of Yamazakura (Prunus jamasakura), Mitsuba-tsutsuji (Rhododendron dilatatum), Yamatsutsuji (Rhododendrom obtusum) and Shiroyashio (Rhododendron quinquefolium) in spring, Gakuutsugi (Hydrangea scandens), Japanese dogwood, Kobaikeisou (Veratrum stamineum), Yamayuri (Lilium auratumand) and lespedeza in the early summer, and autumn leaves in fall.
Koshimizugaike Pond located in Hioki in Shintomi Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is a pond, which is oblong in north and south and about 1 kilometer in circumference and 7 hectare in area. Having never dried up, the pond is covered with beautiful lotus flowers in summer. From the middle of July to the middle of August every year, white and pink lotus flowers come into bloom and colorfully decorate the surface of the pond.
In winter, lotus roots are harvested in the unique method that has been handed down in this area. It is said that cultivation of lotus roots started by Akizuki Taneshige, the 7th lord of the Takanabe domain, as the measures to save local farmers from food shortage in winter.
Beside the pond is Mizunuma Shrine, which is said to have been founded in the Genroku era (1688-1703). The enshrined deity, Mizuhanome no Kami, is worshipped by the local people as the goddess of agriculture and prevention of bad luck concerning water.
Azabu Gorge is a 1.6 km gorge located in the upstream of the Hazama River, which flows out of Mt. Kurikoma in the northern part of Miyagi Prefecture. It is known as a scenic place where eroded rocks create wonderful figurative art of nature.
The varied scenery of the gorge includes two waterfalls, to both of which visitors can get near by taking the walking trails. The Fudo Waterfall flows down gently with a full river width, while the Shikan-no-taki Waterfall flows down dynamically with splashes of water from the narrow torrent.
In summer, a lot of people come to enjoy fishing, viewing fresh tender green and bathing in cool flow of water. In fall, dense foliage covering rocks turn red and yellow and add flamboyant colors to the landscape. Viewing beautiful red and yellow patterns created on rock surfaces and listening to the sounds of stream, you will be able to spend a luxurious time of refreshment and relaxation.
Mt. Rakkodake (1,471 m) is the main peak of the southern Hidaka Mountain Range. It is counted as one of 100 Fine Mountains in Hokkaido. “Rakko” means “a sea otter” in the Ainu language, but why this mountain was named so is unknown. Having a beautiful conical shape, the mountain is easily identified among other mountains in the Hidaka Mountain Range.
Climbers had to take the steep climbing trail along the Menashunbetsu River to get to the ridge until Rakko Sanso (mountain hut) was constructed at the starting point of the trail up the mountain in 1996. As the road to the mountain hut from the national road was set up, you can now get to the summit in a short time without so much difficulty, while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the mountain streams.
The summit is bold but covered with cute flowers of Miyamakinbai (Potentilla matsumurae Th. Wolf) in summer. You can command a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean can be enjoyed on a fine day.
Mokeuni Pond located in Sarufutsu-mura, Soya-gun, Hokkaido is a pond with an area of 74 ha. The pond is a part of Kita-Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park and a designated wildlife sanctuary, which is rich in wild plants and fish. “Mokeuni” means “a pond with dead trees” in the Ainu. Actually the pond is composed of three large and small ponds; Mokeuni Pond, Konuma Pond and Daiichinuma Pond. These ponds are considered to have been a part of the ocean till the Jomon period. Daiichinuma Pond is surrounded by pasture while the area around Mokeuni Pond and Konuma Pond is full of swampy plant communities such as reed grass. Visitors can command a fine view of Cape Kamui beyond Konuma Pond as well as the Poronupuri mountains, Mt. Pinneshiri and Mt. Shirikomadake beyond Mokeuni Pond. In the summer, you can enjoy cute flowers and swampy plants bloom in cluster in the meadow around the ponds.
Kutsuki-kei (also Kutsuki Keikoku or Omi Yabakei) is a scenic site in Kutsuki, Takashima, Shiga Prefecture.
Kutsuki-kei is a valley featuring pristine nature. The valley extends for about 3km from Takaiwa Bridge to Arakawa Bridge. The presence of irregular-shaped rocks and the silent flow of water make Kutsuki a fantastic sightseeing spot.
The v-shaped valley is formed between the Tanba and Hira mountain ranges. In spring and summer, many fishermen come to the Ado River that runs through the valley. The valley is located to the northeast of Kutsuki village and is especially beautiful at the time of the autumnal leaves.
Because the Ado River provides a passageway for fishing boats to enter the Sea of Japan from the villages, it is also called 'the Mackerel Way'. Kutsuki valley is indeed a scenic spot, which shows off nature's magnificence.
Hidaka Ryumon Gorge is a little up the stream from Iwanai Dam located in the downstream of the Saru River, which runs through Hidaka Town in Hokkaido. It is a twisting gorge with sheer cliffs continuing on both sides.
You can enjoy a full view of the gorge if you go down the stream by canoe or boat in summer. In fall it is a superb spot for viewing autumn leaves. You cam enjoy the exquisite landscape of cliffs covered with red and yellow leaves, listening to the babbling sound of the stream and blown in the autumn breeze.
Note, however, that you must be careful not to lose sense of time. It is said that the day at this gorge is shorter than any other place in Hidaka Town, for the glow of the sunset is blocked out by the sheer cliffs. As is said in a proverb, autumn sun is fast-sinking anyway, but be sure not to be too much fascinated by the wonderful landscapes.
As there is a waterfall with the same name in Sounkyo Gorge, this waterfall is called Shinjo Meoto-daki. The water flows down the height of 10 meters in three stages, first in one flow, then in two lines, which are combined again into one flow at the lowest stage. It is called “Meoto (husband and wife)” because the two waterfalls flowing in harmony with each other in the second stage, where a huge rock divides the flow of water. Seeing that the once-separated two flows are “mated” again, you might feel as if you are looking at joys and sorrows of a human couple.
Because of its complex flowing configuration, the waterfall gives a different impression at each season. It flows most vigorously in the snow melting season, while it looks calm in summer when the water volume decreases. The surrounding area is covered with beech forests and is an ideal summer resort.