The Nagoe-kiridoshi is an ancient passageway located between Kamakura and Zushi in Kanagawa Prefecture. Kamakura has many kiridoshi: man-made passageways for defensive purposes. The Nagoe-kiridoshi is one of the seven major kiridoshi in Kamakura, and reaches from Boso to Rokuura.
'Nagoe' means 'difficult pass', owing to the fact that the route involved some climbing.
An 'okirigishi', or man-made carved cliff, some 300m long, can also be found in the vicinity. Formerly a rock quarry, it was carved into a barricade with much labor, evidence that the Nagoe-kiridoshi was a vital defensive position.
After the Edo period, the Asaina-kiridoshi was turned into the central road for traffic and, in turn, the Nagoe-kiridoshi was forgotten. This is one of the reasons why it has kept its original form for many years. The Nagoe-kiridoshi is an ancient passageway that has been designated a National Monument, and which even now, retains its distinct historical atmosphere.
In Chitose, Bungo-ono, Oita Prefecture, there is an impressive sculpture of the Dainichi-Nyorai Buddha (Vairocana: the embodiment of Dharmakaya) carved from rock. It is said to have been made by Nichira in 1533.
The rock sculpture is about 3.2m high and was made using a technique called 'sekishin-sozo' in which the body is carved from stone; the face, arms and legs are made of clay; and the robe is made of plaster.
More than half of the face of the sculpture, which has an intimidating and forceful expression, is covered with dirt and clay which, along with its monstrous torso, creates a distinct and extraordinary atmosphere. The sculpture draws visitors into a compelling and profound world.
Since ancient times, locals profess that the sculpture is an 'ushigami', whose reputed power to work wonders and answer prayers attracts visitors and worshippers.
Festivals take place here twice a year on 28 January and 27 August. In 1976, the sculpture was designated as an Important Cultural Property of Oita.
There is a giant Buddha rock carving in Tonase, Bungo-ono, Oita Prefecture. Although it is considered to have been created by Nichira, certain characteristics and features of the statue are similar to those even before the Kamakura period, and probably date it to the Heian period.
In the center of the shrine is a Fudo Myo-o (principal deity of the great kings), which is about 3.7m high and carved in the full-lotus meditation position. Fudo Myo-o is flanked on the right by a chief attendant, Seitaka Doji (1.73m high), and on the left by the second chief attendant, Kongara Doji (1.7m high). There are subtle traces of red paint on the face of the Fudo Myo-o, and the figure is rare in that it shows both soles of his feet while seated.
This statuary was designated as a national historic relic in 1934. The three major 'Shubun' of the 'Ryudenzan', along with the eight initial letters of the 'Namu-daishi-henjo kongo', are carved into the upper quay of the stone Buddha as a memorial to the earnest beliefs of the Daishi (Great Master).
Yufu River Valley is a beauty spot in Higashiyama and lies between Beppu and Hasama in Yufu, Oita Prefecture.
Prefectural Highway 601 runs for 12 kilometers from Beppu to Yufu through the valley, which is lined with 60m cliffs.
More than 40 waterfalls run down the rock in various places, and there are some 100 inlets, big and small, that produce a mysterious beauty, lending this area the nickname Eastern Tirol. Over time, the Yufu River has eroded a path through the Yufu Tsurumi Mountains to form this valley. The gently curving rockface is unique.
Each year, on the second Sunday of July, Yufu City and Hasama Town hold the Yufu River Valley Festival. The festival is held as a prayer for the people's safety and locals enjoy traditional dancing and music as well as a treasure hunt.
Yufu River Valley is a wonderful scenic area with extraordinary cliffs and waterfalls.
In Naramoto, Oita Prefecture, there is a granite rockface with carvings representative of the Muromachi period.
There are 45 Buddhist figures in all, including Fudo, carved on a rockface measuring 4.5m (L) × 40m (W) wall. Other than Fudo (Fudō-Myōō, Kongaradoji and Seitakadoji) and Yakushisanzon (Bhaisajyaguru, Nikko Bodhisattva, Gekko Bodhisattva), there are sculptures of the Twelve Heavenly Generals, Nio, Jizo Bodhisattva and a mandala that represents the world of Buddhism.
On the upper right hand side of the Fudō-Myōō, it is signed that the rock carvings were made in 1428. However it is hard to believe that all the carvings were made simultaneously, because the lower part seems to be older than the upper ones. In 1957, these granite carvings were designated as an important cultural asset of the prefecture.
Harajiri Taki waterfall, also dubbed the 'Niagara of the Orient', is 120m wide and 20m high. The waterfall is part of the Ogata River, which drops suddenly to produce a spectacular view. Moreover, Harajiri Taki is one of Japan's top 100 waterfalls.
Water shoots down between the U-shaped rocks creating a booming roar. It is most spectacular in the rainy season when the volume of water increases. The scenery of the river and the waterfall are fantastic, ensuring that Harajiri Taki certainly lives up to the name 'Niagara of the Orient'.
The fall was formed about 90,000 years ago. It is thoguht that the fall's oddly shaped rockface was formed during the eruption of Mt Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture. Water gushes through these troughs as part of the fall. The illumination of the scene at night, imparts a fantasy ambience.