Mt. Uomidake (Fish-Seeing Mountain), 214.8 m above sea level, is a low mountain near the central part of Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is said that it was named so because fishermen watched the movements of fish schools from the top of the mountain.
The area around the mountain top is arranged into a natural park, to which you can go by car. Going up the stairs of the observatory deck, you can command a panoramic view of streets in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Bay, and Chiringashima Island. On a fine day you can also see Mt. Kaimon, the Takakuma Mountain Range and Mt. Ontake in Sakurajima as well as Iojima Island in the distance.
Mt. Uomidake is a part of a volcano that existed in the ancient times. As the southern and eastern sides form sheer cliffs, the mountain is said to be like Diamond Head in Hawaii. About 10,000 cherry trees come into bloom in spring, when the mountain is alive with people who come to enjoy family hiking and driving.
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.
Yuhidaki is a 30 meter waterfall located in Yamada Town in the northernmost part of Shuzenji Town in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. It flows down in two stages; the upper stage is 20 meter tall and the lower stage is 10 meter tall. The white lines of water flowing down on the columnar joint rock surface, which is typical to this region, are very beautiful. The statue of Fudo Myoo is enshrined beside the bottom of the waterfall.
Double-flowered cherry trees that come into bloom in late April and hydrangea flowers that line the walking trail down to the basin in June offer wonderful color contrasts to the waterfall. In winter, on the other hand, the dashing flow of water freezes to create beautiful ice pillars. You will feel as if time has stopped when you see the sharp tips of ice plunging from above your head and protruding toward you.
Maruoka Castle, located in Maruoka town, Fukui pref, is the oldest standing castle with a remaining donjon. The castle, built with an old style stone wall that uses natural found stones, is rather small but has a simple beauty that remains unchanged to this day. The castle was built in 1576 by the order of Katsuie Shibata who was awarded the Echizen territory, now a part of Fukui pref., by Nobunaga Oda, who ruled a vast area of Japan in the Sengoku Period. The castle was built originally in Toyohara town, however, for more convenient road access, it was moved to Maruoka by Katsuie’s nephew, Katsutoyo. The castle employs a unique architectural method. It is three stories high with two layers of roof and there is a watch tower with handrails going around the donjon on the top story. The castle was roofed with Shakudani stone, a local stone, and has thick lattices and black wooden walls, which are unmistakable characteristics of the early style of castle making. The castle has lived through many war-torn periods of deadly strife and carnage. The castle is also known as Kasumiga Joh, Mist Castle, owing to a legend that, at a time of battle, a giant serpent appeared and blew mist over the castle and concealed it from attackers. In 1934, it was designated as a National Treasure. It was destroyed by an earthquake, then later reconstructed and was designated an Important National Property.
Hokkaido Jingu Shrine located in Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku, Sapporo City is one of the major shrines in Hokkaido. The enshrined deities are Okunitama no Kami, Onamuchi no Kami, Sukunahikona no Kami and Emperor Meiji. It was founded in 1869, when the Meiji government decided to set on the development of the land in Hokkaido and they enshrined the three deities to guard the land. In 1871, the name of this new shrine was decided as Sapporo Shrine and the construction of the buildings started. Since then the shrine has been worshipped as the guardian god of Hokkaido as well as the family god of the people living in this island. In 1964, Emperor Meiji was enshrined together and it changed the name to Hokkaido Jingu Shrine.
The precinct is known as a cherry blossom viewing spot. On the annual festival day in June, mikoshi and floats with ohayashi musicians parade in the city. The shrine is selected as “the New Ichinomiya Shrine of Ezo Province (literally meaning “a modern version of the first shrine of Ezo province)” by a civilian shrine pilgrimage group named Zenkoku Ichinomiya-Kai.
Oshu Zenkoji Temple is located in Atagoyama Park in Kurihara City, Miyagi Prefecture. Together with the ones in Nagano City and Kofu City, it is counted as one of the three greatest Zenkoji temples in Japan. Oshu Zenkoji Temple was founded at the end of the Heian period (794-1192) by Fujiwara no Motohira, the 2nd head of the Oshu Fujiwara clan, to mourn for his late father, Kiyohira. The principal image of worship is Zenkoji Nyorai, which is a replicated image of Nyorai at Nagano Zenkoji Temple.
There is a huge weeping cherry tree presumably over 800 years old in the precinct. It is known as “the Cherry Tree in Atagoyama” and a lot of people come to view cherry blossoms in the middle of April every year. Zenkoji Taisai (Grand Festival) is also held during this season. The garden of the temple is crowded with people enjoy walking in flattering cherry petals.
Rinnoji Temple in Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect of Buddhism It was founded in Somekawa in present Fukushima Prefecture in 1441 by Date Mochimune, the 11th head of the Date clan, to respond to the plea by the nun Rantei Meigyoku, the wife of the late 9th head.
Rinnoji Temple is famous for its beautiful Japanese garden named “Rinnoji Zen Garden.” It is a pond stroll garden, which is said to be one of the most wonderful gardens in the Tohoku district. The garden was designed by the priest Fukusada Mugai (1881-1943), who restored the temple after it had declined in the Meiji period.
The pond with the backdrop of red pine and cedar trees reflect the images of weeping cherry blossoms and the three-story pagoda in the middle of April. White and violet flowers of Japanese irises in late June are especially impressive. Walking across bridges over the pond to view the scenery that changes by season, you will have a really relaxing time.
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.