Ganbou Rock is a 78-meter-high rock located near the town of Engaru in Noboribetsu county, Hokkaido and is designated as one of Hokkaido’s 100 Natural Spots.
There is an observation deck at the top of the rock, which is a 15-minute walk up.
This rock is the symbol of Engaru and is popularly known as ‘the rock that is the first place to receive the morning sun in this town’ or ‘the rock that is settled warmly in the evening sun’.
The name ‘Ganbou’ is derived from the Ainu word ‘Ingarushi’ (which means ‘the place with a fine view’). It is also known as an historic battlefield of the Ainu people. The view from the observation deck gives a marvelous 360-degree panoramic view.
Sun’s Hill Engaru Park, much loved by the town people, marks the starting point of the hike to the top.
Ganmon Cave, located about the center of Noto Kongo, the most scenic spot in Noto Peninsula, is a cave that wave erosion of the rough Sea of Japan hollowed out in the center of a huge rock. The cave is 15 m tall, 6 m wide and 60 m deep. A small ship can go through it. The towering rock is covered with old pine trees. There are several legends about this cave. The most famous one is that Minamoto no Yoshitsune hid himself in this cave when he headed for Oshu (presently Tohoku Region), escaping from his brother, Yoritomo. Near Ganmon Cave stand a lot of strange places of interest. To the south of Ganmon Cave lie Goban (Go board) Island, where Yoshitsune and his followers are said to have enjoyed playing Igo, and the Takanosu (hawk’s nest) Rock with a height of 27 m, where hawks made there nests, the Fukiagenotaki Waterfall with a height of 27 m, and Senjojiki Rock
Mt. Enodake in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, is a granite rock mountain with a flat mountain top extending from east to west. Though it is not a very high mountain, it can be seen from any place in the city and is blessed with bountiful nature. The mountain is also closely associated with Saigo Takamori.
The trail up the mountain is full of places of interest such as the drinking fountain beside a small waterfall, the ruins of a stone circle, the place named “Maeyashiki,” where the ruins of stone walls can be seen and Senjonozoki Obsevatory, which commands a fine view of the Pacific Ocean. The view from the top of the mountain is also wonderful. You can command a panoramic view of the mountains overlapping one after another.
Mt. Enodake is famous for the breakthrough of the Satsuma forces led by Saigo Takamori. At the foot of the mountain remains a house where the Saigo’s forces had the last strategy meeting after they were defeated by the Imperial troops in the Satsuma Rebellion (1877). The house is preserved as the Ruins of Encampment of Saigo Takamori and open to the public as a history museum. On the November 3 every year, the mountain festival to pursue the trail that Saigo’s forces took is held and joined by a lot of people including those from Oita and Fukuoka prefectures.
The Hokoiwa Rock at the top of the mountain is said to be the tomb of Ninigi no Mikoto. It is said that a shrine was built during the reign of a legendary emperor Sujin and called Enosan Daigongensha Shrine.
Mt. Ashibetsudake (1,727 m) is the highest mountain in the center of the Yubari mountain range in the south central part of Hokkaido. It has steep outline and is known as the finest rocky mountain in Hokkaido. Some associate its lofty shape with Matterhorn in Switzerland and many climbers are fascinated by this steep rocky mountain.
Trekking to Mt. Ashibetsudake takes two routes; Kyu-do, in which you go up to the north ridge and get to the summit, and Shin-do, in which you take the relatively gentle trail along the west ridge. If you try this mountain for the first time or want to save your time, Shin-do is recommended. Kyu-do has many ups and downs going over the ridges and streams and it takes much longer. Nevertheless, if you want to enjoy the charm of this mountain to your heart’s content, you must take the Kyu-do route. The exquisite view from the north ridge will make you forget all the hardship you have experienced on the way and encourage your steps up to the summit.
Mt. Moiwa is a 531 m high mountain in Minami-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido. It was once called “Inkarushipe” in the Ainu language, which means “a place to command a view.” From the observatory at the top of the mountain, you can see the grid shape of the city of Sapporo as well as Ishikari Plain and Ishikari Bay. The night view of the city is especially famous. As most of the streetlights in the city of Sapporo have orange shines, the night view of these orange lights is very exotic.
The northeastern side of Mt. Moiwa is covered in thick virgin forest. There are 160 types of trees and plants including varieties of linden, oak, and white birch. The Moiwa Virgin Forest was designated as Hokkaido’s first Natural Monument in 1912.
In winter, the south side becomes a popular ski resort. Located near the center of the city, Mt. Moiwa is visited by a lot of tourists all through the year.
In the dome-shaped Maruyama hill, 226 meters above sea level, in the western suburbs of Sapporo spread Maruyama Park. This huge 60,000 square meter area contains a virgin forest, which was designated as a Natural Monument in 1921.
In the old times, the Ainu people, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, called this hill “moiwa,” which means “a small mountain.” However, in the Meiji period (1868-1912), when Wajin (ethnic Japanese) immigrated to this place, they called the hill “Maruyama (literally meaning “a round mountain)” because of its shape.
The area around the top of the hill is clustered with trees like oak and Japanese lime, while the area at the foot is with Japanese Judas and Castor-Aralia. There are also a variety of flowers, birds, insects and alpine plants in the hill.
From the rocky hill top, you can command a magnificent view of Mt. Moiwa (a Natural Monument) and Mt. Eniwadake in the distance. Located near the central part of the city, Maruyama Park is a popular recreational spot for residents of Sapporo and visitors to the city.
Oniiwa Park is a scenic spot in Hida-Kisogawa Quasi-National Park. It is located along the mountain stream flowing into Lake Matsuno, which is near the headstream of the Kako River. There are a lot of strange-shaped granite rocks towering along the gorge. Each rock is named according to its shape such as Usu-iwa (Mill Rock), Taro-iwa, Hasami-iwa (Scissor Rock), Byobu-iwa (Folding Screen Rock) and Gyoja-iwa (Mountain Practitioner Rock). There are three routes to walk through the park, which include “Iwato-kuguri Course,” where visitors can enjoy going through an 80-meter-long and narrow tunnel.
The name “Oni-iwa (Ogre’s Rock)” is derived from the legend that once upon a time there lived an ogre named Seki no Taro. In the park is the cave, which is believed to have been his dwelling. At the Bean-scattering Ceremony on Setsubun (February 3) held in this park, the throwers chant “Demons in! Luck in!” in stead of chanting “Demons out! Luck in!”
The granite rocks that have been eroded for tens of millions of years give fine contrast to the deep forest, where visitors can enjoy various seasonal changes including cherry blossoms in spring, fresh green in summer and crimson foliage in fall.
Mt. Tomuraushi is an independent lofty mountain with an altitude of 2141 m located on the border of Biei-cho, Kamikawa-gun and Shintoku-cho, Tokachi-gun in Hokkaido. It is on the edge line connecting Mt. Taisetsu and Mt. Tokachidake. The word “Tomuraushi” means “the place full of flowers” or “the place with a lot of water stains” in Ainu. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. This rocky mountain is called “the inner sanctum of Taisetsu,” where there are full of alpine plants and beautiful ponds and lakes. As it takes a long time to get to the summit from any of the starting points of climb, only experienced climbers could visit this “far mountain” until some time ago. On the way to the summit, there are a lot of unspoiled natural features such as a pond reflecting the reverse image of the mountain or a huge field of flowers at Goshikigahara. Mt. Tomuraushi is a mecca for climbers.