Shokawa in Toyama Prefecture is a town dominated by water. Water runs from the Hida Mountains into the Sho River and through Mt Goka to appear again at the edge of Tonami Plain, where Shokawa is located. Abundant water also runs to Tonami Plain from mountains in Nanto. Waterfalls and clear water springs occur, too, at many places along the slopes and at the foot of the mountains.
Shokawa features one of Japan's 100 best water sites: Uriwari-no-shimizu, which means 'Split-Melon Clear Water'. To find this site in Shokawa, look for some Buddha stone statues in a shallow cave near the road under a hilly terrace in Iwaguro housing development. In the cave, clear water wells up under the gaze of the Buddhas.
About 600 years ago, legend has it that Shaku-shonin, a founder of Zuisenji Temple in Inami, was visiting this area when one of his horse's hooves suddenly broke through the ground and released clear water. The 'split melon' name refers to a story that a melon once split naturally when cooled in the water here. The water never stops even for extended periods of hot weather, and is thus worshiped as holy water.
A long time ago, a fisherman from Togitsu Beach caught a great amount of mackerels and decided to go to Nagasaki to sell them. When the fisherman was about to pass under this rock, he thought: 'This rock might fall any moment, so I shall wait until it falls'. He waited for a while. And as he waited, the mackerels slowly began to rot. The name 'Mackerel Rotten Rock' comes from this story.
This rock is of hornblende andesitic volcanic propylite. Appearing at any moment to fall, the rock changes its appearance in every season. Today, incidentally, the rock is fixed in concrete, so it will never fall.
Nara Daigan Temple is an Omuro Shingon Buddhist temple in Ouda-ku, Uda, Nara Prefecture. The name of the mountain where it is sited is Mt Satta.
Nara Daigan Temple is also called Shichifuku-ji. Soga-no-umako established the temple on the order of the prince Shotoku. During the Edo period, the Uda Matsuyama clan preserved it.
The principal image of Nara Daigan Temple is a statue of the Eleven-headed Kannon-bosatsu. The temple was once burnt down yet the image was saved miraculously. As a result, the image is now called the 'Non-burning Kannon'.
It is also believed that the image can help avert fire disasters. Within the precinct, rare items include Buddhist stones and Fudezuka of Morino Yoshinori. It is famous for its Lenten fare.
Koiji Beach, one of the beaches on the Noto Peninsula, features white sand and strange rocks that give it a 'feminine' aspect unique to the area.
The romantic name of the beach derives from a sad story of a girl's love for a young man. To enable the man to find her, the girl made a bonfire on the shore at night. Each night they met, but another young man became jealous and made the girl light a bonfire in another place near a hole. When the lover came to find the girl, he fell into the hole and died. In grief, the girl drowned herself in the sea.
Today the beach features a statue of the two lovers sitting at peace together and there is also a lucky bell. Behind these is a red torii gate to a Shinto shrine and Benten Island. The combination of the clear blue sea, white beach and red gate is very beautiful.
On 27 July every year, a fire festival is held on Koiji Beach with bonfires and fire torches that turn the night sky red.
Red beko is a famous local folk toy made in Aizu-Wakamatsu City, Fukushima prefecture.
In the dialect of the Tohoku region, 'beko' means a cow, so 'red beko' is a red cow. The red is said to be effective as a talisman and red bekos are popular as bringers of good luck.
About 1200 years ago, in 807, Tokuichi Taishi built Fukuman-Kozoson in Enzoji Temple. At that time, much wood was brought from the village near the upper Tadami. But the Tadami River was so fast-flowing that the conveyance was difficult. Then, a herd of cattle came from somewhere and helped to carry the wood.
Conveying the wood was very hard, many cows could not make the journey, and only a red cow survived and kept working. The story spread and red beko became a popular gift to encourage the growth of a child and as a charm to ward off plagues.