The Kuji River with a total length of 527 m is a river classified as Class a river by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The area along the river is 1,490 square meters. The name “Kuji” comes from the place name of Kuji-gun through which it flows. According to an ancient local record “Hitachi Fudoki,” when the emperor of the time saw a small hill in the south and thought it resembled a whale, he named this place “Kuji (coming from kujira meaning a whale).” Along this river, there are a lot of nice places for walking and other aquatic sports and activities. It also provided high quality water to the surrounding towns and cities. With many prefectural parks arranged along the river, this area is visited by a lot of tourists all through the year.
Osugi Festival is held in October every year at Osugi Shrine, which is worshipped by local people as the shrine of Anba-sama and Tengu. This festival is known for the music of Anba-bayashi, composed of the sounds of Japanese traditional gongs, drums and flutes, to which the dancers rhythmically dance around the floats dragged by the people in happi-gowns. Anba-bayashi is designated as a National Selective Intangible Folk Cultural Property. The festival dates back to the reign of the fourth Shogun, Ietsuna (1651-1680), when smallpox prevailed in this area. The villagers prayed for the cease of the epidemic by marching around the village carrying the mask of Tengu, which was the guardian deity of the village shrine. According to an old regional record, Hitachi Fudoki, the place where Osugi Shrine is located used to be called “Anba,” which was on the peninsula protruding out of the huge inner sea including present-day Lake Kasumigaura (Nishi-ura and Kita-ura), the Tone River, Inba-numa Pond, and Tega-numa Pond. At the tip of the peninsula stands a huge Japanese cedar tree, which has been called “Anba-sama” and worshipped by the local people as the guardian deity.
Officially designated as an historical site, Kawabe Takamori Ruins consist of 6 large keyhole-shaped tomb mounds, surrounded by 120 graves. All of them have a large keyhole-shaped tomb mound facing different directions.
The ruins have lost their shapes over time due to the increase of surrounding paddy fields. However, this is the only place which has several ruins concentrated in Oita Prefecture. Even in Kyushu, these ruins comprise the the second largest burial site after the Saitobaru Ruins (320 graves) in Miyazaki Prefecture.
The Tsurumi Ruins were the last tombs to be made for the headman of Usa area in the mid-6th century. Furthermore, they are an important historical record of the burial system during the late Kofun period.
Tsukubusuma Shrine is located on Tsukubujima (or Chikubujima), a small 2km-round island in Lake Biwa, Nagahama District, in Shiga prefecture.
This small shrine was originally established in 420 for the deity Asaihime-no-mikoto. In 'Ōmi Fudoki' it is recorded that Tatamihiko-no-Makoto of Mt Ibuki, together with Asaihime-no-mikoto of Mt Asai, had a climbing competition. The outraged loser, Tatamihiko-no-mikoto, chopped off Asai-no-mikoto's head, which became Tsukubu Island. It is believed that as the island head was sinking, it made the sound 'tsuku tsuku', hence the island's name Tsukubujima. Another story relates that the island was named after a bamboo (chiku), which was the first plant that grew there.
The shrine is counted as one of the 'three-major Benzaiten' in Japan, and is also believed to be the oldest in Japan. The main building is beautifully sited in front of Lake Biwa. Ryushinjin Haisho, or the main shrine is located on the cliff. There is a custom that by throwing crockery from this place, the Ryushin (dragon god) will grant your wish. The main shrine is designated as an important cultural asset.
Shinji Lake is located between Matsue and Izumo districts in Shimane Prefecture. The lake is a known a‘brackish-water lake’, because it has a mixture of both fresh and seawater. Also, it is said that it was formed 10,000 years ago. The word Shinji evolved from the word ‘Swine’s pathway’. It is the 7th largest lake in Japan. Moreover, the lake is a habitat of viand fishes, both fresh water and seawater varieties. In this sense, it is also known as the number-one fare spot for Corbicula japonica. The corbiculidae shellfish plays an important role in the loch. It clarifies the water by swallowing plankton and expelling clean water. It is possible, with the present quantity of shellfish, to purify 5 times the amount of water in Shinji Lake. In winter, over 20,000 birds, including swan, goose and duck, come to the lake. The abundant fish and shellfish that depend upon the lake’s eutrophication (natural enriching with nutrient), a feature of brackish-water, become the prey of the birds. Photographers also gather around the lake to catch the mystery of nature on film.
Oni-no-shitaburi is a national monument of scenic beauty located in the Okuizomo prefectural nature park in Shimane Prefecture.
The name Oni-no-shitaburi derives from the story, Izumo Fudoki. Wani (a shark) loved the goddess of the land Ai, and started to come out of the sea of Japan to see her night after night, so the goddess banked up the river. Despite her spurns, Wani’s feelings grew stronger, and became known as ‘Wani-no-shitaburu’. The name Oni-no-shitaburi is said to be have evolved from a corruption in pronunciation.
In the middle reaches of the Omaki River, a tributary of the HiiRiver, there is a 2km-wide valley associated with the Yamatano-orochi legend. Did the goddess create the rocks? In the valley are gigantic and bizarre rocks eroded and formed by the rapid stream; you feel the grandeur of nature here.
Alng the limpid river, you can see rare birds, such as the Crested Kingfisher and the Brown Dipper, and fishes, such as the Haya and Ugui, that are only found in these parts.
The giant salamander, a Japanese special national treasure, can be found here, too. You can also see various plants found only in this valley.
One of Japan’s oldest hot springs, Dogo Hot spring in Matsuyama City, Ehime Pref. is thought to have a history of 3,000 years. In the “Iyo-fudoki” (an ancient description of Ehime’s natural features), there is a legend that Sukunahikona-no-mikoto (a god of medicine) recovered his health in the hot spring. The name “Dogo” comes from the historical fact that at the time of Taika no Kaishin (Taika Reform Edicts) in 645, kokufu (the provincial office) was established in each province and the area around the kokufu was divided into three districts called dozen, dochu and dogo (an area farther away from the capital than kokufu), respectively. This hot spring has been known for its quality since ancient times and lots of historical characters including Prince Shotoku, Ippen Shonin (Buddhist monk) and Isa Kobayahi (poet) visited this place. It is also famous as the setting for “Bocchan,” a famous novel written by Soseki Natsume. The hot spring is very popular among women because its thin-felt water has the esthetic effect to smoothen the skin. After taking a bath, you can take a nice walk specified as National Important Cultural Properties around the hot spring town around the Dogo Onsen Honkan (the main building), which is specified as National Important Cultural Properties.