Kurokuma Falls are 15m wide and 85m high, and are located in Ajigasawa, Nishitsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture. They have been selected as among Japan's top 100 waterfalls.
The waterfall is at the branch of the Akaishi River, which flows down from the Shirakami Mountains, and are classed as a World Heritage site. These are the largest waterfalls in the prefecture.
It is said that the waterfalls were named for a figure that looks like a standing bear. 'Kurokuma' means 'black bear'.
A virgin beech forest surrounds the waterfall and refreshes those who visit it. It is possible to access the waterfall by car as there is parking nearby.
The view of the abundant falling water is dynamic, and becomes a masterpiece when seen in the seasons of spring-green and fall-red leaves. It is a recommended site for those who want to get close to Mother Nature herself.
The waterfall passes through Takinozawa and flows into the Akaishi River, where rare fish like the Golden Ayu and the Ito swim.
Kurokuma Falls make a magnificent, dynamic and powerful display of nature
Designated a National Natural Treasure, the Beni-shidare-jizo is a weeping cherry tree estimated to be approximately 400 years old, and said to be the daughter of the 1000-year-old Miharu Waterfall cherry tree.
The Beni-shidare-jizo tree has a base circumference of 6.3m, a trunk circumference of 4.1m at a point 1.3m above ground, and a height of up to 16m. A giant branch spreads 14m to the west from a point 2.5m above the ground. Some 2m above, 11 more large branches spread out in all directions for 18m.
Many descendants of the Waterfall cherry tree have been comfirmed, but no tree can exceed the Jizo tree due to the exceptional beauty of its branches spreading across the sky like wings.
A Jizo-do is built at the foot of the tree where, in the past, and even now, people come to pray for good health for newborn children and protection from premature mortality.
The blossoms are said to bloom annually from mid through late April. The distinct way the lightly colored blossoms of the Beni-shidare-jizo tree flourish in every which way is definitely a sight to see.
The Ishibe cherry tree is named for Jibudayuu Ishibe, one of the senior statesmen of the Ashina clan, and the feudal lord of the Aizu clan during the medieval era. The cherry tree used to be Ishibe's favorite tree in the private garden of his residence.
Today, Ishibe's residence is no more, but the tree can be seen from far away among rice fields. The tree has eight different trunks branching from a single base trunk, and blossoms faster than the Somei-yoshino cultivar because it is of the Edo-higan variety.
The trees blossom from mid- through late April and the view of the tree in full blossom is truly a sight to see. The Ishibe cherry tree is one of the five great cherry trees in Aizu, which include the Sugi-no-ito cherry, Oshika cherry, Tora-no-o cherry, and Haku-boku cherry, and is said to be around 600 years old. It has been designated a Natural Treasure by the city of Aizu-wakamatsu, and also has been designated a Green Cultural Treasure by the Fukushima Prefecture.
The view of the dense trees closing in on Fudousawa Creek deep inside Tsubakuro Valley in Fukushima Prefecture is splendid. It is also one of the most famous fall-leaf viewing spots along the Bandai-aduma skyline, as well as being one of the eight great Aduma viewing spots.
The name Tsubakuro comes from the fact that Asian spotted martins (or iwatsubame in Japanese) often used to fly through and above the valley.
A new Fudousawa Bridge, rebuilt in 2002, allows for visitors to look down on the narrow valley from 80m above. The view of the valley during autumn is breathtaking and the contrast between the variously colored leaves and the white waters of the creek is quite beautiful.
The current Ura-Bandai Mountain was formed after the eruption of Aizu-Bandai Mountain in 1888.
Around the mountain, rare plants and animals inhabit the area encircling Lake Hibara, Lake Onogawa, Lake Sohara and Lake Akimoto. The Ura-Bandai Visitor Center offers much advice on trekking, climbing, and nature observation, as well as many exhibits about the area, which allows for visitors to understand and appreciate the natural beauty of Bandai Asahi National Park.
Every season is expressed beautifully, and almost always stuns visitors with spectacular views. The Ura-Bandai Mountain never fails to mesmerize visitors.
Chokin is a technique used to decorate and embellish a metal article by carving and embossing it with a chisel. It is said that chokin originated as far back as the Kofun period, when techniques such as 'kebori' (fine line carving) and 'sukashibori' (carved openwork) were skillfully and elaborately used to create accessories and so on.
After the Muromachi period, as the crafts for sword-related equipment flourished, chokin metalworking techniques and technology also developed.
At the beginning of the Meiji period, the passing of the Haito-rei law (banning swords in public) led the way for the chokin technique to be used to make accessories and so forth instead. This laid the foundation for the chokin technique seen today.
Mitsuo Masuda (born 1909 and still alive today) is a designated holder of an important intangible cultural property (Living National Treasure) of metal carving. After graduating from the chokin section of the Metal Works Department of Tokyo Art University, Masuda became a pupil of Kenkichi Tomimoto and brought many superb creations into the world.
The most notable feature of Masuda's work are the references to nature in his carved patterns, resulting in carvings that are rich in the sense of the season.
It is said that his plated and gilded creations in particular receive high acclaim and praise. Masuda's bold yet eloquent works show an aesthetic sense of beauty that has been refined over 70 years.
Tsurugahara is a beauty spot in Kusu, Oita Prefecture. The area features a pond surrounded by strange stones and it is said that a cottage belonging to the Mori domain head used to stand here. Since long ago, the beautiful water scenery has been famous.
Standing grandly in the weathered Yaba valley that surrounds the pond, are large round stone column joints and pillars as well as rocky mountains. The rocks and red pines are reflected on the silent surface of the pond.
A small island covered with pines and azaleas lends further calm to the ambience of this spot. It's almost as if you were in a Japanese garden.
There are numerous Buddhist stones as well as 13 Buddhist statues set in 88 places. The weathered surface of the Buddhist stones adds to their intriguing aspect.
Tsurugahara is a beauty spot that gives us different views in each of the four seasons: fresh green in spring; red leaves in autumn; and snow in winter.
Tachihada is a beauty spot in Kusu, Oita Prefecture, and is also known as Sunset Pass. From the Prefectural Highway Mt Kusu that runs alongside it for about 1km, one can see the rocky hills.
Tachihada is a famous spot within Ura-Yaba Valley. In autumn, the area takes on a red color that makes it even more beautiful. The rocky mountains reach up and appear to touch the skies while the green vines add to the wonderful sight. This view harmonizes with the farmhouses that dot the foothills to make a pastoral landscape that seems straight out of a folk tale.
The area is rich in edible wild plants such as bracken, royal fern and 'udo'. At 'Interactive Teahouse', fresh vegetables and dumpling soup are served and many tourists enjoy the different tastes of the seasons. Persimmon trees and local dwellings further complement the landscape. It is indeed a friendly mountain village.
Tachihada is full of scenes that you will never tire of seeing.