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.
Izunuma and Uchinuma are lakes forming a wetland in Senhoku Plain in Miyagi Prefecture. The total area of the wetland is 4 sq. m and the water depth is only 1.6 m at the deepest. Being designated as a Ramsar Site, the lakes provide wintering places for waterfowls such as Greater White-fronted Goose (National Natural Monument) and Bean Goose and habitats for aquatic plants and insects.
Izunuma-Uchinuma Lotus Flower Festival is held from the end of July to the end of August, when the surface of the pond is covered with beautiful lotus flowers. Pale pink lotus flowers among green leaves make a brilliant contrast with clear blue sky. Flowers can be viewed from the walking trails and surrounding roads. Also, as a sightseeing-boat is operated during the festival, you van enjoy viewing the lotus flowers from the boat in the center of the pond.
Goshiki-dai Plateau, located in the border of Takamatsu City and Sakaide City in Kagawa Prefecture, is the lava mass composed of five peaks. The five peaks are slightly different in color; hereby they were named Black Peak, Blue Peak, White Peak, Yellow Peak and Red Peak according to the five colors of Buddhism.
Driving on the road running on the hillside, you can enjoy fine views of the Seto Inland Sea and the mountains in Okayama Prefecture. You can also enjoy the seasonal changes in scenery including wild birds and azalea in spring and crimson foliage and orange picking in fall. The walking trails, the grass land and camping sites are provided on the hillside. You can also visit Kagawa Natural Science Museum and The Seto Inland Sea Folk History Museum (consolidated into Kagawa Prefectural Museum in April, 2008).
White Peak located in the western part of the plateau is presumed to have been where the retired emperor Sutoku, who had been defeated in the Hogen Rebellion and exiled to this province, was cremated. Many historic sites concerning the retired emperor remain in the mountain.
Tamamo Park located near Takamatsu Station and Harbor was originally a site where Takamatsu Castle stood. The castle was built around 1590 by Ikoma Chikamasa, a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Later in the Edo period (1603-1868), it was taken over by Matsudaira Yorishige, a famous Mito Komon’s elder brother, and the town of Takamatsu flourished under the rule of the Matsudaira Family.
This seaside castle was popularly known by its nickname of Tamamo-jo (Pearly Seaweed Castle) because it was built to be well-guarded by the sea, which was named “Tamamo no Ura” after “Tamamo-yoshi,” the poetic epithet used by Kakinomoto Hitomaro when he referred to Sanuki province (present-day Kagawa Prefecture).
A lot of events such as the chrysanthemum shows, tea ceremonies and plant fairs are held in the park all through the year. Hiunkaku in the premise is a historic building, which is used for conventions, flower arrangement exhibitions and tea ceremonies.
Mt. Tanzawa with an altitude of 1567 m is on the border of Sagamihara City, Kiyokawa-mura in Aiko-gun and Yamakita-cho in Ashigara-Kami-gun in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a part of the Tanzawa Shumyaku (the great ridge) and a part of Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park. Being close to Tokyo metropolitan area, Mt. Tanzawa is thronged with hikers all through the year.
It is said that “Mt. Tanzawa” on the list of “Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains” includes not only Mt. Tanzawa but also other mountains rising in the central part of the Tanzawa mountain range, which used to be generically called “Tanzawa-san.” However, in the Meiji period (1868-1912), when a land survey was conducted, the triangulation point was placed at this mountain peak and the mountain was tentatively named Mt. Tanzawa. In time, people began to call this mountain alone “Mt. Tanzawa.”
The mountain is covered with the flowers of Yamazakura (Prunus jamasakura), Mitsuba-tsutsuji (Rhododendron dilatatum), Yamatsutsuji (Rhododendrom obtusum) and Shiroyashio (Rhododendron quinquefolium) in spring, Gakuutsugi (Hydrangea scandens), Japanese dogwood, Kobaikeisou (Veratrum stamineum), Yamayuri (Lilium auratumand) and lespedeza in the early summer, and autumn leaves in fall.
Wakakusayama in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, is the 33 ha. hill rising 342 m above sea level. As three round hills stand in a row, it is also called “Mikasayama (three sedge hats mountain). On the top of Wakakusayama lies the Uguisuzuka Kofun (an ancient Imperial tomb). Built in around the 5th century, it is one of the largest kofuns in Japan. The whole mountain is covered with beautiful grass and it is closed for the greater part of the year to protect the grass except the certain periods of time in spring and fall. The view from the top of the hill can command wonderfully a whole view of a Nara City. It is one of the Newly Selected Japan’s Three Finest Night Views. The Yamayaki festival (the turf fire festival) held on the day before Adults Day is dynamic and nationally famous.
The Yagen Mountain Stream is the 4 km clear stream in an upstream part of the Ohata River, which flows into the Tsugatu Straights. It is at the northern foot of Mt. Asahina and a part of Shimokita Peninsula Quasi-National Park, which includes famous Mount Osore.
It is famous for its beautiful scenery comparable to the scenic beauty of more famous sightseeing spots in the prefecture such as Lake Towada and Oirase Gorge. From tender green in early summer to beautiful autumn colors, visitors can enjoy seasonal changes in scenery.
You can also enjoy forest bathing while walking along the 4 km path beside the stream. It takes about 1 hour from Yagen Hot Springs to Okuyagen Hot Springs. The stream is known as a good fishing spot for sweetfish and Japanese local trout such as Yamame and Iwana.
Near the stream is National Yagen Camping Site, where a lot of people enjoy camping in summer. About 2 km up the stream from the camping site is “Kappanoyu (Kappa’s Hot Spring),” an open-air bath with the legend of Kappa, and Mutsu City Okuyagen Shukei Park, where there is another open-air bath “Meoto-Kappanoyu.”
The hot spring area is called “Yagen” because the shape of the hot spring vent looked like Yagen, a tool used in the making of traditional herbal medicine.
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.