Yuhidaki is a 30 meter waterfall located in Yamada Town in the northernmost part of Shuzenji Town in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. It flows down in two stages; the upper stage is 20 meter tall and the lower stage is 10 meter tall. The white lines of water flowing down on the columnar joint rock surface, which is typical to this region, are very beautiful. The statue of Fudo Myoo is enshrined beside the bottom of the waterfall.
Double-flowered cherry trees that come into bloom in late April and hydrangea flowers that line the walking trail down to the basin in June offer wonderful color contrasts to the waterfall. In winter, on the other hand, the dashing flow of water freezes to create beautiful ice pillars. You will feel as if time has stopped when you see the sharp tips of ice plunging from above your head and protruding toward you.
Shinkakuji Temple located in Sanda-machi, Hachioji City, Tokyo is a temple of the Chizan school of the Shingon sect. The main object of worship is Fudo Myoo. The temple is the 71st fudasho-temple of the Tama Shin-Shikoku 88 Holy Sites. The temple was founded in 1411. The temple treasure of the sitting statue of Yakushi Nyorai is designated as a Cultural Property of the city. The bell and bell tower are said to have been dedicated by Hachioji Sennin Doshin (junior officials) in 1660.
Shinkakuji Temple is famous for azalea and “Kawazu Gassen (the Frog Concert).” In the precinct is a pond called Shinji-ike in the shape of the Chinese character for “heart,” around which grow a lot of azalea and they are in full bloom in the middle of June. From the middle to the end of March, a lot of toads move to this pond for laying eggs. Though the toads decreased in number today, there used to be tens of thousands of toads got together here, which was called “Frog Concert” by the local people.
Zuiunzan Honkoji Temple, about ten minutes’ walk from JR Mitsugane Station in Koda Town, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect. It was founded in 1528 by Matsudaira Tadasada, the founder of the Fukozu Matsudaira clan, which was one of the 14 sub-clans of the Matsudaira clan. The principal object of worship is Shaka Nyorai. The statues of Jizo Bosatsu and Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon with 1,000 arms) attending Shaka Nyorai on both sides are said to have been carved by the 12th-century master sculptor, Unkei.
Going along the front approach and passing by a small old shrine on your right, you will get to the red-painted main gate in the Yakui-mon style. Beyond the main gate lie the mausoleums of the Matsudaira clan on both sides of the path. The main hall is a landscape building. The small bell made of alloyed gold, silver and copper is hung under the eaves of the main hall. It was made under the order of Matsudaira Tadatoshi in the early 17th century.
Known as “the Temple of Hydrangea,” it is famous for hydrangea as well as plum and camellia. In June, the front approach and the precinct are covered with wonderful hydrangea flowers.
Raikoji Temple, also known as “Ajisai-dera (the hydrangea temple),” was established in around 1,000 by the priest Genken at the request of his mother and Minamoto no Mitsunaka’s wife, Honyo-ni. The priest Genken was a great grandson of Emperor Seiwa. There are 500 various stocks of hydrangea blooming all over the precinct during the rainy season. Originally 100 stocks of hydrangea were donated by Kawanishi City in 1974, when the main hall was reconstructed. Sine then the temple has been called the Hydrangea Temple and visited by many hydrangea viewers. Blue, pink, white and other brightly-hued flowers in the rain ease up the visitors mind.
Jigenji Kannonin Temple in Tottori City is famous for its pond appreciation garden. The garden was built by the domain lord Ikeda Mitsunaka during the Genroku era (1688-1704) in the Edo period. It took ten years to be completed. Natural slopes are fully utilized to give picturesque impression to the viewers. It was designated as a National Scenic Beauty in 1937.
This garden is specially designed to be viewed not only from inside the room but also from some other points in the garden. The pond occupies one third of 1,300 sq m in total area, in which the rocks are arranged to resemble islands and a waterfall. We can see a strong influence of Horai-styled gardens (a garden focused thematically on legendary island-mountain of immortals Mt. Penglai) prevailing in Kyoto in those days.
Flowering trees such as azaleas, hydrangeas and Camellia sasanqua and Japanese maple trees are planted around the pond to create seasonal changes. Visitors can spend leisure hour over a cup of Japanese maccha tea at Kannonin tea house.
Over 200 species of Japanese and foreign rare bamboo grow in Funaoka Bamboo Grove Park in Yazu-cho, Yazu-gun, Tottori Prefecture. It is one of the few full-scale bamboo gardens in the country. Surrounded with fresh scent and energy that is emitted from bamboo trees and soft green light seen through bamboo leaves, visitors can fully enjoy “bamboo bathing.”
Other than bamboo trees, the park has plenty of high spots including white, pink, mauve and cardinal red flowers of moss phloxes that cover the ground in spring and beautiful azalea flowers in early summer. Landscape that changes from season to season provides visitors with relaxation and refreshment. Evan families with children can spend enjoyable time because barbeque facilities, bungalows and camping site are arranged in the 7 ha. park ground.
The Ogane family’s residence located in Katahama, Makinohara City, Shizuoka Pref. is a private house of an old-established family. The main building (omoya) and Nagaya-mon Gate are nationally designated as Important Cultural Properties. The Ogane family served for Shibata Katsuie during the Warring States period (1493-1573). From the middle to the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), the family performed the duties of O-Shoya (the biggest village headman in the area) and was a wealthy farmer with more than 3,000 koku income.
The main building in Chona-zukuri style (using a lumber curved like a Japanese hand ax) is said to have been built around 1597. The garden beside the main building is made by the master garden designer, Kobori Enshu. In front of Nagaya-mon Gate is the hydrangea garden, where 12,000 stocks of hydrangea and 3,000 Japanese iris are in bloom. The hydrangea Festival is held from the late May through the early July. The former rice storehouse has been reformed into a museum, where the family treasures and other art works are exhibited. Visitors can learn about the way of life in the Edo period at the Ogane family’s residence.
The Hibayama mountains located in the middle of Chugoku Range and on the border of Hiroshima and Shimane prefectures consist of the mountains with more than 1,200 m above sea level. These mountains and the surrounding areas are known for rare grassland plants and rich natural forest.
The main peak, Mt. Hibayama, has been the object of worship since the ancient times, because it is believed that the tomb of Izanami no Mikoto, a goddess of creation and death written in Kojiki, is located at the top of this mountain. With a pair of yew trees standing as the gate at the south front, the tomb, “Goryo,” gives a solemn and holy impression.
Mt. Hibayama is also a treasure trove of plants. The rich forest includes beech and oak trees. Hydrangea serrata, Japanese hydrangea vine and Tricyrtis affinis come into flower in summer, while Kawaranadeshiko (Dianthus superbus) and Tsuriganeninjin (Adenophora triphylla var. japonica) bloom one after another from summer through fall. As it is very cool even in summer (10 ℃ on the average), the Hibayama mountains are visited by a lot of hikers.