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薬研渓流 Yagen-keiryuu The Yagen Mountain Stream

Jp En

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.
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縁桂 Enkatsura Enkatsura

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Enkatsura is a gigantic Japanese Judas tree standing in a state forest in Otobe-cho, Hokkaido. The tree is more than 500 years old and towers to a height of over 40m with a trunk circumference of 610cm. It’s a majestic and imposing tree.
   Enkatsura actually comprises two Judas trees standing next to each other, connected by a branch 7m above the ground, and over time it became known as “the tree where a matchmaking god resides” and it has become a popular symbol of love. The tree is well protected by the locals and celebrated by a festival called “Enkatsura Festival” every September 23rd.
A fine shrine was build in front of the tree and a wooden bridge over the stream in front of the shrine was restored. A bell hangs where people pass the bridge and recently it became a place for people who wish to wed in front of the tree.  
Enkatsura was selected as one of “the One Hundreds Giants in woods” in 2000.
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群馬 吾妻渓谷 Gunma Agatsuma-Keikoku Agatsuma Gorge

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Agatsuma Gorge, about 4 km in total length, is a scenic spot in Agatsuma-cho, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma Prefecture. It is nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty. Especially wonderful is “Haccho-Kuragari,” where clear water flows in whirls at the bottom of the valley with a width of 3 m and a height of 50 m. The gorge is called “Yabakei in Kanto” and is famous as the place frequently visited by a master poet Wakayama Bokusui (1885-1928).

It is particularly spectacular during the fresh green season in May and the foliage season in October, when leaves of the surrounding trees are reflected on the surface of emerald green water.

However, about a quarter of the gorge is to vanish before long due to the construction of Yatsuba Dam. Although the construction was first planned 50 years ago, it had been held up for a long time because of the local rights and interest. But the work started at last in the 2000s. It’s a kind of sad to lose a certain part of this beautiful gorge.
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瓜裂の清水 Uriwari-no-shimizu Split-Melon Clear Water

Jp En

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.
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京極のふきだし湧水 Kyougokuno-fukidashi-wakimizu Kyogo Spring

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Kyogo Spring is located in Fukidashi Park in Kyogo-cho, Abuta-gun in Hokkaido. Rising nearby is Mt Yotei (1898m), the tallest mountain in southwest Hokkaido. The foot of the mountain is abundant with springs and fountains, with a total of 17 natural spring sites.

The volume of water issuing from the springs each day is an amazing 530,000 tons. Of the 17 springs, Kyogo Spring has the greatest volume of water: some 70,000 tons each day! The springs are fed by rain or melted snow that percolates through Mt Yotei, then combines with the minerals in the ground in a process lasting 50 to 70 years, before finally welling out as natural spring water. The spring water is classified as 'kanro' (sweet) and is known to be very soft and slightly sweet.

Kyogo Spring was also chosen as one of Japan's top 100 sites for renowned water by the Environment Agency in 1985.

As the spring water pushes up between the mossy rocks and green trees, it releases a pleasant murmuring sound and creates a relaxing, healing space. It's not only the local people who love this spring water, but fanatics, too, who come all the way from Sapporo just to drink it.
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山梨 西沢渓谷 Yamanashi Nishizawa-keikoku Nishizawa Gorge

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Nishizawa Gorge, the riverhead of the Fuefuki River, is located in the bordering area of Saitama, Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures, which is a part of Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. The gorge has a lot of scenic spots such as pit holes made by erosion, Botai-buchi (a deep pool) and many strange rocks including Kaeru-iwa Rock, which looks like a parent frog carrying its child frog on its back, Jinmen-do Cave, the surrounding rock surface of which looks like a human’s face. There are also many waterfalls in the gorge such as the Okubo Fall, the Ryujin Fall and the Koiito Fall. The highlight is the Nanatsugama Godan Fall (7 basins and 5 stages fall), which is divided into two parts: the upper 3 stages and the lower 2 stages. This cute waterfall is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls. The gorge and its surrounding mountains are covered with red and yellow leaves in fall. The gorge was designated as one of 100 Sites Worthy of Preservation into the 21st Century by the Forestry Culture Association. As the walking promenade and bridges are fully arranged along the gorge, a lot of hikers come to enjoy bountiful nature.
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山梨 丹波渓谷 Yamanashi Taba-keikoku Taba Gorge

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Taba Gorge is located in the upstream of the Taba River running through Tabayama-mura, Kita-Tsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture. As the headstream of the Tama River, the gorge prides itself on plentiful water. There are a lot of scenic spots such as the continuing strange rocks along the rapid stream of Nametoro and Oiranbuchi (Oiran Abyss), which is pertaining to a tragic legend in the Warring States period (1493-1573).

Legend has it that once there was a gold mine near the gorge, which had been the financial source for the Takeda clan. However, when the Takeda forces were defeated by the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces in 1575, they closed the gold mine to keep it secret. To prevent the secret from getting out through the prostitutes working in the mine, they ordered the young girls to dance on the hanging bridge and killed them by cutting the suspending ivy while they were dancing. Oiran Abyss is now a famous psychic spot.

There are no walking trails arranged along the gorge, so visitors will view it from the observatories and the tea houses on the national road, Route 411. The whole mountains and water surface are dyed with crimson foliage in early fall. In the vicinity are Nomekoi-yu Bath House of Tabayama Hot Springs and the 247 m slide, which is the longest in the country. Here, in Taba Gorge, adults and children can spend a magnificent day all together.
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奥入瀬渓流 Oirase-keiryuu Oirase Stream

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The Oirase Stream is a mountain stream with the total length of 14.2 km from Nenokuchi at the shore of Lake Towada to the confluence with the Tsutagawa River. You will encounter various waterscapes including rapid flows of water washing large and small moss-grown rocks, the contrast with the surrounding natural forest and a lot of water falls that emerge along the stream. Going along the riverbank trail named Bakufu Road (Cascade Road) that consists of the driveway and the hiking trail, both of which run at the same height as the river bank, you can enjoy the views from different angles. The highlight is the 2.9 km stream from Ishikedo to Kumoi, where the most beautiful stream of Ashura no Nagare (stream) is located. The total hiking course takes about one hour and ten minutes. It’s best suited for your refreshment.
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