The Kakita River, a tributary of the Kano River, flows in a southerly direction in the centre of Shimizu Town in Shizuoka Prefecture. This river rises about 40 km away from the southeastern base of Mt. Fuji and fed by springs from the underground water table which is maintained by rain and melting snow that was discharged from Mt. Fuji into Mishima Stream of lava formed about 8,500 years ago.
There are several dozen springs which supply the Kakita River with 1 million tons of water each day. The water temperature in the Kakita River is about 15℃ throughout the year. The quality of the spring water is extremely good and it is called “the Last Clear Stream in Japan” or “the Finest Spring Water in the Orient.” It is counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waters selected by the Ministry of Environment.
In 1986, Shimizu Town built the Kakita River Park, where visitors can see the water springs all through the year from the observatory deck.
Kanro Sensui is a fresh water spring that wells up from Mt. Rijiri (1771m above sea level) in Rijiri Island located north east of Hokkaido.
Because of its beauty, Mt. Rijiri is also called Rijiri Fuji Mountain and was voted one of 100 best mountains in Japan.
Kanro Sensui emerges about a third of the way up at the hill station of Mt. Rijiri which is about 290m above sea level. Its water remains at a near constant temperature of 5.5°C all year round. Kanro Sensui, chosen as one of 100 most remarkable waters of Japan, is located at the northern most point of all these spring waters, and as the name, “Kanro”, implies, the water tastes sweet.
Mt. Rijiri is a scenic mountain and treasure trove of rich plant and animal life including pikhta, jezo spruce, acer mono and erman’s birch. The spring water of Kanro Sensui is rain and snow-melt that has filtered for a hundred years through the rocky underground and emerges with a distinct taste and purity.
Mt. Rijiri is not a high mountain; however, it is dominated by steep paths and caution and appropriate equipment are needed for the ascent. Despite that, the mountain attracts many climbers. Breathtaking views of Sakhalin can be seen from the summit. Resting during the ascent and tasting the spring water on the way to the summit is one of the most pleasurable experiences for the climbers.
The word “Shiretoko” comes from “Sir-etok,” meaning “the end of the land” in the Ainu language. In primeval forests in this end of the land are the mystic lakes called Shiretoko Five Lakes (Shiretoko Goko). There are no rivers feeding these lakes. They were created by the rain and snow collected between strata as the groundwater and springing out over the years.
You can walk around the five lakes in about an hour by following the natural trail. If “Ikko (the 1st lake)” and “Niko (the 2nd lake)” are enough to see, it takes only about 30 minutes.
With a variety of flora and fauna, the area deserves to be called a primeval paradise. If you are lucky, you will have a chance to see Ezo squirrels or Ezo deer on your way.
You will be deeply impressed by the panoramic view of the Shiretoko mountain range seen from the observatory on a nearby hill as well as by the reflected images of surrounding trees on the calm surface of the lakes.
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.
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.
Onyu Island is inside Saiki Bay and faces the Bungo canal in Oita Prefecture. The island's total area is 5.9km2, and its circumference is 17km around.
It is said that Emperor Jinmu came to this island during the anabasis, and drove the broken bow into the ground. Then, a clear and a fresh stream of water sprang from the ground. Today, there is a place called the Well of the God, where fresh water springs out.
The main industry of this island is fishing, and Onyu Island's chirimen and iriko (two kinds of dried baby sardines) are famous nationwide. The freshly processed sun-dried and cured fish are popular as a souvenir.
Onyu Island is a thriving tourist spot. There are beaches and spots for fishing. Also, there is a 'kangaroo park', with kangaroos that were gifted to the island by its sister city in Australia.
The fire that burns during the Onyu Island Don-do Festival, held every January, is said to have originally come from the fire that was lit to send Emperor Jinmu. The fire-light of this festival is believed to bring good luck. People pray for good health. The fire flames up in a gigantic torch over 10m high, making a spectacular sight.
The renowned Isame spring wells out at Kamo Temple in Samegai, Maibara, in Shiga Prefecture.
The spring is mentioned in the 'Kojiki' (Japan’s oldest extant chronicle) and the 'Nihon-shoki' (second-oldest book about the ancient history of Japan). It is said to be the holy water that washed away and cleansed the poison which had induced fever in Yamato-Takeru-no-mikoto (famous for slaying a violent deity at Mt Ibuki on his way back from the East). Legend has it that, in gratitude, Yamato-Takeru named the spring Isame-no-Shimizu.
The source of the spring is on Mt Ryozen and it is said that, as the water wells out and passes through the mountain rock and soil, the flavor as well as the mineral content of the water change.
Isame spring wells out from under a stone wall in the precinct of Kamo Temple to feed into a river which flows along the old 'nakasando' (road through the central mountains). The spring water of Isame, along with the nearby waters of the Saigyosui and the Jyuosui, has become an essential and indispensable source of water for the people of Samegai and can also be said to be 'oasis' water that relieves the tiredness and tension of travelers to this resort.
The famous spring water of Isame has been praised through the ages for its healing and soothing properties since time immemorial.
Gongen Waterfall is a narrow yet majestic waterfall located in Maetsuemachi, in Hita, Oita Prefecture. The waterfall is 15m high but only 5m wide.
Gongen Waterfall is near a narrow path that heads toward Shakage-dake from Ideno on prefectural road No.673. It flows alongside a walkway 200m from the sign. Around the upper reaches of the waterfall, there is a natural forest of shioji (a waterside deciduous broad-leaf tree); the scene created by the red leaves of these trees in autumn is really impressive.
The waters of Gongen Waterfall come from springs that well out from the shioji primeval forest of Gozen-dake. Many small streams gather to flow down the deep valley and become the waterfall.
The young vivid-green leaves of early summer, the crimson leaves of autumn, and the scenery from the summit of the mountain are all breathtaking whenever you see them. Gongen Waterfall in Oita is a place that allows people to feel the breath of nature, and to indulge in deep emotions.