Mt. Iinoyama, 422 m above sea level, is a beautiful conical mountain in the border of Marugame City and Sakaide City in Kagawa Prefecture. Being called “Sanuki Fuji,” this fine-shaped mountain has been turned in to verses by many poets including Priest Saigyo and Takahama Kyoshi in the old times and Emperor Showa in the modern times. At the top of the mountain, the stone monument inscribed with the Emperor’s poem is erected.
The way to the mountain top is a good hiking course, where you can enjoy flowers of wisteria, peony and lespedeza in each season. A gigantic stone “Ojyomo no Ashiato (footprint of a legendary giant)” on the way is what to see. From the top of the mountain, you can command a panoramic view of the mountains in Sanuki Plain such as Mt. Nekoyama, Mt. Otakamine and Mt. Oasayama, beyond which the Seto-Ohashi Bridge and the Seto Inland Sea are seen.
Karekinada (sea of withered tree) is the sea along a ria coast from Shirahama-cho to Kushimoto-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama Pref. There are some opinions about the origin of its name. One explanation goes that the only port along the coastline that a ship can drop at on a stormy day is Susami Port. There is no other port to take a rest, namely “the shade of a tree” for overland travelers, the rest of the coast is as good as withered trees. Another explanation is that the sea wind and waves of this coastline are strong enough to wither trees. There are strange-shaped stones and huge rocks continuously standing along this inhospitable shore. This is also a part of the Ohechi route of Kumano Ancient Road. It is a steep mountain path above bold cliffs and rocky beaches, but the view from above is said to be the best on the route. It is also known as the setting of a novel “Karekinada” by Kenji Nakagami. The area along the coastline was designated as Kumano-Karekinada-Kaigan Prefectural National Park in 1968, and a strong effort for nature conservation is being made.
Sanbaseki Gorge in the border of Fujioka City, Gunma Prefecture and Kamikawa-machi, Kodama-gun, Saitama Prefecture is nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty and a Natural Monument. Surrounded by steep cliffs, the 1.5 km riverbed of the Kannagawa River is dotted with 48 huge or monstrous-shaped rocks. As early as in the Edo period (1603-1868), names were given to each of these oddly-shaped stones, which were collectively called “the 48 Fine Stones” and the gorge was a popular scenic spot visited by a lot of sightseers.
The gorge is considered to be a geologically precious zone, where green crystalline schist crops out on the ground. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), Kofuji Bunjiro, the founder of Japanese geology, discovered crystalline schist in the area around the Sanba River and named it Sanbagawa crystalline schist, from which the name “the Sanbagawa metamorphic complex” derived later.
With yellow and white stripes on the green stone surface, Sanbagawa crystalline schist, or popularly called Sanba Stone, creates mysterious and wonderful scenery in each season.
Kamikoshi Gorge is a 7 km scenic spot in the eastern part of Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. Contrary to Korankei Gorge down the river, which is always bustled with tourists, this gorge is a quiet place with few visitors. Only the sounds of wind blowing through the valley and water running in the stream can be heard.
There is a fishing zone built in a part of the river, where various natural land features including huge rocks, deep pools, rapids and gentle pools are utilized to create an ideal fishing zone for fanciers of mountain stream fishing.
Satsuki azaleas bloom along the river from the middle of May to early June. When Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) takes root on one of the huge rocks on rare occasions, its beautiful flowers attract attention of the visitors.
Clear stream flows between the continuing huge and oddly-shaped rocks with splashes of water. The deep pools are filled with emerald green water. The water of the stream is so cold that you can’t bathe for a long time even in summer.
Mt. Enodake in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, is a granite rock mountain with a flat mountain top extending from east to west. Though it is not a very high mountain, it can be seen from any place in the city and is blessed with bountiful nature. The mountain is also closely associated with Saigo Takamori.
The trail up the mountain is full of places of interest such as the drinking fountain beside a small waterfall, the ruins of a stone circle, the place named “Maeyashiki,” where the ruins of stone walls can be seen and Senjonozoki Obsevatory, which commands a fine view of the Pacific Ocean. The view from the top of the mountain is also wonderful. You can command a panoramic view of the mountains overlapping one after another.
Mt. Enodake is famous for the breakthrough of the Satsuma forces led by Saigo Takamori. At the foot of the mountain remains a house where the Saigo’s forces had the last strategy meeting after they were defeated by the Imperial troops in the Satsuma Rebellion (1877). The house is preserved as the Ruins of Encampment of Saigo Takamori and open to the public as a history museum. On the November 3 every year, the mountain festival to pursue the trail that Saigo’s forces took is held and joined by a lot of people including those from Oita and Fukuoka prefectures.
The Hokoiwa Rock at the top of the mountain is said to be the tomb of Ninigi no Mikoto. It is said that a shrine was built during the reign of a legendary emperor Sujin and called Enosan Daigongensha Shrine.
Two huge and lofty rocks, which are respectively named the Male-Horaisan and the Female-Horaisan, stand on both sides of the Mitsuishi River, which runs through gentle village hills in the Mitsuishi area in Shin-Hidaka Town in the eastern part of Hokkaido. These rocks have been worshipped by the local people as the god rocks since the ancient times. With an altitude of over 60 meters, the Male-Horaisan has been the symbol of the town.
The name “Horai” derives from a legendary mountain in China, where people can enjoy exceptional longevity. Covered with alpine plants such as alpine roses and Ezo Murasaki Tsutsuji (Rhododendron dauricum), the rock itself has a lot of mystic legends.
Mitsuishi Horaisan Festival is held in early July every year, when a shime-nawa (huge braided rice straw rope), which is 130 meters in length, 3.4 meters in diameter and 2.8 tons in weight, is place between the two rocks. The riverbanks of the Mitsuishi River is bustled with people enjoying a lot of events such as the river crossing parade of mikoshi (portable shrine), the Yosakoi Soran Dance, the Jumbo lottery, a local product fair, and a popular song concert.
The Miroku Waterfall, which is 30 m high and 20 m wide, is located in Takko-machi, Sannohe-gun, Aomori Pref. The name comes from the Buddhist priest, Chugakubo, who worshipped Miroku Bosatsu (Maitraya Bodhisattva) and fasted to offer a fervent prayer to bring about a large waterfall to save people suffering from bad harvest. Going through the tunnel of the green leaves surrounded by the old growth of beech trees, you will stand in front of a huge rock, on which clear strips of water are descending. It is also known as “the Somen (very thin white Japanese noodles) Waterfall.” The water descending in many white strips on the huge rock looks delicate and mysterious. If you stay in front of the waterfall for half a day, both your body and mind will be unstiffened and healed by ions given off from the water splashes and green energy of the forest. The beautiful stream of water in the landscapes that change by the season is worth seeing. There is also a park named Miroku Water Park just next to the waterfall.
Hidaka Yabakei is a 6-kilometer scenic coast along National Route 336 from Ana-iwa Rock in Fuyushima to the mouth of the Horoman River in Samani Town in Southern Hokkaido. The foothill of Mt. Apoi had been eroded by seawater and rough wind of the Pacific Ocean, which created the coast with oddly-shaped rocks and sheer cliffs. As this beautiful scenery of the continuing sheer cliffs resembles the cliffs in Yabakei Gorge in Oita Prefecture, the coast is called Hidaka Yabakei.
Shallowly spread their roots over the cliff, Ezo-yama-tsutsuji (Rhododendron kaempfer) produce red flowers in spring. Together with other alpine flowers such as Ezosukashiyuri（Lilium maculatum ssp. dauricum）and Ezo gentians (Gentiana triflora var. japonica), they delight the eyes of visitors.