The Shikiro Waterfall is located in the valley behind Eigenji Temple in Higashiomi City, Shiga Prefecture. This 25 m tall waterfall flows down in two stages; the upper stage is 20 m tall and the lower is 5 m tall.
The name “Shikiro” derives from “Shikiro-an,” a hermitage built by Ogura Sanezumi, who was both a good warrior and a good scholar in the late Muromachi period (1336-1573). It is said that he took clear water from this waterfall to offer it to the statue of Buddha every morning. A small statue of Fudo Myoo stands beside the waterfall today.
The waterfall dynamically gushes down the tall cliff. It looks especially beautiful in fall, when it is surrounded with autumn leaves. The water flows at a slant in the upper stage into the first basin, from which it flows down as if it was kinked into the lower basin. The white flow and the emerald green basin make a wonderful contrast. You can enjoy a moment of coolness even in the midst of the hot summer.
Mt. Goshikidake is a volcano composing the Zao Mountain Range in the border of Yamagata Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture. It is 1,674 m above sea level. It is a post-caldera pyricrastic cone in the outer rim of the crator with a diameter of 2 km. At the center of the caldera lies a caldera lake known as Okama, one of the major attractions in Zao area.
The walking trail is set around Okama so that you can go round the lake, which changes colors from cobalt blue or emerald green to brown depending on the weather conditions.
As there is nothing to cut off the view, you can enjoy the scenery of the magnificent Zao Mountain Range covered with crimson foliage in fall. In winter, you can take a close look at snow monsters, which are trees frozen by winds and covered with snow. In any season, you will fully enjoy soaking yourself in the world filled with the wonder of nature.
Lake Okotanpe is a small lake with circumference of 5 km, located in the west of Chitose City, Hokkaido. It is a dammed lake created by lava that blocked the Okotanpe River, which flows out of this lake into Lake Shikotsu. The lake is located in a relatively high land with an altitude of the lake surface of 574 m. The lake is surrounded by the primary forest of Jezo spruce and Sakhalin fir, which create serene hush. Lake Okotanpe, together with Lake Shinonome and Lake Onneto, is counted as one of the 3 mysterious lakes in Hokkaido. The hue of the lake surface varies delicately with seasons or weather. As the lake itself and the surrounding area are designated as a special protection area, visitors cannot go down to the lakeside. However, the lake seen from the nearby observation tower is an exquisite view. If you look down at the mysterious change in color from cobalt blue to emerald green on the surface of the lake, which is surrounded by the huge primary forest spreading at the foot of grand Mt. Eniwa, you will be convinced it’s a really mysterious lake. You can enjoy marvelous changes in nature.
Lake Onneto is located near Lake Akan at the foot of Mt. Akan Fuji. The word “onne” means “old and “to” means “a lake or a pond” in the Ainu language. Lake Onneto lies in the deep forest in Akan National Park. It is a dammed lake due to the eruption of Mt. Meakandake. Lake Onneto is counted as one of the 3 mysterious lakes in Hokkaido; others are Lake Okotanpe and Lake Shinonome. This mysterious lake is called “Goshiki-numa (five-colored-lake)” because the hue of the lake surface varies delicately with seasons or weather, or even with the time of the day. At one time, it looks bright emerald green, and at another, deep cobalt blue. As it looks different in color according to the viewing point, it will be pleasant to walk along the promenade seeking for your favorite color. Walk leisurely to enjoy the changes in color while viewing Mt. Akan reflected on the water surface. What a gorgeous day it will be!
Okama is a volcanic lake 1.5km in circumference and 25m deep. It is located in Zao, Katta district, Miyagi prefecture. The lake lies in the middle of the Zao Mountains, which consist of Kumano, Katta and Goshoku mountains.
Okama has become the symbolic sightseeing place in Zao and has the official name of Goshoku Lake. But it is more commonly known as 'Okama' because its round shape resembles a kettle ('kama' in Japanese).
This lake is distinguished by its mysteriously colored water, which turns from emerald green to cobalt or brown depending on the weather or sunshine. The official name Goshoku ('five colors') is said to come from the changing colors of the water.
The water is mildly-acidic and nothing lives in it. The changing temperatures of the water are very rare and the only place in the world where such a range occurs: until about 10m deep, the temperature falls below 2 degrees centigrade, but below that depth, the temperature rises!
From May to August, many hikers and sightseers visit Zao to see this lake.
Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane (2,160 m) is an active volcano in Kusatsu Town, Gunma Prefecture. Sometimes this mountain and its adjacent Mt. Ainomine and Mt. Moto-Shirane are generically called Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane. Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane is a popular scenic place with a variety of natural features such as bleak surface of mountains covered with volcanic ashes, forests of conifer trees and lakes surrounded with swamps.
The most attractive is the caldera lake called “Yugama” at the top of the mountain. The lake has a diameter of 300 m and a depth of 30 m. It contains beautiful emerald green water as if an artist had poured paint into it. The water in this lake is said to have the highest acidity in the world. There are also other caldera lakes of “Mizu-gama” and “Kare-gama” on both sides of Yugama.
In the area around Mt. Moto-Shirane, many hiking trails are provided and you can see a lot of alpine plants such as gentian, dicentra and alpine rose.
Dairiseki (Marble) Coast is located in the northeastern side of Karakuwa Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture. Islands of white marble stones lie in the calm bay surrounded by marble cliffs. The brilliance of white marble over the clear blue water looks like studded jewels. This beautiful coast was created by the volcanic activities in the Cretaceous period over 100 million years ago. We can’t help being overwhelmed by the grandeur of nature and feel vanity of human existence as well.
The high-quality marble stone quarried from this coast once enjoyed nationwide reputation, but now quarrying has been stopped for preserving its beautiful coastline. Walking along the promenade in the pine grove on top of the cliff, you can command a fine view of the emerald green ocean and white rocks including the marble stone cave. From June through early July, you can also enjoy viewing the community of Nikko-kisuge (Hemerocallis middendorffii var. esculenta), which is very rare in coast areas.
Bishamon-numa Pond is the largest of Goshiki-numa lakes (the five-colored lakes). It is located at 770 m above sea level, has an area of 100,000 m2, and is 13 m deep at the deepest point. The degree of clearness is 4-5 m, which is not very high. The pond looks beautiful white blue on a fine day. The color of the pond changes, ranging from red, blue, green, and cobalt blue to emerald green with the season, the weather, and the position of the sun. The most beautiful is when it looks emerald green, which will dazzle your eyes. The water is strongly acidic. When the sunlight reaches fine particles of aluminum silicate that are deposited at the bottom of the pond, the light is scattered and the color of the pond changes. Also aquatic plants growing in the pond take on greenish color when the water temperature rises. If the sunlight pours onto those plants and the fine particles, the pond looks red or blue. When the water surface is as calm as a mirror, Mt. Bandai and surrounding green or red leaves are reflected on the water, which is very impressive. It is said that the water flows from Ruri-numa Pond, but there is a spring somewhere in this pond itself. The water of this pond flows down into Lake Inawashiro.