Lake Choboshi is a brackish lake located near Otsu fishery harbor in Toyokoro Town in the eastern part of Hokkaido. The lake has a circumference of about 5 km. It is connected to the Pacific Ocean by a narrow sand dune.
The name “Choboshi” derives from an Ainu word “chi-o-pusi-i,” meaning “the place where a river breaks open.” As is shown by its name, the end of the lake actually breaks open and the lake is included in the ocean when water rises.
The area around the lake is surrounded by forests of conifer and broadleaf trees. It is a part of Notsuke-Furen Prefectural Natural Park. The group of plants growing in the sand dune was designated as the prefecture’s Natural Monument in 1963. From spring through early fall, rugosa rose, Yezo daylily and dragon’s head (Dracocephalum argunense) come into bloom.
The walking trail and camping site are provided in the lakeside area. Visitors can enjoy various activities all though the year including lake smelt fishing and yachting on ice. Also, 45 Kannon statues including Ryogoku Holy Place of 33 Kannon are enshrined in the area around the lake.
An old farm house built in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868) is preserved in Jusanzuka Park in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture. It is a standard farm house of the time.
The house has a hipped roof that descends from the ridge on four sides of the building. As was typical to a farmer’s house in this region, the floor is divided evenly into four rooms, which is called the Natori-style floor planning. There is no partition between the rooms and Doma (the earth-floored space). The ridge is supported by three pillars respectively called Ushimochi-bashira, Hoito-bashira and Yomekakushi-bashira, which are made of unfinished lumbers. The pillars create simple but stately atmosphere, typically felt in the Tohoku region.
The house was lived by some family until 1973. It was designated as an Important Cultural Property by the national government in 1974, and after the repair work conducted from 1975 to 1976, it was relocated to its present location. It is a precious historical property that brings the life of farmers in the Edo period to the present day.
Mt. Himetsugi in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture is a mountain with an altitude of 1433 m above sea level. This mountain is on the route of Tokai Shizen Hodo (the Tokai Nature Path) and is the highest peak on the trail from Aonohara in Tsukui-cho through the mountains of Yakeyama and Kibigarayama to Inukoe Pass.
It is said that the name “Hime-tsugi” is derived from the story that once upon a time a daughter of a samurai, Oyamade Hachizaemon, who had fought on the Takeda forces and was defeated in the Battle of Tenmokusan, escaped from the soldiers of the Nobunaga and Ieyasu’s forces and committed suicide by stabbing a dagger into the throat in this mountain. Since then people called this mountain “Hime-tsuki (literally meaning “stabbing of a highborn girl”), which has been corrupted into “Himetsugi.”
The summit of Mt. Himetsugi has a bright and refreshing atmosphere, where you can command a fine view of Mt. Fuji and Lake Miyagase. The larch forest of this mountain is selected as one of Kanagawa’s 50 Excellent Forests. It provides hikers with fresh green in spring through summer and crimson foliage in fall.
Oshu Zenkoji Temple is located in Atagoyama Park in Kurihara City, Miyagi Prefecture. Together with the ones in Nagano City and Kofu City, it is counted as one of the three greatest Zenkoji temples in Japan. Oshu Zenkoji Temple was founded at the end of the Heian period (794-1192) by Fujiwara no Motohira, the 2nd head of the Oshu Fujiwara clan, to mourn for his late father, Kiyohira. The principal image of worship is Zenkoji Nyorai, which is a replicated image of Nyorai at Nagano Zenkoji Temple.
There is a huge weeping cherry tree presumably over 800 years old in the precinct. It is known as “the Cherry Tree in Atagoyama” and a lot of people come to view cherry blossoms in the middle of April every year. Zenkoji Taisai (Grand Festival) is also held during this season. The garden of the temple is crowded with people enjoy walking in flattering cherry petals.
The ruins of old kilns were discovered when an athletic park was being constructed in Handa City, Aich Prefecture. They are considered to be the kilns used from the middle of the 12th to the early 13th centuries. Currently, 3 of the eight kilns are preserved in their original forms and displayed inside the preservation center in the park.
From their relatively small sizes, they are supposed to be used mainly for firing small vessels including bowls, which are called “Yamajawan” by locals. Yamajawan, literally meaning “a mountain bowl,” is a defected product that was thrown away around the kilns. When the mountains were cultivated by the people in later periods, they discovered a lot of pottery bowls and called them “Yamajawan.” There are supposed to have been thousands of kilns built in the mountains in Chita Peninsula.
Nippo Coast is a 120 km ria coast from Saganoseki Peninsula in Oita Prefecture to Mimitsu Beach in Hyuga City, Miyazaki Prefecture in the eastern part of Kyushu. This ria coast was formed by the subsidence of the ground due to the crustal movement of the Kyushu Mountain Range, which separated Kyushu from Shikoku. The name “Nippo (日豊)” is the combination of the names of old provinces, Hyuga (日向) province (present Miyazaki Prefecture) and Bungo (豊後) province (present Oita Prefecture). The whole part of the coast is designated as Nippo-Kaigan Quasi-National Park.
Seen from Cape Hyuga, which is protruding in to the Hyuganada Sea, the white splashes of restless waves make an exquisite contrast with the continuing sheer cliffs. As the seawater is warm and clear, various marine animals such as table corals, Favia corals and stony corals inhabit in the sea.
Ganbou Rock is a 78-meter-high rock located near the town of Engaru in Noboribetsu county, Hokkaido and is designated as one of Hokkaido’s 100 Natural Spots.
There is an observation deck at the top of the rock, which is a 15-minute walk up.
This rock is the symbol of Engaru and is popularly known as ‘the rock that is the first place to receive the morning sun in this town’ or ‘the rock that is settled warmly in the evening sun’.
The name ‘Ganbou’ is derived from the Ainu word ‘Ingarushi’ (which means ‘the place with a fine view’). It is also known as an historic battlefield of the Ainu people. The view from the observation deck gives a marvelous 360-degree panoramic view.
Sun’s Hill Engaru Park, much loved by the town people, marks the starting point of the hike to the top.
Mt. Hirugatake with an altitude of 1673 m is on the border of Sagamihara City and Yamakita-cho in Ashigara-Kami-gun in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the highest peak not only in the Tanzawa Mountains but also in Kanagawa Prefecture. The mountain is a part of Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park.
In the old times, the statues of Yakushi Nyorai, Birushana-butsu (Rushana Buddha) and Hakkai-san Okami (the god of Mt. Hakkai) were placed at the top of this mountain, which was called “Yakushi-dake” or “Biru-ga-take.” The name “Hiru-ga-take” is said to be the corrupted form of “Biru-ga-take (meaning “the mountain of Rushana Buddha).” There is another story, however, that as there are a lot of leeches (“hiru” in Japanese), it was named “Hiru-ga-take.”
It takes a lot of time and strength from Okura, the starting point for a climb, but once you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Mt. Fuji, the South Alps, Mt. Yatsugatake and Oku-Chichibu mountains.