Mt. Rokushosan is a 611-meter mountain located near Matsudaira Town, the birthplace of the Tokugawa clan, in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. It is counted as one of the three holy mountains in the Mikawa region. The mountain is covered with dense primary forest of conifer including huge cedar trees at the higher altitude and evergreen broad-leaved trees and deciduous trees at the lower altitude. Having an atmosphere of “Satoyama (nearby woodland),” the mountain is loved by local hikers as the place to contact with nature.
Mt. Rokushosan used to be a training ground for mountain practitioners of a temple founded in Mt. Ochizan by the priest Taicho Daishi. At the times when the temple was prosperous, the mountain trail with stone statues of Buddha was set out in this mountain.
At the foot of Mt. Rokushosan is Toyota City Outdoor Activity Center, which is equipped with a camping site, a picnic field and hiking courses for citizens.
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.
Mt. Nanashigureyama is located on the border of former Ashiro-cho and Nishine-cho (presently consolidated as Hachimantai City). With pastureland and vegetable fields in Tashirodaira Highland spreading at its foot, this mountain looks like a gentle vicinal hill; however it is a full-fledged mountain selected by an alpinist, Motoo Iwasaki as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. The mountain has two peaks of Minami-mine (South Peak) with an altitude of 1063 m and Kita-mine (North Peak) with 1060 m. Although the stone triangulation marker is laid at the top of North Peak, South Peak is the higher summit, where a small Gongen Shrine is located. Driving through the extensive meadow with Mt. Tashiro on your left and Mt. Nanashigureyama on your right, you will get to the parking lot, where you can command a view of the whole mountain.
Mt. Senganzan with an altitude of 572 m is one of the Satoyama (woodlands) in the northern part of Oita Pref. Towering rocky cliffs and stone pillars stand from the mountainside to the summit, forming as many as 72 peaks. Different from the surrounding mountains, which are afforested in an orderly manner, this Yabakei-typed mountain consisted of tuff breccia attracts attention of visitors. It is said that a place consisted of strange rocks and bizarre stones was considered as a holy place in the ancient times, and so was Mt. Senganzan, where mountain practitioners trained themselves. At the foot of a towering rock cliff stands Okunoin (back temple) of Hoda Temple, which is 15 minutes’ walk down the hill. The Kannon statue is placed inside this small hall. There is a cave in the rocky cliff adjacent to Okunoin, where Gorin-to (five-ringed stupa) and Hoto (jeweled stupa) are placed. Along the approach to Okunoin stand a stone shrine gate (torii) and the statue of Nio (guardian deity) made in the time of Shinto/Buddhist syncretism.
Hachimen Mountain, in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture, is 659m high, and so named because it looks the same from whichever direction you see it. ('Hachime' means 'eight directions'.)
Hachimen Mountain is a table-top plateau formed by volcanic eruptions from Mount Aso, or in other words, it is a humongous rock formation with steep cliffs. In olden times, it was called Yayama, or Ya Mountain.
The mountain occupies the northeastern corner of Yabahitahiko Quasi-National Park. Hachimen Mountain represents the town of Nakatsu, and relay antennas for local TV stations can be seen on its peak. The Konjiki Hot Springs are located at the foot of the mountain, while Yaba Ravine can be found in the surrounding area. The peak boasts a grand panoramic view of Toyomae and Nakatsu towns, along with the Suo Sea, Yamakuni River, and the rice paddies of the Nakatsu Plains.
Locals say that when returning from faraway lands, they do not feel entirely home until they see Hachimen Mountain. Hachimen Mountain has, and always will be, an inextricable part of the landscape of Nakatsu.
Tachihada is a beauty spot in Kusu, Oita Prefecture, and is also known as Sunset Pass. From the Prefectural Highway Mt Kusu that runs alongside it for about 1km, one can see the rocky hills.
Tachihada is a famous spot within Ura-Yaba Valley. In autumn, the area takes on a red color that makes it even more beautiful. The rocky mountains reach up and appear to touch the skies while the green vines add to the wonderful sight. This view harmonizes with the farmhouses that dot the foothills to make a pastoral landscape that seems straight out of a folk tale.
The area is rich in edible wild plants such as bracken, royal fern and 'udo'. At 'Interactive Teahouse', fresh vegetables and dumpling soup are served and many tourists enjoy the different tastes of the seasons. Persimmon trees and local dwellings further complement the landscape. It is indeed a friendly mountain village.
Tachihada is full of scenes that you will never tire of seeing.
Shiozuka Plateau is a 100ha wide plateau that spreads out high up at an elevation of 1,043m in the Shiozuka peaks. It is located between the towns of Miyoshi in Tokushima Prefecture and Shikokuchuo in Ehime Prefecture.To the west, lies the Kirino plateau near Shikokucho.Until quite recently, the local farmers utilized Shiozuka Pplateau as a place to gather a wild plant called kayagoe, which is used as a kind of fertilizer. To maintain the high quality of the kayagoe, open burnings are still done today. This area is one of a rare type of Satoyama (a hill connected to people’s everyday life) associated with tourism.The place is famous for open burnings in the spring, as well as paragliding, hang gilding, cycling, camping, silver grass and full moon parties over the summer and into the autumn.The plateau has been selected as one of Tokushima’s 88 views by the Tokushima prefectural tourist association and the Tokushima Shinbunsha.The plateau is like a paradise where the great natural surroundings of the mountains and leisure and outdoor activities can be enjoyed.
he collection of villages comprising Gasshou-zukuri farmhouses located in Shirakawago of Gifu pref. and Gokakuyama of Toyama pref. was designated as a World Cultural and Heritage Site in 1996. Shirakawago is generally referred to as a village at Ogimachi in Shirakawa region. Most of the farmhouses were built between the late Edo Period and early Meiji Period.
Gasshou-Zukuri, or Gasshou-style, is made by laying timbers on beams to form a high mountain like shape and are characterized by a steep thatched roof. Its tall triangular roof is designed to displace heavy snow. The houses are built aligned in a north south direction so that they can minimize the wind’s effect and also receive plenty of sunlight; it is an effective system to keep the house cool in the summer and warm in winter.
Bruno Taut, a German architect, described the design in his book as “It is considerably logical and rational, and architecture designed for the common people which is rare in Japan”. This helped introduce Shirakawago to the world.
The view looking out over hundreds of Gasshou-Zukuri houses is full of serenity and may bring back fond memories of the landscape of your childhood home town.