The Katsuragi-mitoshi Shrine is located in Gose City, Nara, and it honors Mount Mitoshi, a beautiful mountain located right behind it. Its deity is known to govern harvests and guard rice grown in the alluvial fan at the foot of Mount Kongou.
The deity Mitoshi was said to have been first named at the Toshigoi Festival, which is held in the Imperial Court in February, to pray for rich harvests.
Katsuragi-mitoshi Shrine was one of the shrines where the Kamo family held religious rituals for generations. There are three such shrines in Gose: Takakamo Shrine, also known as Kamigamosha (Upper Kamo Shrine), Kamotsubajin Shrine, also known as Shimogamosha (Downtown Kamo Shrine) and Katsuragi-mitoshi Shrine, also called Nakagamosha (Middle Kamo Shrine), or Nakagamo-san - affectionately.
The current main building is painted vermillion and it was transferred from the Kasuga Taish Shrine.
During the first three days of the New Year, to invoke good health, visitors to the shrine receive mochi rice cakes called “otoshidama” which have been blessed by the deity Mitoshi.
The current New Year’s customs of presenting mochi rice cakes to a household shrine and giving “otoshidama” (now, with small amount of cash inside) to children are said to be based on rituals from the Katsuragi-mitoshi Shrine.
Jokanji Temple in Matsuzaki Town in Shizuoka Prefecture is a temple belonging to the Honganji denomination of Jodoshinhsu. The principal object of worship is Amida Nyorai. It was founded by the priest Joshin during the Einin era (1293-1299).
The temple had declined since it was burned down in a big fire during the Genroku era (1688-1703) and was revived by the 13th resident priest, Honda Shokan. Jokanji Temple has been famous for its divine power to get rid of evils and bring happiness.
Jokanji Temple is also famous as the place where Chohachi Irie, a plaster artisan in the Meiji period (1868-1912) is buried. Although most of his representative plaster works in Tokyo were lost by Great Kanto Earthquake and fires caused by air raids on Tokyo, some 20 excellent works including Happo-nirami-no-ryu (the Dragon Glaring in Eight Directions) and Hiten (the Heavenly Maiden) are preserved in the main hall of the temple, which is open to the public as Chohachi Memorial Museum. The bronze bust of Chohachi and the stone monument are elected in the precinct.
Itsukushima Shrine in Ena in Matsuzaki Town, Shizuoka Prefecture, is faithfully worshipped by local people, being popularly called “Benten-san.” The enshrined deity is Ichikishimahime no Mikoto, a deity of water, which was traditionally fused with Benzaiten, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune.
The shrine is atop the 100 stone steps directly starting from the beach in the cape called Kyotaijima (Giant Sea-beam Island) or Benten-jima (Benten Island), which is located to the north of Matsuzaki Beach.
It is said that the shrine is founded in 1525 and the door of the main hall is opened once every 60 years. The last time it was opened was in 1992. The annual festival is held on April 3 every year.
The colony of oak trees (Quercus phillyraeoides A.Gray) in Kyotaijima Cape is designated as a natural monument by the town.
Tofukuji Temple in Nishiizu Town in Shizuoka Prefecture is a temple of the Rinzai sect. The principal object of worship is Amida Nyorai. It was founded during the Tenpuku era (1233-1234) and originally called Tenpukuji Temple. It was relocated, however, to the present place during the Kagen era (1303-1305) and renamed Tofukuji Temple.
The temple is famous for the frescos of 500 Rakan (Buddha’s disciples) painted on the ceiling of the main hall. The frescos were painted by Toshimitsu Tamura, a Buddhist painter of the Taisho period (1912-1926), who was known as a deep drinker. It is said that it took him 4 years and 8 months to finish the work.
With the dragon in the center, the heavenly maiden at every corner and 500 Rakan surrounding them, this pictorial diagram of the heavenly world is really magnificent. The plastered ceiling and walls give the three dimensional effect to the marvelously colorful paintings.
Zenpukuin Temple is an old and distinguished temple located in Kainan City, Wakayama prefecture. This temple was originally one of the five sub-temples of Kofukuji Temple, which was built in 1214 by the Zen priest Eisai. Kofukuji Temple, which was once a flourishing temple with the formal seven main buildings, fell into ruin with its sponsor having gone bankrupt. After that it was converted to Shingon Sect and repaired some of the buildings. In the Edo period, when the area became a part of the Kishu domain, it converted again to Tendai Sect. The three of the five sub-temples had remained until the Meiji period, but only Zenpukuin Temple remains to the present time. Shakamuni Hall in Yosemune-zukuri style (a square building) covered with a double hipped roofs and standing on the Ransekizumi podium (made of natural stones piled up in a random fashion) is designated as a National Treasure. Its Yosemune-zukuri style with a tile roof and the construction method using Heiko-darugi (rafters laid parallel to each other from the ridge) are considered as the typical examples of Zen architectural elements in the late Kamakura period, which can also be seen in Shariden at Engakuji Temple in Kamakura and Buddha Hall at Kozanji Temple in Yamaguchi.
Dogashima is a scenic spot in the western Isu Peninsula. Facing Suruga Bay, its beautiful coastline is compared to Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, one of Japan’s Three Finest Views, and it is called “Matsushima in Izu.” Visitors can fully enjoy its dramatic stone formations created by forces of nature.
The highlight of the sightseeing in Dogashima is Tensodo (Skylight Cave) on Kameshima Island in the close offing of the boat pier. The erosion of waves made a tunnel in the rock. The ceiling of the tunnel is open, and it is just like a skylight. The cave is nationally designated as a Natural Monument.
The three islands (Zojima, Nakanoshima and Takashima) in the offing of the coast are generically called “Sanshiro Island.” At low tide, a 30 meter wide natural stone bridge emerges and connects the islands with the mainland shore so that people can walk to the islands. This stone bar is called a “tombolo” and is prefecturally designated as a Natural Monument.
On the hill near the coast is Orchid Resort Dogashima with an area of 9 hectare. Visitors can enjoy various species of orchids of the season both in the greenhouses and in the open air garden.
Futo Coast on the west side of Izu Peninsula is a scenic coast with a total length of 900 meters. It is a beautiful coast with shining ocean and indented coastline with bizarre stone formation.
At low tide, pools of seawater are formed in the cove on the other side of the bathing beach, where you can enjoy watching or catching inshore fish and sea shells. With clear sea and good natural environment, it is one of the few distinctive diving spots in Izu Peninsula, a good hidden spot for surf fishing and marine sports. It is also a fine place to view the sunset. The sun setting among small islands is absolutely beautiful.
As the promenade is set out from the northern end of the coast to Tago, you can enjoy 1 hour walking while viewing oddly-shaped stones and the indented coastline with colonies of sea plants on the way. There are other sightseeing spots such as Dogashima and Cape Koibito-misaki in the vicinity.
Cape Koganezaki is a scenic spot in Ugusu in Nishiizu Town, Shizuoka Prefecture. It features the rugged surface of the cliff, which was formed by the volcanic fluid from Mt. Nekko flowing down into Sagami Bay.
Cape Koganezaki is known for its magnificent view of the ocean and the beautiful sunset. As the name “Koganezaki (the gold cape)” implies, the cliffs shine gold at the sunset. This is because weathered andesite was uniquely altered into yellowish brown propylite, which is prefecturally designated as a natural monument.
Cape Koganezaki is full of charms including flowers that come into bloom from spring through fall, the view of Mt. Fuji on a fine day, the stone monument in memory of Yukio Mishima, the fine promenade and colonies of wild plants.