The Riasu (or Saw-tooth) Sanriku Coastline is a raised coastline of 600km in total that spreads out from southeast of the Aomori Prefecture through the coast of the Iwate Prefecture to Ojika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture. Sanriku (or three riku) is a generic term referring to Mutsu in Aomori, Rikuchuu in Aomori and Rikuzen in Miyagi. The Riasu coast is a jagged stretch of coastline that consists of many long, narrow coastal inlets which uniformly cut into the coastal lands creating the appearance of saw teeth.
Offshore at the Sanriku coast is where the Okhotsk current (Oyashio) , a cold current, and the Japan Current (Kuroshio), a warm current, meet, creating a rich fishing spot that is considered to be one of the Four Great Fishing Grounds in the world.
The precipitous cliffs of the Sanriku coast are also an ideal breeding ground for wild birds such as osprey, Japanese cormorant and black-tailed gull.
Along the Riasu Sanriku Coastline there are many spectacular vistas created by the raging waves and rain storms of the Pacific Ocean.
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.
Nagaiso Beach in Taisei-cho, Hokkaido is dotted with a lot of oddly-shaped rocks created by erosion of sea water. The most famous among them is the Mother and Child Bear Rocks.
According to a local legend, starving mother and child bears left their home mountain and reached this beach at last. When the child bear was eating a crab, he fell into the sea. Trying to save her son, the mother bear dived into the sea, but both were drowned to death. Deeply impressed by the affection of the mother bear, the god picked their bodies out of the sea and turned them into rocks.
The silhouette of the rocks is so real that it looks like a real mother bear embracing her son. Especially in the sunset, the outlines of their loving figures appear clearly.
Bense Swamp located in Kizukuri Tateoka, Tsugaru City, Aomori Pref. is one of the largest swamps in Tsugaru Qausi-National Park. In the area around this swamp are numerous large and small lakes and pond. Surrounded by Hirataki Pond, Otaki Pond and Bense Pond, this swamp at an altitude of 20 m above sea level has an area of 20 ha, where the community of Nikko-kisuge (Hemerocallis middendorffii var. esculenta) forms a bright orange carpet in June, and the purple community of sword-leaved iris shudders in the breeze in July. The swamp was formed because dead plant layers such as peat moss have heaped up due to the severe climatic conditions. It is unusual that this kind of marshy plant community is formed near the beach. In Honshu and the northeastern part of Hokkaido, it can be seen nowhere other than in the wetland area around Mt. Byobuyama including this swamp. Bense Swamp is a scenic spot where visitors can enjoy bright-colored cute flowers.
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.
Sebama Beach is located in Dogashima, a scenic spot in Nishiizu Town on the west side of Izu Peninsula. The three islands (Zojima, Nakanoshima and Takashima) in the offing of the beach are generically called “Sanshiro Island.” At the 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 because this kind of natural phenomenon can be rarely seen in Japan.
There is a tragic legend concerning the islands. In the late Heian period (794-1192), a young man called Izu no Sanshiro hid himself on Nakanoshima Island to escape from the pursuers of the Taira clan. He fell in love with Koyuki, a daughter of a powerful warrior in a nearby village. On the day when Sanshiro set out to join Yoritomo’s army, Koyuki ran to the beach to cross the tombolo bridge but she was drowned in rough waves of the high tide.
If you’d like to cross the tombolo bridge, you should check the time the bridge appears, for it doesn’t appear depending on tide.
Ozato Pine Groves is the arch-shaped seashore with 50,000 green pine trees and white sand spanning about 4 km in Kainan Town, Tokushima Prefecture.
The pine trees were planted not only for tourism but they protect the land from salty wind and storm surge from adjacent towns. The pine trees were first planted along this coast in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868). Though generation change has occurred, the groves are conserved by the efforts of local people, exterminating harmful insects three times and mowing grass twice every year.
If you stand on the beach, blown in the sea breeze and devoting yourself to the sounds of waves, you will feel totally refreshed. The beach is famous as a fishing spot and the waves near the estuary of the Kaifu River are suitable for surfing. Sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the full moon night in early summer, when the beach is alive with tourists.
Minamikitaura Coast, extending from Urashiro-machi to Kitaura-machi in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, is a beautiful ria coast facing the Hyuganada Sea. It is one of the main attractions of Nippo-Kaigan Quasi-National Park. As there area many capes and coves in the coastline and the offing is dotted with small islands, it is called “Matsushima of Hyuga.” The beach boasts its white sand and clear seawater.
As a suitable place for swimming and various outdoor activities such as camping, fishing and diving, it is crowded with a lot of tourists in summer. When it is cold in the morning, the surface of the sea is covered with mist and creates a mysterious atmosphere.