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.
Lake Mashu in Akan National Park in the eastern part of Hokkaido is a caldera lake formed by an eruption about 7,000 years ago. The lake is famous for its beautiful water, which is one of the clearest in the world, and the fog that envelopes its surface as is sung in a popular ballad “Misty Lake Mashu” of 1960s.
Of all the peaks that are forming the outer rim of this caldera, the highest one is Mt. Mashudake (858 m), also known as Kamuinupri (god’s mountain). Mt. Mashudake presents its imposing view right in front of the first observatory of Lake Mashu. The walking trail is built from the first observatory to the summit. Walking along the ridge of the outer rim, you will go under the tunnel of dense foliage and enjoy viewing pretty alpine plants as well as mirror-like surface of Lake Mashu, which repeatedly come into and go out of sight. As there is very often a thick fog on the surface of the lake, you may not be able to see it. If the fog is not very thick, you may have a chance to enjoy the mystic atmosphere of the lake with the mysterious island of Kamuisshu in its center.
Lake Kuttara located in a Special Zone of Shikotsu-Toya National Park is a caldera lake with an area of 4.68 sq m and a circumference of 8 km. As there are no rivers flowing into or out of this lake, it contains extremely high quality of water. It tops the list of the lakes and reservoirs in the water quality survey of public water areas conducted by the Ministry of Environment every year. It also boasts the second highest transperancy after Lake Mashu.
The aquaculture of Himemasu (sockeye salmon) has been practiced in this lake since 1909. You can rent a boat to enjoy Himemasu fishing as well as to have a relaxing time, viewing the surrounding thick virgin forest. With few facilities around it, the lake has a tranquil and mysterious atmosphere. If you are lucky, you may have a chance to see an Ezo red fox along the road from Noboribetsu Hot Springs to the western side of the lake.
Shimamui Coast is a 1 km scenic coast at the northern tip of Shakotan Peninsula in Hokkaido. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Beautiful Beaches and designated as the only underwater park in Hokkaido.
The entrance to Shimamui Coast is a narrow dark tunnel at the end of the parking lot. Once you pass through the tunnel, the splendid view of blue seawater will appear before your eyes! It is one of the most impressive scenes in Hokkaido.
From the observatory atop the sheer cliff, you can command the dynamic coastline that leads to Cape Kamui in front and Mt. Shakotandake in back. The sea below is so transparent that you can even see the bedrock. The sight of the waves splashing against Byoubu-iwa (Folding Screen Rock) in the cove is a sight you will want to see a number of times.
At the beginning of summer, the cliffs are decorated with the local flower, Yezo daylilies.
The Amida Waterfall in Gujo City, Gifu Prefecture is in the upstream of a tributary of the Nagara River. It was named so, because when the priest Doga of Choryuji Temple at the foot of the mountain was burning a Goma fire for the ascetic training, the image of Amida Nyorai emerged out of the water.
The waterfall, which rushes down the 60 m cliff with a roaring sound, is said to be the best waterfall in the Tokai region. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls. The water is so clear that if you stand in front of the waterfall with your back against the rising sun, you can see your own reflection surrounded by dim rainbow in the spray of water, which looks very fantastic.
The waterfall creates different impressions from season to season; with fresh green in spring, cool air in summer and crimson foliage in fall, and the frozen waterfall at midwinter.
Lake Shikotsu in Shikotsu-Toya National Park in Hokkaido is Japan’s second largest caldera lake with a circumference of 42 km. It was formed as the result of an volcanic eruption about 32,000 years ago. With the average water temperature of 3.6 degrees, it is Japan’s coldest ice-free lake. It is also one of the most transparent lakes in Japan and is the second deepest lake, after Lake Tazawa, with a maximum depth of 363 m, which is 115 deepr than the sea level. The lake is surrounded by the 1,000-meter-class mountains including Mt. Eniwadake, Mt. Fuppushidake and Mt. Tarumae.
Around the lake spread the deep green virgin forests of broad-leaved deciduous trees such as maple (Acer mono) and oak and conifer trees such as Jezo spruce. It is also a popular spot for bird watching. Wild birds such as great spotted woodpeckers and black woodpeckers can be seen.
In contrast to the bustle of the streets in Toyako hot spring town, here, everything is in the deep tranquility of the unexplored forests.
Uradome Beach extending 15 km at the eastern end of Tottori Prefecture is the most famous scenic spot along the Sea of Japan. Being called “Matsushima of the Sanin region,” it is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Beautiful Beaches and the Heisei Nippon 100 Scenic Spots. This is a ria coast formed by the erosion of granite stones, where various strange-shaped rocks, caves and steep cliffs continue. It is said that Toson Shimazaki, a writer of great literature in the Meiji through Showa periods, was once fascinated by the beauty of the landscape here. Especially beautiful is the area around Shirohara Beach, which is designated as a marine park by the Ministry of the Environment. The ocean along the coast is famous for its high transparency. You can see through up to the depth of 25 m. In summer, the beach is crowded with people enjoying swimming and snorkeling. Cruising on a tour boat around coast islands including uninhabited Natane Five Islands is also very popular.
Awano lacquer ware (Awano Shunkei-nuri) is a traditional handicraft that is counted as one of Japan’s 3 Fine Shunkei Lacquer Ware together with Hida Shunkei in Gifu Pref. and Noshiro Shunkei in Akita Pref. This is the oldest Shunkei lacquering technique in Japan. Its origin dated back to 1489, when Minamoto no Yoshiaki, the castellan of Inagawa castle, began lacquering in present-day Awa, Shirosato-machi, Ibaraki Pref. The hardest kind of Hinoki cypress is cut into pieces, planed, and assembled by using wooden nails made of Deutzia. Then the surface is polished with Equisetum (horsetails) and allpied lacquer bringing out the beauty of straight grains. This lacquering technique is characterized by the use of Japanese plum vinegar to enhance the transparency and create beautiful color shade. Nowadays trays, jubako boxes, lunch boxes and ink-stone boxes are produced.