Chiringashima and Kojima are uninhabited islands floating in the cobalt blue ocean of Kagoshima Bay, to the north of Cape Tara in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. They are a part of Kirishima-Yaku National Park.
Chiringashima is a small island with a circumference of 3 km. During low tide, you can walk to the island via sand bridge. There used to be a dense forest of Japanese black pine trees along the coastline of the island, most of which were damaged by pine wood nematode. It is said that as the pine needles blown in the sea breeze sounded CLINK, CLINK, which is translated as CHIRIN, CHIRIN in Japanese, the island was named Chirin-ga-shima.
Kojima is far smaller island, 320 m away from Chiringashima. Here, a fine black pine forest remains. The sea around the island is a popular fishing spot.
Mt. Goshikidake is a volcano composing the Zao Mountain Range in the border of Yamagata Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture. It is 1,674 m above sea level. It is a post-caldera pyricrastic cone in the outer rim of the crator with a diameter of 2 km. At the center of the caldera lies a caldera lake known as Okama, one of the major attractions in Zao area.
The walking trail is set around Okama so that you can go round the lake, which changes colors from cobalt blue or emerald green to brown depending on the weather conditions.
As there is nothing to cut off the view, you can enjoy the scenery of the magnificent Zao Mountain Range covered with crimson foliage in fall. In winter, you can take a close look at snow monsters, which are trees frozen by winds and covered with snow. In any season, you will fully enjoy soaking yourself in the world filled with the wonder of nature.
Lake Okotanpe is a small lake with circumference of 5 km, located in the west of Chitose City, Hokkaido. It is a dammed lake created by lava that blocked the Okotanpe River, which flows out of this lake into Lake Shikotsu. The lake is located in a relatively high land with an altitude of the lake surface of 574 m. The lake is surrounded by the primary forest of Jezo spruce and Sakhalin fir, which create serene hush. Lake Okotanpe, together with Lake Shinonome and Lake Onneto, is counted as one of the 3 mysterious lakes in Hokkaido. The hue of the lake surface varies delicately with seasons or weather. As the lake itself and the surrounding area are designated as a special protection area, visitors cannot go down to the lakeside. However, the lake seen from the nearby observation tower is an exquisite view. If you look down at the mysterious change in color from cobalt blue to emerald green on the surface of the lake, which is surrounded by the huge primary forest spreading at the foot of grand Mt. Eniwa, you will be convinced it’s a really mysterious lake. You can enjoy marvelous changes in nature.
Lake Onneto is located near Lake Akan at the foot of Mt. Akan Fuji. The word “onne” means “old and “to” means “a lake or a pond” in the Ainu language. Lake Onneto lies in the deep forest in Akan National Park. It is a dammed lake due to the eruption of Mt. Meakandake. Lake Onneto is counted as one of the 3 mysterious lakes in Hokkaido; others are Lake Okotanpe and Lake Shinonome. This mysterious lake is called “Goshiki-numa (five-colored-lake)” because the hue of the lake surface varies delicately with seasons or weather, or even with the time of the day. At one time, it looks bright emerald green, and at another, deep cobalt blue. As it looks different in color according to the viewing point, it will be pleasant to walk along the promenade seeking for your favorite color. Walk leisurely to enjoy the changes in color while viewing Mt. Akan reflected on the water surface. What a gorgeous day it will be!
Shirohige-no-taki is a 30 m waterfall flowing down into the Biei River, which runs through the town of Biei in the central part of Hokkaido. This waterfall is unique in that it is not located on the river but the ground water, which flows out of the cracks in the cliff, directly flows down to the river. The water dynamically rushes down in dozens of white lines. This type of waterfall is rarely seen in Hokkaido; whereas the Shiraito-no-taki Waterfall in Yamanashi Prefecture is famous in Honshu.
However, even more distinctive is cobalt blue water of the Biei River. It looks as if pigmented with artist’s paint. The most fascinating landscape can be seen in fall, when the white water flows down into the cobalt blue river, which is surrounded with bright red and yellow leaves. No artist can compete with this collaboration of colors in nature.
Bishamon-numa Pond is the largest of Goshiki-numa lakes (the five-colored lakes). It is located at 770 m above sea level, has an area of 100,000 m2, and is 13 m deep at the deepest point. The degree of clearness is 4-5 m, which is not very high. The pond looks beautiful white blue on a fine day. The color of the pond changes, ranging from red, blue, green, and cobalt blue to emerald green with the season, the weather, and the position of the sun. The most beautiful is when it looks emerald green, which will dazzle your eyes. The water is strongly acidic. When the sunlight reaches fine particles of aluminum silicate that are deposited at the bottom of the pond, the light is scattered and the color of the pond changes. Also aquatic plants growing in the pond take on greenish color when the water temperature rises. If the sunlight pours onto those plants and the fine particles, the pond looks red or blue. When the water surface is as calm as a mirror, Mt. Bandai and surrounding green or red leaves are reflected on the water, which is very impressive. It is said that the water flows from Ruri-numa Pond, but there is a spring somewhere in this pond itself. The water of this pond flows down into Lake Inawashiro.
Mt. Bandai erupted in 1888 and caused extensive damage to the surrounding areas. The northern side of the mountain collapsed by the eruption and the avalanche of rocks and earth dammed the river to form the 3 Lakes of Bandai (Lake Hibara, Lake Onogawa, and Lake Akimoto) and many other nameless lakes and ponds in Bandai Highland, which is a beautiful highland where about 300 lakes and ponds scattered around. Goshiki-numa, or Five Colored Lakes, is a cluster of approximately 40 large and small volcanic ponds including Bishamon-muna, Aka-numa, Midoro-numa, Ryu-numa, Benten-numa, Ruri-numa, Ao-numa, and Yanagi-numa, all of which are located among the 3 Lakes of Bandai at the northern foot of Mt. Bandai. The 3-km walking trail, by which visitors can see around more than ten ponds, is very popular. Changing their colors from cobalt blue to indigo blue or copper brown, those mysterious ponds are called “Witches’ Eyes.”
Mitoko Bay is near the sea of Sisikui-ura, with the nearest town being Kaiyou, in Kaigu District, Tokuyama Prefecture. The bay is part of Muroto Anan Kaigan Quasi National Park. It is a place with interesting characteristics, such as small islands dotted inside the bay and lots of strange-shaped rocks.Small islands of varying size are scattered with in the bay, such as Sabi with its white sands and green pine, as well as other islands like, Kagori, Atae, Uba, Suzu-Hae and Tana-Bae, all of which are quiet and beautiful. Due to its subtropical climate, you can enjoy the sense of southern climes.There are spots where you can see the ferryman and also places to experience sea kayaking. It is a place perfect for marine sports. Along the jagged ria coastlines, you can see ‘strange and bizarre’ rocks that were created by shore erosion. These ‘strange and bizarre’ rocks have different names.The islands in the cobalt blue sea are called the ‘gems of the southern sea’, because they change shape over time and capture the viewers’ imagination.