Shokanbetsu-tenuriyagishiri National Park, in Ishikari, the western part of central Hokkaido, was designated a park in 1990. Ruran Shore is located inside the park.
Ruran means 'path that god walks on' in the language of the native Ainu people of Hokkaido. Solid rocks appear to be cut from the shore and the cliffs are so mysterious you cannot help thanking the ancestors who named the shore. Many of the rocks along here have strange rugged shapes and are lined with cracks.
Some of the many beauty spots on Ruran Shore include Yoshitsune's Tears Rock and Amoi Cave, as well as caves along the cliffs. Nature has produced some glorious views.
This shore is also well-known for its beautiful evening sunsets. You will be moved and tremble at the beauty of the sight. Strange rocks become red as they are lit up by the evening sun setting on the far horizon. This is indeed the twilight time of the Ainu god.
Oku-Noto Salt Pan Village is a facility for experiencing salt-production and a museum with exhibits describing the relation of the Noto people to salt.
Because Japan is surrounded by sea, techniques for extracting salt from sea water developed. Most settlements near the sea had salt-extracting facilities.
Salt-extraction techniques can be divided into two main regional types: 'agehama' and 'irihama'. Along the coasts of Noto Peninsula, salt was produced using the agehama technique. For example, in the town of Suzu, where Oku-Noto Salt Pan Village is located, the 500-year-old agehama technique is still used.
In the agehama technique, you draw sea water into a pail and sprinkle it on the sand many times, then let it dry under the sun. The salt itself is tasty and rich in minerals. Not only that but if you use it in cooking, it will make the food tastier.
At Oku-Noto Salt Pan Village, you can experience this traditional salt-production method and make your own original salt. The experience is available from May to September.
Tarumi Waterfall is a rarely seen kind of waterfall because it runs from a cliff directly into the sea. It is located between the towns of Wajima and Suzu in Ishikawa Prefecture, and is an outstanding feature of the 2km-long Sosogi shoreline.
The head of the waterfall is 35m high. The waterfall usually runs down the cliff into the sea like a white thread and never stops, even in mid-summer.
On windy winter days, however, the view completely changes; spray does not fall into the sea but into the sky! This makes it a so-called 'Upside-down Waterfall'. Flowers of waves splash in the sea and the waterfall goes up to heaven like a dragon; it really is like a scene from fantasy.
There is a walkway near the waterfall that you can enjoy walking along. But, if you see the 'Upside-down Waterfall', it means it's a very windy day, so you should be careful.
The Sosogi Coast is designated as a National Place of Scenic and Natural Treasure. The top end of the coast is marked by 357m-high Mt Sakura, the western edge by the mouth of the Machino River and the eastern edge, with Tarumi Waterfall, borders the town of Suzu. The coastline includes an area extending back 100m from the shore.
The sheer cliffs of Mt Sakura face the sea and are so dangerous in places as to earn the mountain the nickname 'unfilial child' in Noto. Green rhyolite rock, eroded by the sea, produces grand and beautiful views. In severe winter gales, the crashing waves that dance on the rocks are known as 'wave flowers'.
Window Rock (Madoiwa) is one of the most popular spots along the 2km-long Sosogi Coast. Legend has it that the hole in the large triangular rock was made by an arrow shot from the bow of Minamoto no Yoshitsune.
Also along the shoreline are places of great academic interest to geologists and other scientists.
Senmaida are the rice paddies that rise up in terraces on mountains, near hilly places or on sloping sea-shore sites.
On terraced rice paddies, it is difficult to use mechanized farming methods because of the shape of the land. Ancient farmers had to carefully consider where they were going to position the paddy fields.
Water presents a problem, too. Water can easily run off the slopes, so it is difficult to save. Because the senmaida are located on high land, so the temperature of the water stays cool. High hillside areas also suffer from frequent droughts and are easily damaged in cold weather. In short, senmaida are less productive than lowland rice paddies.
But through ingenuity and hard work, Japanese farmers have silently made senmaida become fields of rice ears growing heavily on slopes. The paddies rising up the hills make for exquisite patterns, too.
Noutou-Kongou is the coastal region near Togi, in Hakui district, Ishikawa prefecture. There are many places to see along this extraordinary coast. Hatago rocks is one of them.
Also known as 'Noutou's Two Rocks', the two rocks are connected by a rope and are worshiped. A long time ago, legend has it that the goddess Nunaki-iri-Himeno-Mikoto was trying to develop the cloth industry in Noutou. One day, she was attacked by a bandit. She threw the cloth she was carrying into the sea, whereupon it changed into the two rocks. This legend is the origin of the story of these rocks.
When the setting sun sinks, the silhouette of the two rocks floats in the dark red of the sea. The view is almost surreal: it is as if a goddess appears.