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.
Saganoseki Cape in Oita Prefecture features a magnificent scenic spot known as Seki-zaki. The southern side of this spot, Kurogazaki, was selected as one of Japan's top 100 beaches.
Adding to the special atmosphere of this beach are the Bishago Sisters Rocks, two rocks linked by a rope. They are a symbol of Kurogazaki as well as famous for a legend about 'ama' (women divers). It is said that when the Kanmu Emperor was traveling east, Izanaginomikoto lost his holy sword in the sea. Isago and Masago, two sisters who were divers, retrieved the sword from a gigantic octopus. The nest day, a thunderstorm broke the rock into two. Ever since, the two sisters have been enshrined in each rock.
Sunrise on New Year's day is a popular time to come to this place, and many neighbors come at this time.
Tachihada is a beauty spot in Kusu, Oita Prefecture, and is also known as Sunset Pass. From the Prefectural Highway Mt Kusu that runs alongside it for about 1km, one can see the rocky hills.
Tachihada is a famous spot within Ura-Yaba Valley. In autumn, the area takes on a red color that makes it even more beautiful. The rocky mountains reach up and appear to touch the skies while the green vines add to the wonderful sight. This view harmonizes with the farmhouses that dot the foothills to make a pastoral landscape that seems straight out of a folk tale.
The area is rich in edible wild plants such as bracken, royal fern and 'udo'. At 'Interactive Teahouse', fresh vegetables and dumpling soup are served and many tourists enjoy the different tastes of the seasons. Persimmon trees and local dwellings further complement the landscape. It is indeed a friendly mountain village.
Tachihada is full of scenes that you will never tire of seeing.
Hita in Oita Prefecture is one of the few places where fishing using cormorants takes place. The history of cormorant fishing is very long and is even mentioned in the 'Nihon-shoki' (second-oldest record of Japanese ancient history) and the 'Kojiki' (oldest extant chronicle).
Chinese records from the Sui Dynasty also mention the visit of an ambassador to Japan at that time and the unusual fishing method he saw using cormorants. Fish caught this way are flawless, without a scratch and very fresh, and especially prized as gifts is the sweet 'ayu' fish. After the Meiji period, however, when many cormorant fishers lost the support of their daimyo lords, this method of fishing gradually died out and today surivives as a tourist industry only.
In Hita, cormorant fishing can be seen accompanying the opening of the ayu season on the Mikuma River, from 20 May to 31 October. The sight of 62 houseboats softly lighting up the river has become a graceful symbol of the town. In 1966, cormorant fishing was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Heritage of Oita.
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.