Izunuma and Uchinuma are lakes forming a wetland in Senhoku Plain in Miyagi Prefecture. The total area of the wetland is 4 sq. m and the water depth is only 1.6 m at the deepest. Being designated as a Ramsar Site, the lakes provide wintering places for waterfowls such as Greater White-fronted Goose (National Natural Monument) and Bean Goose and habitats for aquatic plants and insects.
Izunuma-Uchinuma Lotus Flower Festival is held from the end of July to the end of August, when the surface of the pond is covered with beautiful lotus flowers. Pale pink lotus flowers among green leaves make a brilliant contrast with clear blue sky. Flowers can be viewed from the walking trails and surrounding roads. Also, as a sightseeing-boat is operated during the festival, you van enjoy viewing the lotus flowers from the boat in the center of the pond.
Lake Furen is a brackish lake located between Nemuro City and Betsukai-cho in Hokkaido. It is the 3rd largest lake in Hokkaido. Being a part of Notsuke-Furen Prefectural Natural Park, the area around the lake has wide variety of land features such as sandbanks, meadows, swamps and virgin forests, where various species of flora and fauna inhabit.
From June to August, rugosa roses, Ezosukashiyuri (Lilium maculatum ssp. dauricum) and Sendaihagi (Thermopsis lupinoides) produce red, yellow and purple pretty flowers one after another to create a large flower garden all around the area.
Known as the water bird’s paradise, it is visited by the nation’s largest species of swan. Swans come flying from the early September to the end of December, and winter here till the middle of March or early May. About 240 species of other wild birds including red-crowned cranes, black woodpeckers and yellow-breasted buntings can be spotted in the area, which has become a popular spot for bird watching.
Lake Kuccharo in Hamatonbetsu-cho, Esashi-gun in the northern part of Hokkaido is a brackish lake composed of two sub-lakes of Onuma and Konuma. It is the lake located in the northernmost part of the country and is a part of Kita-Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park.
This is Japan’s largest resting ground for tundra swans; about 80% (approx. 20,000 in number) of tundra swans migrating to Japan make a short stay in this lake during their migration. Other than swans, over 280 species of wild birds including geese such as widgeons and ladybirds have been confirmed so far. The lake and its surrounding area were collectively designated to be a Ramsar Site in 1989. This is the 3rd designation in Japan after Lake Utonai and Izu-numa and Uchi-numa Ponds.
The whole surface of the lake is frozen from the end of December to the end of March. As camping sites are provided on the lakeside, a lot of families come to enjoy their summer. The sun setting in the lake is magnificent.
The Sarobetsu-genya in the watershed area of the Sarobetsu River is one of the largest wetlands in Japan. It is a part of Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park.
In the central part of this 23,000 ha moor lies Genseikaen Park, where as many as 100 species of swamp plants can be seen from early summer to fall. Those include very rare northern cranberry and bog rosemary, gentians (Gentiana triflora var. japonica) that produce cute purple flowers, and Yezo daylilies with bright yellow flowers. Being called “the symbol of the moor,” Yezo daylily is an extremely rare plant because it blooms for only two days during the summer. Chance it! You might be able to see it.
The Sarobetsu-genya Moor is the treasure trove of wild birds. East Siberian taigas and othe birds migrating for the south and red-crowned cranes can be seen in the late fall. In winter, white-tailed eagles come flying from Russia. It is a precious land which fosters flora and fauna as well as provides us, human beings, with relief and refreshment.
The Manose River is a Class B river flowing out in the western end of Kagoshima City and pouring into East China Sea via Kawanabe Town in Minamikyushu City and Kaseda and Kinpo Towns in Minamisatsuma City. It is 30 km in total length and is the longest river in Satsuma Peninsula.
The upstream area has several places of scenic interest such as the Kawazoe Waterfall and a group of riverbed pit holes. Kinpo Dam is built in the Hase River, a tributary of the Manose River. The area along the river has been known for traditional mechanical dolls operated by the power of water mill, which are called “Suisha-Karakuri.”
The estuary was displaced to the present place by a big flood in the Edo period (1603-1868). The area including the estuary and its adjacent beach, Fukiagehama Beach, which was formed by accumulation of sand brought by the river, is designated as one of 500 Important Wetlands in Japan. Fresh water and sea water flow together in this huge wetland and provide habitat for various species of coastal plants such as Hibiscus hamabo, tidal shore animals such as Uca lactea lactea and wild bird such as Black-faced Spoonbills.
Nihonkoba is the 934 meter high mountain in Eigenji-Takano Town in Higashiomi City, Shiga Prefecture. Located to the north of Eigenji Dam, it is the highest point of the long mountain ridge that separates the dam area from the plain on the eastern side of Lake Biwa and continues to the Suzuka Mountain Range.
The name “koba” means “a lumberyard” and it is said that, as its summit commands a wonderful view of Lake Biwa, it was named “Nihonkoba” meaning “Japan’s No.1 lumberyard.” Its extraordinarily flat summit is very impressive.
Located far away from the main peaks of the Suzuka Mountain Range, there are few climbers seen in this mountain, so it is very suitable for one who prefers tranquil atmosphere. The summit is a flat open space where 30 to 40 people can take a rest. It commands a fine view of the Suzuka Mountains including Ryozendake, Oikedake and Fujiwaradake.
Other places of interest include the wide gully of Fujikawa, a wetland and Kijin-no-iwaya (Eccentric’s Cave).
Myodo Waterfall is fed by the waters of the Mogami River, and is located in Yonezawa, Yamagata prefecture. More precisely, the upper part of the Mogami River is called the Matsu River, and the waterfall lies along the course of the Matsu River.
The powerful waterfall can be seen from an observation deck on a hiking course on Mt. Nishi-Gosai. The waterfall is on a precipice and you cannot get much closer to it.
The district is in the mountainous area of Yonezawa. To the west are the Asahi Mountains, to the east are the Ouu Mountains, and the Gosai Mountains are to the south. Yonezawa City lies in the basin formed by these mountains. The 100-ha wetland here is a treasury of alpine plants.
There are some hot springs in the area that are visited by many people all year long. Autumn is especially popular when the leaves around the waterfall turn beautifully red. A 'water' line runs through the red leaves. The sight is a symbol of the headstream.
Soda-no-ike is an irrigation pond located in Amagasemachi-deguchi, Hita, Oita Prefecture. Amagasemachi is famous for its hot springs, but Soda-no-ike is located on the other side of the Kusu River. Or in other words, on the other side of the hot springs area. The gently sloping hill surrounding the pond is called Sogandai by the locals.
Soda-no-ike, at an elevation of 700-800m, was made from damming the spring water from the surrounding mountains. Hence, the pond has become a wetland, with vegetation such as nymphaeales, water shields, trapa and a large variety of flowers, insects and wild birds that can be seen from spring through autumn. It is a perfect example of a wetland ecosystem and is a natural treasury of life.
Primarily built for irrigation purposes, the pond is normally deserted and has nothing of much attraction to see. Yet it is a place where people, even non-locals, come to relax and quietly enjoy the simple joys of nature.