Mitsuhatajima located offshore of Ainan-cho, Minami-Uwa-gun, Ehime Pref. is a collective name for the three small islands in the Uwakai Sea, which is a part of Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park. The water around the islands is so clear that a variety of table corals exist in colonies at the sea bottom and colorful tropical fish are swimming through waving sea weeds. It looks like a flower garden in the ocean. Seeing the cute islands in the afterglow, you will have a relaxing time until the sun set in the ocean. Mitsuhatajima Islands are the symbolic landscape of the Uwakai Sea.
The Mangokuura Sea is an immense inland sea with an area of 7.2 ha located behind Watanoha Port and surrounded by mountains on Oga Peninsula. The name “Mangoku (10,000 koku of rice) Ura (Sea)” comes from an old story that when Date Tadamune, the 2nd generation lord of the Sendai domain, visited this place, he said “If land reclamation is given to this land, it will produce 10,000 kuku of rice.” In the Edo period, coastal salt production was done in this inland sea under the promotion of the Sendai domain. Since the Taisho period, cultivation of oysters and laver has been active in this area. Here. Ishinomaki is said to be the birthplace of oyster cultivation. So the high-quality breeding oyster of this nutritious sea is especially famous not only in Japan but also all over the world. The Mangokuura Sea is also a popular place for gathering of clams and fishing of flounder and rock trout. The Mangokuura Sea is the “Mother Sea” that produces fresh seafood.
Lake Akkeshi with an area of 3,200 ha and a circumference of 25 km is located in Akkeshi Town in Hokkaido. It is considered to have been a part of the ocean in the prehistoric times. The lake is a part of a Special Zone of a prefectural national park and a nationally designated Special Wildlife Protection Area.
The lake is fed by the Bekanbeushi River, in the upstream area of which lies magnificent Akkeshi Wetland. About 25 sub-species of goose come flying to the lakes and ponds in Akkeshi Town, which is also one of the few places in Japan where Whooper swans inhabit during winter. More than 10,000 Whooper swans migrating to Japan make a short stay here and more than 2,000 swans winter here. Lake Akkeshi together with Bekanbeushi Wetland on the north shore of the lake is designated as a Ramsar Site.
The lake is known for aquaculture of oysters and short-necked clams. There are a lot of oyster reefs created by the deposition of natural oyster shells, on which plant colonies are formed. Lake Akkeshi is a treasure trove of plants, fish and shellfish.
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.
Kanazawa Shimizu is a group of spring water that gushes out over 100,000 tons of clear water per day. There are seven water outlets, of which the largest one is located in the prefecture’s Inland Water Fisheries Experiment Station in Matsuo, Hachimantai City, Iwate Pref. This cool, pure water is used for various purposes including trout aquaculture, water supply and irrigation. There are several legends about this spring water. One of them goes that a dragon with seven heads, which lived in Mt. Iwate, wanted to see a village at the foot of the mountain and went underground one day. The seven outlets are said to be where the dragon popped up its head. Another legend tells that an ogre, who had done ill to people, was thrown into its eyes by the villagers. The springs are where the ogre washed his eyes following the god’s words.
The town of Hinase in Okayama Prefecture is well known among people in the Kansai area for fresh seafood and for fishing.
The most famous specialty of Hinase Harbor is the oyster. The oyster business in Okayama Prefecture is the third largest in Japan, followed by Miyagi and Hiroshima prefectures. At Gomi-no-Ichi ('market of all tastes'), the Fisheries Cooperative Association's market in Hinase town, fish are sold at bargain prices compared with regular markets. Every fish is fresh, making the market very popular not only for locals, but tourists, too. The oysters in particular are known for their size and taste. These oysters can be baked and eaten right there.
The market's name (Gomi-no-Ichi) reflects the abundance of fish available in Hinase Harbor. Numerous varieties of seafood, including shrimp, shore-swimming crab, mantis shrimp, ocellated octopus and sillago can be enjoyed. The marketplace opens around 9 in the morning, but closes once produce is sold out, so it's better to get there early.
The pearl industry flourishes in Shima, Mie prefecture, while Ago Bay is known as the 'home of pearls'. It is also famous as the place where pearl cultivation originated.
In 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto extracted five half-circled pearls from a pearl oyster during an experiment, proving that pearls could be cultivated from oysters. Pearl cultivation around Ago Bay in Mie prefecture really took off after that discovery.
Today, in Ago Bay eight pearl culture cooperative associations and four fisheries cooperative associations are licensed to cultivate the pearls.
Pearl culture requires several different fishing grounds for each developmental process of the pearl oyster, and it is necessary to take great care with the water temperature and to protect against red tides.
Today, pearl cultivation techniques in Mie prefecture are highly valued across the nation. The pearls are recognized for their high quality, and have received awards at national pearl culture fairs almost every year.
Ago Bay lies to the south of the Shima Peninsula in Mie Prefecture. It is the biggest landlocked bay in the Shima Peninsula and has a saw-toothed coastline. Big and small, innumerable islands like Kashiko Island are very impressive.
Ago Bay is famous for pearl culture and, in the early Showa period, it was called Pearl Bay. Ago Bay is where a genuine round pearl was invented for the first time in the world, and it is said 'Ago Bay is the home of the pearl'.
The name 'Ago' dates back to the time of the Emperor Tenmu. In prehistoric times, many peoples lived here. There are many stone age tools found here, which were brought from remote Shinshu, evidence of the movements of prehistoric man in Japan.
Ago Bay appears at the beginning of Japanese history, and is a very time-honored sea. The pearl rafts are charming sights, unique to this district and a pleasure for visitors to see.