Hanamaki Festival is held in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture for 3 days centered on the 2nd Saturday in September every year. It originates in the float parade held in 1593 to revere Kita Shosai, the founding father of the town.
The festival features a number of events such as the parade of Furyu-dashi floats, which were originally made of bamboo and represented a whale but later changed its form into a Kyoto-styled Yakata float, and 140 taru-mikoshi (portable shrine made of barrels), and the prefecturally designated intangible cultural property, Deer Dance, which represents the ancient rituals to pray for peace of the town and to get rid of the evils.
The highlight is the Hanamaki-bayashi Dance Parade, in which 1,000 dancers elegantly dance to the Hanamaki-bayashi music, which is modeled on the Gion-bayashi of Kyoto. The pompous mixture of the sounds of large drums, small drums, Japanese flutes and Shamisen enhances the festival mood of the town.
The Funbe Waterfalls in Hiroo-cho, Hokkaido are unique waterfalls that gush out of the rock cliffs. “Funbe” means “a beach where whales can be caught” in the Ainu language. The name comes from the episode that a beached whale was once found in this town. Different from other waterfalls that flow down the cliff in rivers, the Funbe Waterfalls gush out of the rocky cliffs along the road. The groundwater that permeated into the gravel layer in the rock runs down through the sand particles and springs out of the rocks. Several lines of water, which are about 12 m high, fall down the cliff covering about 150 m wide. The continuous flow of water looks very cool. In winter, the water freezes and creates a huge beautiful ice poles. Together with the rude wave sounds of the winter Pacific Ocean beyond the cliff, you will really sense the magnificence of nature here.
Momiji River runs down through a valley on Mt. Omoshiro, which lies to the northeast of the city of Yamagata.
A hiking course along the valley enables you to enjoy nature throughout the four seasons, and it is very popular with sightseers.
The valley is especially beautiful between late October and mid November when the leaves turn red or yellow; this change is called 'momiji' and is the origin of the name Momiji River.
The 2km hiking course takes about 40 minutes to walk along slowly. Here and there running into the valley are waterfalls such as 'Wisteria Waterfall' and 'Illusional Dragon Waterfall'. Moreover, there are many unique rocks in the valley such as 'Whale Rock' or 'Treasure Rock'. And there are many strange ones, too.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of views of the river; some parts of the river are broad and some run between rocks. The canyon is also very popular among photographers.
Kamiwari Point in Shizugawa-cho, Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture is one of the most famous scenic spots along the southern part of the Sanriku Kaigan coastline. There is a huge black sandstone rock that was eroded by the ocean and split in two. The wild waves rushing through the slap between the two rocks look tremendously dynamic.
This scenic site is associated with a legend called Kamiwari, which means “broken by the god.” Legend has it that, once upon a time, a huge whale was washed ashore on the beach. The villagers of both Tokura Village and Jusanhama Village, who had been in conflict with each other over the village border, claimed the possession of the whale. Not being able to arrive at a conclusion, they decided to carry over the discussion to the next morning and went home. At night, however, ear-shuttering sounds were heard from the cape. When the surprised villagers rushed to the cape, they found a huge rock split in two there. People accepted this mysterious incident as the god’s judgment and stopped the conflict since then.
Waking through the pine grove and enjoying a fine view of this beautiful coast, you can’t help feeling that it is not altogether a fanciful tale.
360-21 旧有壁宿本陣 Kyu-arikabesyuku-honjin
The Kuji River with a total length of 527 m is a river classified as Class a river by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The area along the river is 1,490 square meters. The name “Kuji” comes from the place name of Kuji-gun through which it flows. According to an ancient local record “Hitachi Fudoki,” when the emperor of the time saw a small hill in the south and thought it resembled a whale, he named this place “Kuji (coming from kujira meaning a whale).” Along this river, there are a lot of nice places for walking and other aquatic sports and activities. It also provided high quality water to the surrounding towns and cities. With many prefectural parks arranged along the river, this area is visited by a lot of tourists all through the year.
'Shiretoko National Park' is designated as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO and is located around the Shiretoko Peninsula in the eastern part of Hokkaido. Brown bears and Ezo deer are free to roam this vast expanse and eagles, salmon, sea lions and whales move freely throughout the land, sea and sky; it's an amazing treasure trove of nature.
Shiretoko is famous for the Shiretoko Five Major Lakes or the Shiretoko Cape, but in addition, there are many other excellent locations such as Rausu Lake, Shiretoko Mountains and Shiretoko Eight Major Landscapes (Oshinkoshin's Waterfall, Oroshiko Rock, Yuuhi Tableland, Puyuni Cape, Furepe's Waterfall, Shiretoko Pass, Shiretoko Five Major Lakes, and Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall). You can enjoy magnificent scenes of nature in all it’s wildness throughout the seasons.
It is popular to drive on 'Shiretoko Crossing Road' of Route 334, the winding road crossing from Rausu to Utoro on the Shiretoko Peninsula. You can have a fun road trip and enjoy the view of Mt.Rausu. You will be able to enjoy sightseeing from your car, hiking snow covered trails and traipsing through the trees and admiring the fall foliage. You might even meet a wild Ezo deer or Kita fox if you are lucky.