Ritsurin Park in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture, is a National Special Scenic Spot and is one of the largest and most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan.
The building of this garden dates back to the early 17th century. In 1625, the lord of the Takamatsu domain, Ikoma Takatoshi, began the construction. Then in 1642, Matsudaira Yorishige took over the domain and continued its construction. The work was completed by the 5th lord of the Matsudaira family in 1745 after 100 years of improvements and extensions. After the new Meiji government took control, the park was designated a prefectural park and opened to the public.
Ritsurin Park is a stroll-type landscape garden exquisitely laid out with mounds, ponds and trees, where visitors can appreciate landscapes from every part of the garden. The building of a garden around the South Pond using the beautiful greenery of Mt. Shiun as a backdrop is specifically exquisite.
Tea ceremonies and garden concerts are held at Kikugetsutei Tea House, which used to be favored by the successive domain lords. In fall, the garden is lit up for visitors to enjoy autumn leaves.
Rinnoji Temple in Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect of Buddhism It was founded in Somekawa in present Fukushima Prefecture in 1441 by Date Mochimune, the 11th head of the Date clan, to respond to the plea by the nun Rantei Meigyoku, the wife of the late 9th head.
Rinnoji Temple is famous for its beautiful Japanese garden named “Rinnoji Zen Garden.” It is a pond stroll garden, which is said to be one of the most wonderful gardens in the Tohoku district. The garden was designed by the priest Fukusada Mugai (1881-1943), who restored the temple after it had declined in the Meiji period.
The pond with the backdrop of red pine and cedar trees reflect the images of weeping cherry blossoms and the three-story pagoda in the middle of April. White and violet flowers of Japanese irises in late June are especially impressive. Walking across bridges over the pond to view the scenery that changes by season, you will have a really relaxing time.
Dogashima is a scenic spot in the western Isu Peninsula. Facing Suruga Bay, its beautiful coastline is compared to Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, one of Japan’s Three Finest Views, and it is called “Matsushima in Izu.” Visitors can fully enjoy its dramatic stone formations created by forces of nature.
The highlight of the sightseeing in Dogashima is Tensodo (Skylight Cave) on Kameshima Island in the close offing of the boat pier. The erosion of waves made a tunnel in the rock. The ceiling of the tunnel is open, and it is just like a skylight. The cave is nationally designated as a Natural Monument.
The three islands (Zojima, Nakanoshima and Takashima) in the offing of the coast are generically called “Sanshiro Island.” At low tide, a 30 meter wide natural stone bridge emerges and connects the islands with the mainland shore so that people can walk to the islands. This stone bar is called a “tombolo” and is prefecturally designated as a Natural Monument.
On the hill near the coast is Orchid Resort Dogashima with an area of 9 hectare. Visitors can enjoy various species of orchids of the season both in the greenhouses and in the open air garden.
Cape Koganezaki is a scenic spot in Ugusu in Nishiizu Town, Shizuoka Prefecture. It features the rugged surface of the cliff, which was formed by the volcanic fluid from Mt. Nekko flowing down into Sagami Bay.
Cape Koganezaki is known for its magnificent view of the ocean and the beautiful sunset. As the name “Koganezaki (the gold cape)” implies, the cliffs shine gold at the sunset. This is because weathered andesite was uniquely altered into yellowish brown propylite, which is prefecturally designated as a natural monument.
Cape Koganezaki is full of charms including flowers that come into bloom from spring through fall, the view of Mt. Fuji on a fine day, the stone monument in memory of Yukio Mishima, the fine promenade and colonies of wild plants.
Saito Family Garden is located in Maeyachi in Ishinomaki City in the northwestern part of the Ishinomaki Plain in Miyagi Prefecture is a nationally designated Place of Scenic Beauty. This Japanese style garden was built in the late Meiji period (1868-1912) by Zenemon Saito, the 9th head of the Saito family, one of the three most prominent and wealthiest farming families in northern Japan throughout the middle and modern ages. It is highly evaluated as a distinctive modern garden.
The flat garden and pond are laid out around the Japanese-styled houses, Seiraku-tei and Muichi-an, against the backdrop of the slopes of hills. At the foot of the hill is a deep cave called Hosenkutsu, from which water springs out to feed the pond.
The late-Jomon earthen wares excavated from the Takaragamine Ruins site are exhibited in Takaragamine Museum, a Japanese-styled house with a thatched roof located in the garden.
The garden and the museum were closed to the public in March, 2008.
Lake Tanzawa is a manmade reservoir in Ashigarakami-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture. It is chosen as one of the 50 Scenic Spots of Kanagawa, the 100 Scenic Spots with a View of Mt Fuji in Kanto, and Japan's 100 Reservoirs. The reservoir was formed in 1978 after the completion of Miho Dam on the Sakagawa River.
Tanzawa Lake is a beautiful lake that respects the natural environment, and also has a wonderful view of Mt Fuji from the lakefront. The natural beauty of each season can be enjoyed, such as cherry blossoms in spring, and red leaves in autumn. The lake is also a leisure spot for enjoying boating, fishing and cycling.
On fine days, it is possible to observe 'Sakasa Fuji' (the reflection of Mt Fuji on the lake surface) from the Eisai Bridge, which crosses the center of the lake.
Lake Tanzawa Memorial and Miho Homestead are at the foot of the bridge. The Lake Tanzawa Visitors Center, Tanzawa Forest Museum and herb farm are to the southeast of the lake.
Observation decks and recreation trails are also provided here at Lake Tanzawa. It is a place where you can safely enjoy nature.
Misuji Waterfall drops from the Tashiro River, which flows between mountains in Tashiro, near Shigaraki in Kouga district, Shiga Prefecture.
It is called Misuji Waterfall because the water drops in three parts. Besides the fall, there is a resting place to view the scenery. The waterfall is about 15m high and carries a large volume of water. At the bottom, is a broad water pool. The combination of the 'movement' of the falling water and the 'silence' of this spot can be felt in one's bones. In the tranquil atmosphere of the mountains, the water splashing creates a brisk sound. Such an atmosphere could never be felt in big cities.
Besides the waterfall, one can enjoy hiking amongst nature. Misuji Waterfall is an excellent summer retreat due to its coolness.
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.