Jogashima is a small island located near Misaki port, in Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, at the southern edge of the Miura Peninsula.
Jogashima features rock strata that is ten million years old. The island is long and narrow from east to west (1.8km), 4 km around and covers a total area of 0.99m2. It is the biggest natural island in Kanagawa Prefecture and faces the Pacific to the south and Misaki fishing port to the north.
The island is just like a natural stratum museum; many changes in the earth's crust have led to curved, sharp and shifted strata that are exposed in different areas around the island.
There are many sightseeing spots on Jogashima, such as a tablet incised with the poetry of Kitahara Hakushu, Jogashima Park (one of the 50 major parks), narcissi (one of Japan's top 100 sites for flowers), Umiu Observation Deck, the cave entrance of Umanose, Jogashima lighthouse, Aburatsubo Gulf (one of 50 scenes), Awazaki lighthouse and Keikyu Aburatsubo Marine Park.
Jogashima is small but full of sightseeing places and with a long history, too.
The Tsue River, which flows in Nakatsuemura, in Hita, Oita Prefecture, is one of the headwaters of the Chikugo River. It forms a natural border between Fukuoka Prefecture to the west and Kumamoto Prefecture to the south. Along with its neighboring village, Kamitsuemura in Hita-shi, the river is positioned in the deepest part of the mountains in all of Oita.
The Tsue River, which runs through the center of Nakatsuemura, is clear and translucent, and the stream is crisp and slightly sweet. Nine tributaries flow into the river, and there are many beautiful and wonderful ravines along its course. The river fills Shimoke Dam whose scenery captivates spectators with the beauty of nature at special moments during the four seasons.
The dam is also the uppermost section of the Chikugo River and is an ideal place for catching the most delicious ayu (sweetfish). The ayu from the Tsue River is known to be first-class because of its strong, delectable scent and firm body, which has just the right amount of fat on it. Tsue River, which also satisfies anglers, is extraordinary for its clear streams.
The upper reaches of the Kawahara River flow for a long stretch through the spectacular Hyodo Valley in Kamitsuemachi, Hita, in Oita Prefecture.
The Hyodo Valley has an altitude of 600m and the mountain stream has very clear, translucent water with a refreshing and brisk aspect. It is also known as an excellent spot for masu salmon fishing, and a common sight is that of families fighting against a masu salmon at the fishing spot.
There are various waterfalls that tumble over rough and jagged rocks, making an intense scene that is enhanced by color contrasts in the four seasons. Many wild birds, such as the crested kingfisher, the akashiyobin, and the grey wagtail, nest along the ravine, allowing people to enjoy birdwatching as well. In the autumn, the maple trees turn a rich red, and if the weather is fine, these and the ginkgo trees, along with the other trees in the valley appear to shine. Because of its secluded setting, the Hyodo Valley is an excellent area to experience nature.
Ayugaeri-no-taki (Waterfall of Returning Sweetfish) is a small waterfall found along the Yamakuni River in Sankousugi, Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture. The origin of the name comes from the story of a young sweetfish that was moving up the Yamakuni River but could not get past this waterfall.
Ayugaeri-no-taki has a width of 10 meters and is the only waterfall along the Yamakuni River. It is located in the center of a flood plain, and forms a miniature waterfall. There are many waterfalls named 'Ayugaeri-no-taki', but this one, seen along National Route 212, is the most humble.
The way the water splashes onto the surface below along with droplets sprayed into the air, all occurring just between two simple, rustic boulders, is absolutely beautiful. There are many views with these kinds of strangely shaped rocks along the National Route in this area, making it a very interesting place. Ayugaeri-no-taki is a notable scenic beauty spot that is appreciated for its sense of secrecy.
Okoge Hometown Village is located at the foot of the Chūgoku Mountains, by the side of the clear waters of the Awa River in Okayama Prefecture. The private houses and the thatched hut housing the water mill create a tranquil atmosphere recalling the old countryside of Japan.
The Okayama Prefecture Hometown Village System was conceived in 1974 to preserve the scenery of the countryside. Seven villages have been designated since then including Okoge Hometown Village.
In early summer, Okoge Hometown Village is a mass of green from the new leaves of the maple, checker and Kobushi Mongolia trees, while in autumn, visitors can admire the fall foliage around the village. In the Ochiai River that flows through the town, there is rainbow trout while fishing may be enjoyed at the Keiryu Fishing Place.
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.
Fishermen's Memorial (Gyomin Gijinzuka), located in the town of Minato, Imizu, Toyama prefecture, is dedicated to the memory of two Hojozu fishermen, Saganoya Kuemon and Arashiya Shirobe, who died for a just cause.
The history of this memorial dates back to the Edo period when unscrupulous merchants dominated the fishing business for their own profit. Kuemon and Shirobe with 400 fishermen complained to the government. Later these two were executed as so-called ringleaders of this 'Bandori Revolt'. Their revolt did lead, however, to an improvement in the treatment of fishermen and this memorial was built to commemorate the two 'Sons of Righteousness who reformed the society'.
The memorial has been designated as one of 100 Historical Cultural Assets of Fishing Villages that Should Be Protected for the Future, by the Fisheries Agency in 2006.
Hegura Island is located about 48km north of the Noto Peninsula. The shore has complicated inlets and cliffs formed by exposure to rough waves. The island is about 13m high and some 5km around and is small enough to explore in an hour.
In the past, fishermen from Wajima on the opposite shore would come here during the summer fishing season. But now, the number of inhabitants is increasing. Thanks to currents and landforms, it has many good fishing spots and is especially popular with ama, professional woman divers, who were described in an ancient poem in the Manyoushu (A Collection of a Myriad Leaves).
The views around the island have not changed so much over time and, in summer, many ama come here to dive for fish. In fact, the island is mainly fished by ama, their main catch being abalone, agar, soft seaweed and turban shells.
In addition, the island is a good resting place for birds migrating between Japan and the Asian Continent. In fact, there are some birds that can only be seen here in all Japan.