Capes on Okushiri Island had been considered holy places where people offered prayers to gods in the ancient times. Among such capes is Cape Miyatsu Benten. If you go northward on the east side of the island, you will see the cape with a shrine atop of it.
It is Bentengu Shrine, the history of which dates back to 1831, when local fishermen enshrined the statue of Benten at the watch house located here and prayed for a good catch. The shrine building was built in 1927 and since then Benten has been guarding the people of the nearby villages.
The cape commands a magnificent ocean view with the main land of Hokkaido seen in the distance. Surrounding sea is so cleat that you can see the bedrocks. The cape rises in mystic tranquility and only the lapping of the waves can be heard.
Todo (Sea Lion) Island is located to the right north of Cape Sukoton at the north end of Rebun Island. The island with a circumference of 4 km is surrounded sheer cliffs. You can go to the island by a fishing boat from Rebun Island, but there are no piers. As the boats come alongside some rocks or cliffs, you cannot make a landing when the sea is rough. The only man-made structures on the island are a watch house and a rotting remnant of the old watch house.
Todo Island is a plateau-like island, which is the treasure trove of alpine plants. Many species of plants that are peculiar to Rebun Island can be found on this island, too. In summer seals come and rest themselves here, and so do sea lions in winter. It is also the breeding ground of slaty-backed gulls and cormorants. Todo Island is a precious place where nature remains intact.
Cat Rock is in the ocean near the southwestern end of Rebun Island, 25 km off Japan’s northernmost city, Wakkanai in Hokkaido. Cat Rock is a 25 m tall rock, which resembles a cat sitting with her back hunched up and viewing the Sea of Japan. With the ears erected and the tail extending straight to the rear, its cute appearance excites a smile of tourists. Is she ignoring us as she feels like it? Or is she fascinated by something in the distance? It gives us various impressions according to our state of mind.
Shunkunitai located in Nemuro Peninsula in the eastern part of Hokkaido is a huge sandbar, 8km long by 1.3km wide, which divides the Sea of Okhotsk and Lake Furen. On the accumulated three lined dunes, there are many kinds of natural surroundings such as seashores, grasslands, marshes, forests and mudflats. Providing fine natural environment for various kinds of wildlife, it looks like a floating forest.
Its academic importance is highly esteemed. In the center of the dune is the greatest Ramanas rose (Rosa rugosa) colonies, which continues 3 km. In the wetland along the sea is the breeding ground of red-crowned cranes. White-tailed eagles inhabit here, for there are abundant fish in the ocean near the sandbar range. Shunkunitai is one of the nation's eminent paradises for wildfowl.
Green pine grove extends 2 km in arch along white sand beach at Takada Matsubara Beach in Rikuzen Takada City, Iwate Pref. This pine grove is of about 70,000 pine trees, which are over 300 years old. The landscape reminds us of the one drawn in a Japanese-style painting. The beach is counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Views.
Takuboku Ishikawa, a poet in the Meiji period, who spent his junior high school days in Iwate prefecture, spoke highly of this beach. Also, Kyoshi Takahama, a master haiku poet in the Meiji period, praised the beach and wrote a haiku about it when he visited this place as a member of the judges to decide Japan’s 100 Fine Views. The stone monuments inscribed with their poems are erected in the grove. Approximately 4.4 million people come to this beach for relaxation and refreshment.
Karekinada (sea of withered tree) is the sea along a ria coast from Shirahama-cho to Kushimoto-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama Pref. There are some opinions about the origin of its name. One explanation goes that the only port along the coastline that a ship can drop at on a stormy day is Susami Port. There is no other port to take a rest, namely “the shade of a tree” for overland travelers, the rest of the coast is as good as withered trees. Another explanation is that the sea wind and waves of this coastline are strong enough to wither trees. There are strange-shaped stones and huge rocks continuously standing along this inhospitable shore. This is also a part of the Ohechi route of Kumano Ancient Road. It is a steep mountain path above bold cliffs and rocky beaches, but the view from above is said to be the best on the route. It is also known as the setting of a novel “Karekinada” by Kenji Nakagami. The area along the coastline was designated as Kumano-Karekinada-Kaigan Prefectural National Park in 1968, and a strong effort for nature conservation is being made.
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.
Nagaiso Beach in Taisei-cho, Hokkaido is dotted with a lot of oddly-shaped rocks created by erosion of sea water. The most famous among them is the Mother and Child Bear Rocks.
According to a local legend, starving mother and child bears left their home mountain and reached this beach at last. When the child bear was eating a crab, he fell into the sea. Trying to save her son, the mother bear dived into the sea, but both were drowned to death. Deeply impressed by the affection of the mother bear, the god picked their bodies out of the sea and turned them into rocks.
The silhouette of the rocks is so real that it looks like a real mother bear embracing her son. Especially in the sunset, the outlines of their loving figures appear clearly.