Jizo Rock is a 50 m pair of rocks located in the southwestern coast of Rebun Island in the northernmost part of Hokkaido. It is one of the representative sightseeing spots of the island and used as the motif of the town sing board of Rebun Town.
It was named Jizo because the two rocks look like two hands joined together in prayer when seen from the sea. Actually, the rocks in the bottom of the sea were erected by an ancient crustal movement and have been eroded by the rough waves to create such shapes.
Alpine plants bloom on the surface of the desolate cliffs around the rocks and create a marvelous landscape in summer. Jizo Rock looks dynamic in the daytime, while benevolent in the evening. Either has its own interest, but it is the most splendid when the sun sets between the two rocks. The photos of Jizo Rock in the sunset often appear in brochures for tourists.
Ganmon Cave, located about the center of Noto Kongo, the most scenic spot in Noto Peninsula, is a cave that wave erosion of the rough Sea of Japan hollowed out in the center of a huge rock. The cave is 15 m tall, 6 m wide and 60 m deep. A small ship can go through it. The towering rock is covered with old pine trees. There are several legends about this cave. The most famous one is that Minamoto no Yoshitsune hid himself in this cave when he headed for Oshu (presently Tohoku Region), escaping from his brother, Yoritomo. Near Ganmon Cave stand a lot of strange places of interest. To the south of Ganmon Cave lie Goban (Go board) Island, where Yoshitsune and his followers are said to have enjoyed playing Igo, and the Takanosu (hawk’s nest) Rock with a height of 27 m, where hawks made there nests, the Fukiagenotaki Waterfall with a height of 27 m, and Senjojiki Rock
Gion Yasaka Shrine in Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a historic shrine, which is widely known as “Gion-sama” in the area. Though its origin is not clear, it is said that it was founded in 804 by Sakanoue Tamuramaro.
The shrine had been left desolated for a long time until 940, when it was restored by Fujiwara no Hidesato, who was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North and put down the rebellion of Taira no Masakado. The shrine buildings were, however, destroyed by battle fires in the later periods.
It was in 1601 when the shrine was at last restored again by Date Masamune. Since then, it was worshipped as the guardian god of Shida County (present-day Osaki City). During the Edo period (1603-1868), it was revered by the successive domain lords as Ichinomiya (the highest-ranked shrine) among Japan’s three important Gion shrines. The decorative paintings on the ceiling of the main hall were painted during this period.
The annual festival is held in July every year, when the shrine is crowded with people who come to enjoy seeing the mikoshi (portable shrine) parade and the daimyo’s procession.
You will feel the honorable history of the shrine from the solemn atmosphere of the precinct.
Azechi Point is a small peninsula located to the west of Kiritappu Peninsula, in the vicinity of Kiritapp Town of Eastern Hokkaido. It protrudes out over the sea as if it is watching over Biwako Bay.
Azechi Point is known to have a spectacular sweeping view of the beautiful shore lines of Biwako Bay and Hamanaka Bay and, facing the Pacific Ocean, has an expansive view of table shaped islands unique to this region.
From the point visitors can observe closely the island well known as a nesting ground for the rare Tufted Puffin as well as Kenpokki Island, which is a breeding ground for numerous sea birds including Japanese Cormorants. Numerous strangely shaped rocks appear and disappear under the raging waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Visiting the point in the early morning is also worthwhile. In season, visitors can see a dynamic scene of fleets of kelp catching ships racing each other towards the ocean.
Sunset is also spectacular; the scene of the island and the ocean glowing red reflecting the crimson colored sun setting down over the Pacific Ocean is much loved by locals.
Azechi Point is a place where the visitor can indulge in the spectacle of nature from the moment the day dawns to the last minutes of the sun setting on the horizon.
Omijima Island located in Kitanagato-Kaigan Quasi-National Park in the northwestern part of Yamaguchi Prefecture is an island with an area of 18.8 sq km and a circumference of 40 km. It was nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty and a Natural Monument in 1926.
The coastline in the northern part of the island is known as “the Alps on the Sea” because there are a diverse variety of bluffs, caves, stone pillars and oddly-shaped rocks. The sightseeing boats from Senzaki Harbor on the mainland provide a close view of the scenery including Bat Caves in a bat-shaped huge rock in the sea and Gold Cave, inside of which is shining gold.
The rock strata creating this eroded land features are composed of solidified lava that flew out at the eruption about 100 million years ago. Then the Sea of Japan emerged about 15 million years ago, and the rock mass was repeatedly eroded by raging waves and gales of the sea to form these natural artworks.
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 Ransho Promenade round the tip of Muroto Cape extends approx. 1.4 kilometers along the coast line of the cape, from the statue of Nakaoka Shintaro to Muroto Seinen-Taishi-zo (the statue of Kobodaishi Kukai when young). You can enjoy viewing dynamic landscape with the continuation of oddly-shaped rocks and cliffs created by the erosion of the Pacific Ocean. Especially amazing is the zone between Eboshi Rock and Hishago Rock, where you will be overwhelmed by wild waves dashing against many strange and monstrous shaped rocks.
Along the promenade are several historic points pertaining to Kobodaishi Kukai, which include Kanjo-no-hama Beach, where Kobodaishi performed the ritual of Kanjo (the ritual to pass the teacher’s knowledge and power onto his student by pouring sacred water on the student’s head) and Mearai-no-ike Pond, where Kobodaishi purified the water of the pond and cured people of their eye diseases.
Near the entrance to the promenade stands a fig tree (Ficus superba Miq. var. japonica Miq.), which is nationally designated as a Natural Monument. Its roots extend in many directions like octopus legs. Clusters of grand crinum lilies in summer and thistles (Cirsium maritimum) in fall add colors to the coast washed by the wild waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Cape Ashizuri is at the tip of Ashizuri Peninsula, the southernmost point of Shikoku. The 80 m steep cliff was created by subsidence and elevation that has repeatedly occurred for a long time to the granite rock stratum formed around Mt. Hakuo (433 m). Wild waves of the Pacific Ocean violently dash against the cliff. On top of the cliff stands a white lighthouse, which creates a magnificent and dynamic seascape peculiar to the Tosa region.
Due to the north-flowing Kuroshio Current, it is cool in summer and warm in winter, when the temperature never drops below zero ℃. There are many species of wild subtropical plants, many of which are designated as Natural Monuments. The cape is also famous for camellia blossoms. The promenade lined with 150,000 camellia trees turns into a camellia flower tunnel during the blooming season.