NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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びふか松山湿原 Bifuka-matsuyama-shitsugen Bifuka-Matsuyama Moor

Jp En

Bifukawa-Matsuyama Moor is on Mt Matsuyama and overlooks the town of Bifuka (Nakagawa-gun, Hokkaido).

Bifuka-Matsuyama Moor is located 797m above sea level and is also known as the highest moor in northern Japan. The moor is approximately 25ha in area and includes three ponds of varying sizes, into which kokanee salmon are periodically released.

The moor was designated as a Natural Environment Conservation Area of Hokkaido in 1976 (Showa 51), because of its many small alpine trees dwarfed by wind and snow. Trees unique to the mountain include aka-ezo pine (Picea glehnii) and Siberian dwarf pine, which are considered to be of academic importance.

The moor features a 1km-hiking route that runs through real wilderness. Here can be found highland plants flowering in various seasons, including the tachigi-boushis (Hosta rectifolia) and horomuirindous (Gentiana triflora var. japonica subvar. horomuiensis). The hiking route brings visitors to the great outdoors, where they can see dwarf trees such as the ezo pine and Siberian dwarf pines sitting between the blue sky and the green landscape. Indeed, such views could only be created by nature.
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アポイ岳 Apoi-dake Mt Apoi

Jp En

Mt Apoi is an 810.6m-high mountain in Samani, Hokkaido. The name 'Apoi' comes from 'ape oi' in the language of the native Ainu people and means 'place where fire is'.

Mt Apoi lies at the southernmost point of Hokkaido's backbone: the Hidaka Range. The climate conditions of Mt Apoi are the same as mountains of 2000m since the temperature drops when heavy fog blocks out the sun.

Horoman peridotite is the predominant rock of Mt Apoi. On the mountain's slopes can be found more than 80 types of alpine plants, including several unique to this area, such as 'hidakasou' (a type of callianthemum) and 'kouzorina' (a type of picris).

The Mt Apoi Alpine Plant Community was designated as a Special National Treasure in 1952 (Showa 27). In 1981 (Showa 56), the area was designated as the Erimo Quasi-National Park Special Protection Area in the Hidaka Range.

Mt Apoi is an important ecological nature area full of valuable plant life.
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ワッカ原生花園 Wakka-gensei-kaen Wakka Wild Flower Garden

Jp En

Wakka Wild Flower Garden is located in Sakaeura near Tokoro in Kitami, Hokkaido. The garden is part of Abashiri National Park and is situated near the Okhotsk Sea coast and on the shore of Saroma Lake, one of Japan's three biggest lakes. As a natural treasury, it has been designated as a site of Hokkaido Heritage.

'Wakka' in the language of the native Ainu people means 'drinking water' or 'springwater'. On the long sandbar dividing Saroma Lake and the Okhotsk Sea, there is a spring called Wakka Flower Holy Water. The name Wakka here refers to the rich supply of water in the area. The sandbar is 200~700m wide and about 20km long. It is the biggest area of seaside grassland in Japan.

Varying ecosystems have formed within the forest, grassland, dunes and marsh. More than 300 kinds of plants and flowers grow here including species from outside. The area is also a natural habitat for various wild birds.

Wakka Wild Flower Garden is also known as Ryugu Highway and features vivid natural scenery.
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京極のふきだし湧水 Kyougokuno-fukidashi-wakimizu Kyogo Spring

Jp En

Kyogo Spring is located in Fukidashi Park in Kyogo-cho, Abuta-gun in Hokkaido. Rising nearby is Mt Yotei (1898m), the tallest mountain in southwest Hokkaido. The foot of the mountain is abundant with springs and fountains, with a total of 17 natural spring sites.

The volume of water issuing from the springs each day is an amazing 530,000 tons. Of the 17 springs, Kyogo Spring has the greatest volume of water: some 70,000 tons each day! The springs are fed by rain or melted snow that percolates through Mt Yotei, then combines with the minerals in the ground in a process lasting 50 to 70 years, before finally welling out as natural spring water. The spring water is classified as 'kanro' (sweet) and is known to be very soft and slightly sweet.

Kyogo Spring was also chosen as one of Japan's top 100 sites for renowned water by the Environment Agency in 1985.

As the spring water pushes up between the mossy rocks and green trees, it releases a pleasant murmuring sound and creates a relaxing, healing space. It's not only the local people who love this spring water, but fanatics, too, who come all the way from Sapporo just to drink it.
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尾瀬 Oze Oze Marsh

Jp En

Oze Marsh spreads across the 3 prefectures of Fukushima, Niigata and Gunma in central Japan, and is a high marsh and part of Nikko National Park.

Entry to Oze is strictly limited, making the marsh a symbol of the natural and environmental conservation movement in the country. Oze has been designated a National Park Special Protection Area and is under strict protection by the government.

Additionally, Oze has been designated a Special Natural Monument under the Cultural Treasure Conservation Law, and changes to the current environmental conditions are strictly prohibited. The double and triple protectional laws put on Oze describes the utmost importance of the natural environment there.

Lava from the eruption of Mt Hiuchigadake more than 10,000 years ago dammed up the Tadami River and formed Oze. Because it is a basin completely surrounded by mountains, a greatly diversified ecosystem exists here.

Ozegahara at 1400m is the largest high marsh in the country. Many distinct species of plants have formed here because the marsh's only source of water is rainwater.
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つばくろ谷 Tsubakuro-dani Tsubakuro Valley

Jp En

The view of the dense trees closing in on Fudousawa Creek deep inside Tsubakuro Valley in Fukushima Prefecture is splendid. It is also one of the most famous fall-leaf viewing spots along the Bandai-aduma skyline, as well as being one of the eight great Aduma viewing spots.

The name Tsubakuro comes from the fact that Asian spotted martins (or iwatsubame in Japanese) often used to fly through and above the valley.

A new Fudousawa Bridge, rebuilt in 2002, allows for visitors to look down on the narrow valley from 80m above. The view of the valley during autumn is breathtaking and the contrast between the variously colored leaves and the white waters of the creek is quite beautiful.
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番匠川 Banjyou-gawa The Banjo River

Jp En

The Banjo River is the main stream of the Banjo water system in the southern area of Oita Prefecture. The river extends 38km from its source at Mt Haitate to the mouth of Saiki Bay.

There are several theories as to the origin of the river's name. One, is that it's named for a master carpenter named Banjo Toryo Masuemon, who came from Nara and built the Banjo Bridge. Another possible origin is from the name and the shape of Banjo Gane, which was given by the Imperial court to the person in charge of construction. There was also a village called Kawabe-no-Banjo near Saiki castle, which may also be the origin of the name.

In the Edo period, large-scale construction took place to create the four canals of the Saiki domain, which helped the domain's economy.

The Banjo River is one of the major clearwater streams in Kyushu. Its rich ecosystem includes fireflies, kingfishers and crested kingfishers.

The Banjo River festival is held every year in July at the town of Yayoi, and the Cosmos festival takes place in October. These festivals are very familiar to the people who live by the Banjo River.
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烏丸半島の蓮 Karasuma-hantou-no-hasu The Lotuses of Karasuma Peninsula

Jp En

Karasuma Peninsula features an extensive community of lotuses, which spread across Kusatsu in Shiga Prefecture. Stretching out for as much as 9.3ha, there is nowhere else in Japan that has so many lotuses in one place.

Lotuses flower between the middle of July and the middle of August. The best time to appreciate them is early in the morning around 6 a.m. The scene of thousands of lotus flowers swaying above the leaves is simply mesmerizing and takes viewers into a timeless bewitching world.

Alongside the lotus area is an aquatic botanical garden established by Kusatsu town and called Mizu-no-mori (Water Forest), with over 200 species of plants. The garden includes all sorts of lotuses and water lilies, and has a greenhouse (where many Southern garden plants and seeds are cultivated), as well as a small theater, which screens films and picture shows of lotus gardens and all kinds of lotuses.

During the lotus-flowering season, the garden opens earlier than usual at 7 to allow the people who have come to enjoy the lotuses to be able to relax afterwards.

The lotuses of Karasuma Peninsula make a charming and captivating spectacle, harmonizing perfectly with the scenery of nearby Lake Biwako.
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