Mt. Kaimondake (924 m) is located in Ibusuki City in the southernmost part of Kagoshima Prefecture. It is counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. From its fine conical shape, it is called Satsuma Fuji.
Mt. Kaimondake erupted in 874 and 885, by which the lava dome was formed in the crater and it became a two-staged complex volcano. The walking trail winds up to the mountain top.
At the top of the mountain is Mitake Shrine, the back shrine of Hirasaki Shrine at the foot. Mt. Kaimondake itself is the sacred body of this shrine. From the mountain top, you can command a magnificent view from the Kirishima mountain range in the north to Yakushima Island in the south including major sightseeing spots in the prefecture.
In the areas at the foot of the mountain, rape flowers bloom in spring, leaves of the evergreen forest cover the whole mountain in early summer and Chinese tallow trees (Sapium sebiferum) turn red in fall.
Subtropical and tropical plants can be seen in the botanical garden in Kaimon Submontane Natural Park located around the 2nd station of the mountain. At the foot of the mountain area many hot spring towns.
Aoshima Island (Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture) is a small island with a circumference of only 1.5 km. It is surrounded by a rock formation, created by the crashing waves, known as Oni-no-Sentakuiwa (the ogre's washboard). It is one of the representative scenic spots in the prefecture.
The island is the treasure trove of plants that are rare in Japan. Over 5,000 Chinese fan palm trees and over 20 species of sub-tropical plants naturally grow on the island.
Aoshima Shrine on the island is said to have been founded 1,200 years ago. Surrounded with Chinese fan palms, you will feel as if you were offering a prayer in a jungle.
From early July to the end of August, the beach is crowded with people, who enjoy swimming as well as viewing endless blue water against clear sky.
Aoshima Shrine is located on Aoshima Island (Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture), a small island with a circumference of only 1.5 km. The island is one of the representative scenic spots in the prefecture. Surrounded with endless water and sky, Aoshima Island is the treasure trove of sub-tropical plants. As the island had been off limit to the general public and protected as a holy place since the ancient times, natural features including plants and rocks remain intact on the island. The wavy rocks that surround the island are designated as a national Special Natural Monument and the communities of sub-tropical plants are as a national Natural Monument.
Aoshima Shrine is said to have been founded 1,200 years ago. The enshrined deity is Hikohohodemi no Mikoto, popularly known as Yamasachihiko of Japanese myth “Umisachihiko, Yamasachihiko.” Hoderi no Mikoto (Umisachihiko) is enshrined at Ushiodake Shrine in Kitago-cho. Aoshima Shrine is believed to have divine power to bring luck of marriage, safe delivery, safe navigation and traffic safety.
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.
Cape Muroto in Muroto City in the eastern part of Kochi Prefecture protrudes into the Pacific Ocean and divides it into the Kii Channel and Tosa Bay. It is the southernmost end of the Aki mountain range and the soft stratum of mudstone, sandstone and gabbro forms terraced coasts, ledges and oddly-shaped rocks. The cape is counted as one of 8 Fine Views in Japan.
It is warm even in winter and many kinds of wild subtropical plants and trees cover the area. The forest of warm-temperate zone trees and coast plants found in this area are considered to be scientifically valuable. Ficus superba Miq. var. japonica Miq., Quercus phillyraeoides, Chinese bottle trees and Pteris wallichiana Ag. are nationally designated as Natural Monuments.
Cape Muroto is one of the representative sightseeing spots in Kochi Prefecture and its name “Muroto” is given to an express train of JR Shikoku.
Kijoka bashofu is one of the oldest handwoven textiles of Okinawa. It is mainly woven in Kijoka, and is a representative textile of Okinawa.
It is believed that bashofu was already being made in the C13th, although it was not until the modern era that it became more widely used.
Wives and daughters wove the cloth for their families, and created the thread from the plantain trees (basho) cultivated in their yards and fields. Even though cotton had become common in the C19th, basho was still popular among the local people.
Kijoka bashofu still carries on this tradition. In 1974, it was designated an Important Intangible Cultural Asset (group category).
The bashofu cloth is unique in its lightness and smoothness. The airy light fabric is perfect for the hot subtropical climate of Okinawa. Today, it is a widely-favored textile.
Yaeyama joufu (high-quality ramie) fabric is woven on Ishigaki Island, Okinawa. The small dark-brown 'kasuri' (scratched) patterns against the white background on this material give a very refreshing look.
In the early 17th century, the Satsuma clan invaded Ryukyu (Okinawa) and imposed taxes on the Okinawans. Many people were made to weave fabric to be sent as tribute to their rulers, hence the development of the Yaeyama joufu technique.
After regulations were abolished at the end of the Meiji period, the craftworkers organized guilds and Yaeyama joufu became a popular cottage industry.
The materials for the ramie and the many kinds of dye are all natural, and are turned into beautiful fabric by the hands and wisdom of the people. The cloth is dried in the May sun and the dyes are fixed by seawater.
Many people love this high-quality ramie because it suits the subtropical climate: it is refreshing and light enough to to let air pass through.