Ochiishi-misaki Wetland spreads on the plateau-shaped small cape protruding into the Pacific Ocean at the base of Nemuro Peninsula in the eastern part of Hokkaido. It is designated as the prefecture’s Natural Environment Preservation District. The wetland is known as the southernmost boundary of Lapland rosebay (Rhododendron parvifolium), which produces little flowers in June. Other rare plants such as skunk cabbage, Hakusanchidori (Orchis aristata) and hare’s tail cotton grass can be seen.
Walking through the wetland and the swamp forest of red pine trees along the wooden trail, you will get to a light house, which is located at the easternmost end of Japan. From there, you can command a panoramic view including unending stretch of the green carpet of the wetland, the dynamic coastline of continuing cliffs and the far-off horizon in the Pacific Ocean.
As a part of natural preservation district, there are no man-made structures, so you can enjoy natural landscapes that remain intact here.
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.
Cape Nosappu is at the tip od Nemuro Peninsula in the easternmost end of Hokkaido. It is located at 43°22’ N; 145°49′ E. The cape is very close to the Khabomai Rocks including Signalny (Kaigara-jima) and Tanfilyeva (Suisho-jima) and Kunashir Island (Kunashiri-to).
Known as “the Cape of Drift Ice,” the cape displays the dynamic and fantastic landscape of drift ice in winter. It is also famous as the place where the rising sun can be seen earliest in Japan. On New Year’s Day, a lot of people visit to “worship” the new year’s first sunrise.
The Cape Nosappu Lighthouse at the tip is the oldest in Hokkaido, which opened in 1872. In Bokyo-no-Misaki Park in the vicinity, there are a variety of facilities related to the Northern Territories such as the arch-shaped monument for the restoration activity called “Shima-no-kakehashi (Bridge to the Four Islands),” Bokyo-no-Ie (Northern Territory Folk Museum) and Hoppo-kan (Northern Museum).
Hanasaki Lighthouse Kurumaishi (wheel stone) down the path from Hanasaki Lighthouse at the tip of Cape Hanasaki is one of a few of its kind in the world. This unique stone, 6 m in diameter, is a nationally designated Natural Monument. With radial joints in concentric circle, it really looks like a wheel as its name shows.
Besides this huge stone, there are some other wheel stones, 1 to 3 m in diameter, can be found in this area. The radial joints on a wheel stone were created when hot lava was cooled in the sea water in a short time. Amazingly, wheel stones were created as long as 6,000 years ago, when dinosaurs became extinct. Hanasaki Lighthouse Kurumaishi is the symbol of the cape that tells us the memory of mother earth.
Nemuro Kurumaishi (wheel stone) is down the path from Hanasaki Lighthouse at the tip of Cape Hanasaki, which is famous for Hanasaki crabs. This unique stone is a nationally designated Natural Monument. With radial joints in concentric circle, it really looks like a wheel as its name shows. It looks as if it were a man-made work of art.
The radial joints on a wheel stone were created when hot lava was cooled in the sea water in a very short time. Amazingly, this wheel stone was created as long as 6,000 years ago. Such huge and beautiful radial joints can’t be found in any other place in the world. Standing in front of this stone, we can’t but realize the vital power of the earth. It’s the power that makes the earth itself rotate too.
Japan’s largest virgin forest of camellia trees with an area of about 10 ha spreads near Toragasaki Lighthouse at the foot of Mt. Kasayama in Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. From December through March, about 25,000 camellia trees come into bloom. The names such as Hagi-komachi, Hagi-no-sato, Hakumoukou, Fukakusa-no-shosho and Kasayama-Wabisuke are given to some of the fine trees by citizens’ voting.
You’ll never get tired of looking around such a huge amount of camellia flowers because the color, size and shape of flowers, stamens, and leaves differ from tree to tree. You can enjoy this magnificent camellia forest at any time during the flowering season from the tunnel of camellia flowers at the peak time to the red carpet of the fallen flowers at the end of the season.
From February through March, Camellia Festival is held, where you can also enjoy local performing arts on stage and shopping at the local product market.
Sumiyoshi Lighthouse stands on Funamachi Port site in Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture. Ogaki used to be an important commercial port during the Edo period. In the old days, boats going down the Suimon River to Kuwana would dock in this port. The lighthouse is said to have been built during the Genroku period (1688-1704).
Ogaki is known for the place that Matsuo Basho concluded his journey of the Narrow Road to a Far Province. Having traveled 2,400 km from Fukagawa in Edo in 140 days, Basho aged 46 embarked from this port for Kuwana and headed for Ise Shrine. What kinds of memories recurred to his mind? He recited: “Sadly, I part from you / Like a clam torn from its shell / I go, the autumn too.”
An old-fashioned boat placed under the lighthouse as well as the vermillion bridge tells us the atmosphere of the days when Basho departed from the port. The riverside is a famous cherry blossom viewing spot today. The arch made of cherry blossoms entertains the viewers in the blooming season.
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.