Nature

  •  Lake Biwa

    Lake Biwa

    Shiga Nature

    Filled with water that supports the lives of 14 million Kansai residents, Lake Biwa is a true treasure of Japan. The water is incredibly clean, so much that one can drink directly from the lake. Refresh body and mind on Lake Biwa with beautiful views of cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, and snowy landscapes throughout the year, and water sports such as cruising while an invigorating wind blows, or walking or cycling along the lake shore.

    Location:

    Shiga Prefecture

  •  National Treasure Konan Sanzan Meguri

    National Treasure Konan Sanzan Meguri

    Shiga Nature History

    Konan City is home to many temples and shrines. Among these, three Tendai Sect temples built during the Wadou Era (708-715), Jorakuji, Chojuji, and Zensuiji are known as the Konan Sanzan, and are some of the most famous temples, designated national treasures. Not only do they have a long history, but the architecture of each temple's buildings is solemn and quiet, and they house many important cultural properties such as buddhist statues and art pieces. A trip to see the Konan Sanzan is a trip full of encounters with wonderful treasures. This will surely be a way to feel the ancient Buddhism that produced Japan's forward-thinking culture.

    Location:

    Konan City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  Lake Biwa Fireworks Festival

    Lake Biwa Fireworks Festival

    Shiga Nature Festivals・Events

    The soul-stirring backdrop of Lake Biwa and the beautiful reflection in the lake surface are what makes this fireworks festival special. Approximately 10,000 fireworks of varying sizes are launched, lighting up the night sky with bright colors. The half-sphere shaped star mines that spread out above the lake's surface, the star mines that are launched diagonally, and the giant star mines that feature in the finale are made extra special because of the lake's surface. The fireworks with lights reflecting in the lake surface make it a beautiful and magical festival. This year marks the 30th anniversary of this seasonal tradition on Lake Biwa.

    Location:

    Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  Lake Biwa - Chikubu Island (kawarake-nage)

    Lake Biwa - Chikubu Island (kawarake-nage)

    Shiga Nature History

    One of Lake Biwa's eight picturesque sights, Chikubu Island is also known as the "Island where Gods Live". The best scenery on Chikubu Island is the Ryujin Haisho. Amongst this beautiful scenery, visitors can throw small clay plates with wishes written on them. It is said that if the plate lands inside the torii gate, the wish will come true. Come entrust your wish to Lake Biwa on the Island of the Gods.

    Location:

    Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture

  •   Ski Hill with a view of Lake Biwa (Biwako Valley, Hakodateyama Ski Area)

    Ski Hill with a view of Lake Biwa (Biwako Valley, Hakodateyama Ski Area)

    Shiga Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    Experience how close together beautiful mountains are to beautiful Lake Biwa while enjoying winter sports. Biwako Valley is one of the largest ski resorts in the Kansai region. It is popular as a local ski spot for Kansai residents because it is so easy to access and to start skiing immediately. Mt. Hakodateyama Ski Resort also has many slopes as a slope paradise. The excitement is off the charts!

    Location:

    Takashima City, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  National Treasure Cherry Blossoms at Hikone Castle

    National Treasure Cherry Blossoms at Hikone Castle

    Shiga Nature History

    In spring, 1,200 cherry trees blossom around Hikone Castle, and it is the most beautiful time of year around the castle. In particular, the fan-shaped cherry blossoms that are reflected in the water are breathtakingly beautiful. Experience a moving experience at Hikone Castle, a landmark with over 400 years of history.

    Location:

    Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  Shakudo-ji, Keisoku-ji Route

    Shakudo-ji, Keisoku-ji Route

    Shiga Nature History

    The statue of Buddha in Shakudo-ji temple is made from a single zelkova tree, and the red of the lips remain today. It is said that in ancient times it was a brightly colored statue. The gently curved figure clothed in flowing robes has always given visitors an impression of mildness and calm. Keisoku-ji temple is known as the most famous spot for autumn leaves in the Omi region, with gently sloped stone steps leading up to the temple flanked on either side by moss-covered stone walls, and over 200 old Japanese maple trees.

    Location:

    Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  Biwaichi

    Biwaichi

    Shiga Nature History Facilities・Townscapes

    A regular favorite among Japanese cycling fans is the course around Lake Biwa. Recently, visitors from overseas bring their bicycles here and enjoy the beautiful scenery and streetscapes as well as delicious food while biking around the lake. A trip around Lake Biwa is a perfect way to experience a condensed "Japan".

    Location:

    Shiga Prefecture

  •   Kano Shojuan - Sunai no Sato

    Kano Shojuan - Sunai no Sato

    Shiga Nature Facilities・Townscapes Food

    On the banks of the Setagawa river, the only river that emerges from Lake Biwa, find Sunai no Sato, a hilly spot of nearly 21 hectares. Here, plum and citron trees grow, and the farmers pursue the ideal in traditional Japanese sweets-making. The village uses the natural mountain stream, and the forested area is used as a walking trail, and many hundreds of wild flowers bloom here to calm the spirits of those who visit. In addition to walking, visitors can also stay for a meal. There are many souvenirs for sale here that are not available elsewhere.

    Location:

    Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  MIHO Museum

    MIHO Museum

    Shiga Nature Facilities・Townscapes Industry・Technology

    World-famous architect IM Pei designed this museum built on the theme of the harmony of nature, architecture, and works of art, in the image of Shangri-la. It features a collection of approximately 2000 antique works of art and tea instruments from Egypt to the Middle East and all along the Silk Road to Japan, with 250 items on regular display. Enjoy cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, and other seasonal changes in the vast natural scenery while viewing the many works of art.

    Location:

    Koka City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  Enryaku-ji

    Enryaku-ji

    Shiga Nature History Food

    Enryaku-ji temple on Mt. Hiei is the head temple of the Tendai Sect, with over 1200 years of history, and it was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994. Enjoy beautiful scenery such as cherry blossoms in spring and red leaves in autumn, and look out on Japan's largest lake, Lake Biwa, also known as the Pond of the Healing Buddha. In this atmosphere full of gravity as the training ground for Tendai Sect members, visitors can enjoy a serene and quiet moment trying zazen meditation and copying Buddhist scripture.

    Location:

    Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  Hikone Castle

    Hikone Castle

    Shiga Nature History Facilities・Townscapes

    This castle was built under orders from Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu over the course of approximately 20 years from 1604. The castle is well-preserved, looking much like its original form, a rarity for Japanese castles. It is also a designated national treasure. The castle keep looks out over Lake Biwa, and it is particularly beautiful during cherry blossom season in spring, and when the autumn leaves turn red. It is also known for its mascot, one of the most popular in Japan, Hiko-nyan. Come to the castle and meet the adorable Hiko-nyan.

    Location:

    Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture

  •  Tea plantations of Shirasu-Ishidera

    Tea plantations of Shirasu-Ishidera

    Kyoto Nature Industry・Technology Food

    In the south-east of the Yamashiro region, Wazuka is home to Uji tea plantations that run to the top of the mountain. With clean air and a chilly climate, there is a big difference in temperatures between day and night, and it's a perfect place to grow delicious tea. Wazuka was first planted with tea in the Kamakura period, and those pioneers hoed the slopes, growing tea plants and re-planting when the plants grew old. Through repeating this work unceasingly, the tea plantations and the village became one, creating a beautiful traditional Japanese landscape as Japan's "home of tea".

    Location:

    Wazuka, Soraku District, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Kasagiyama Sea of Clouds

    Kasagiyama Sea of Clouds

    Kyoto Nature

    At 289m, Kasagiyama is a small mountain. It's giant stones and unusual stones have been objects of faith for two thousand years. The mountaintop has been known as a ascetic training spot since ancient times. Even now, it is enjoyed by young and old alike as a hiking spot. In late autumn and early winter, on cold, clear mornings, the view from the top becomes a sea of clouds, a quiet and magical scene.

    Location:

    Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Joruri-ji

    Joruri-ji

    Kyoto Nature History

    Centered on a pond shaped like the sanskrit letter "A, with the Healing Buddha in the east and the Amitabha Buddha in the west of the garden, this designated place of scenic beauty and history represents paradise. The main temple (a national treasure) contains a concealed buddhist statue of Kichijotennyo (an important cultural property), and nine seated Amida Buddha statues (national treasures), and another name for the temple is Kutaiji. The temple is number sixteen in the list of Kansai's flower temples, and flowers can be found blooming here throughout the four seasons.

    Location:

    Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Goro Sky Tower

    Goro Sky Tower

    Kyoto Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    The Goro Sky Tower is the place to look out on a 360 degree panorama view of Maizuru, including Maizuru Port and the surrounding rias coastline. Chosen as the number one view in the Kinki Region 100 Famous Views, this spectacular view is worth a look.

    Location:

    Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Sainokami Wisteria   (Minamiariji, Oe, Fukuchiyama City)

    Sainokami Wisteria  (Minamiariji, Oe, Fukuchiyama City)

    Kyoto Nature

    Coiled around a 2000 year-old zelkova tree, this wild blooming wisteria spreads for 30 meters in every direction. It's rare to find such a large wild wisteria, and the great twisting, stretching shape embodies the throbbing pulse of life itself. The zelkova itself is a shinto object of worship for the god of wisdom, "Sainokami", a guardian deity of travel and sailing, is also an object of faith for women's diseases and matchmaking.

    Location:

    Fukuchiyama City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Yaebeni Weeping Cherry Trees  (Hirano, Yakuno, Fukuchiyama City)

    Yaebeni Weeping Cherry Trees  (Hirano, Yakuno, Fukuchiyama City)

    Kyoto Nature

    Along the approach to the Kyoto Prefecture Ryokka Center, there are 25 weeping cherry trees that bloom in mid-April, creating a pink cherry blossom tunnel. It's lit-up at night, giving the impression of a flowing waterfall.

    Location:

    Fukuchiyama City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Komyo-ji

    Komyo-ji

    Kyoto Nature History

    It is the headquarters of Seizan Jodo Buddhism and believed to be built by Naozane Kumagai (Renjo), one of the disciples of Honen, in 1198. The temple, located at the foot of the green west mountains, is surrounded by nature for all four seasons. The temple is especially known for its breathtaking fall foliage and the tunnel of maple leaves, but the fresh green and the green leaves of the same maple tree in the summer as well as the snowscape in the winter are also a sight worth seeing.

    Location:

    Nagaoka City, Kyoto

  •  Bamboo Path

    Bamboo Path

    Kyoto Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    The Nishinooka Hill bamboo forest is located in the Northwest of the city, which is a known producer of high quality edible bamboo shoots. The "Take no Michi" bamboo path is planted with the moso bamboo that Muko City is famous for, and is maintained in order to preserve the landscape. Take no Michi features a bamboo fences made of bundles of bamboo called "takehogaki", and "kofungaki" fences made in the shape of ancient burial mounds, with a rounded top. The "kaguyagaki" fences are made in the image of the collar of the 12-layered kimono worn by Kaguya-hime of legend, and other original fence styles for a total of seven different kinds of bamboo fence that line the 1.8km bamboo forest road.

    Location:

    Muko City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •   Yodogawa Kasen Park Sewaritei Area

    Yodogawa Kasen Park Sewaritei Area

    Kyoto Nature

    Sewaritei is a 1.4km embankment between the Kizugawa and Ujigawa rivers, located in South Kyoto Prefecture. It is a spot rich in natural habitat, with many wild birds. Each season brings a new landscape to enjoy, and spring is particularly beautiful. There are approximately 250 cherry trees planted along each side of the embankment, and when they bloom they create a never-ending pink tunnel: an otherworldly, magical scene. In autumn, the cherry leaves turn red, and the area takes on a new atmosphere. On clear days, it's a good spot for a picnic, and in designated areas, visitors can do barbecuing for free.

    Location:

    Yawata City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Japanese-style Wedding (Shimogamo Shrine)

    Japanese-style Wedding (Shimogamo Shrine)

    Kyoto Nature History Festivals・Events

    Currently popular with Chinese couples for wedding photos is the Japanese-style wedding ceremony (wakon). Japan's old capital of Kyoto is the ideal location for this. Kyoto has many historical shrines and temples such as Kamigamo Shrine, as well as other historical buildings such as the former Kyoto Prefectural Government building. It is a perfect place to make lifelong memories.

    Location:

    Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Kyoto Aquarium

    Kyoto Aquarium

    Kyoto Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    Kyoto's first aquarium was completed in March 2012, built in the old capital which is enclosed on three sides by mountains, under the concept of "Life Connected by Water". With Kyoto's unique river culture as a background, and the connection between the headwaters in the mountains and the sea, many living creatures are connected in an ecosystem-style presentation.

    Location:

    Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Izumisano City, Osaka Prefecture Mt. Inuaki

    Izumisano City, Osaka Prefecture Mt. Inuaki

    Osaka Nature

    Just two stations from Kansai International Airport and 30 minutes by bus from Nankai Izumisano Station is the remote Mt. Inuaki. Part of the Kongo-Ikoma Kisen Quasi-National park, it is one of Japan's oldest sacred grounds, with abundant natural beauty. Inuakisan Shipporyuji Temple is a popular place for ordinary people, and women in particular, to try a Buddhist ascetic practice experience. At the foot of the mountain is Osaka Prefecture's only natural hot spring, Inuakisan Onsen, and Osaka's only brand-name pork, Inuaki-buta can be experienced at the accommodation facilities there, making it a recommended spot for both international and domestic travelers.

    Location:

    Izumisano City, Osaka Prefecture

  •  Meiji no Mori Mino Quasi-National park

    Meiji no Mori Mino Quasi-National park

    Osaka Nature

    The valley starts with one of the most famous waterfalls in the country, Mino no Taki, and the area is beautiful in every season, with sights such as cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. The area also features Ryuanji and Katsuoji temples, with lots of things to see.

    Location:

    Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture

  •  Settsukyo – Upper reaches of the Hokusetsu district

    Settsukyo – Upper reaches of the Hokusetsu district

    Osaka Nature

    Each spring, some 3,000 cherry trees present a magnificent panorama of cherry blossoms. Summer offers fireflies and the chance to dip your toes in cool, clear streams, while autumn is a mellowing season with vivid autumn foliage. Walk along the hiking paths and enjoy the unique features of each of the four seasons. The Settsukyo area is also renowned for its hot springs. There are spa hotels, and spa facilities for day trippers, offering opportunities for thorough enjoyment of natural hot springs.

    Location:

    Takatsuki City, Osaka Prefecture

  •  Tondabayashi City Agriculture Park, Savor Farm

    Tondabayashi City Agriculture Park, Savor Farm

    Osaka Nature

    Savor Farm, spreading out over an extensive 20 hectares, is an agriculture park where visitors can experience and enjoy the yields of the earth throughout the year. Lovely flowers bloom all over the place in each of the four seasons, and carefully tended seasonal fruits and vegetables await your approval. Try fresh juice made from fruits picked early on that day, dine on seasonal vegetables, join a workshop for hands-on experience in various crafts, and enjoy harvest festivals and other events. Bring the entire family. There is much to do and enjoy.

    Location:

    Tondabayashi City, Osaka Prefecture

  •  Mt. Kongo

    Mt. Kongo

    Osaka Nature

    Mt. Kongo is visited by many hikers – beginners and experienced. From late spring into summer, the region is enveloped in the cool freshness of new green growth. In autumn, everything is tinted with vivid autumn colors, whereas winter is the time to see trees flowering with hoarfrost. Take the Mt. Kongo Ropeway for a graceful trip through the sky to the top, and a view of Osaka Bay. Katsuragi-jinja Shrine and Tenporin-ji Temple are located at the top. The mountain is known as a place where Buddhism and Shintoism overlap, and is visited by many worshippers and Shugendo priests.

    Location:

    Chihayaakasaka (Village), Osaka Prefecture

  •  Fumin no Mori Hori-goenchi (Prefecture Nature Center, Kisenwaiwai-mura)

    Fumin no Mori Hori-goenchi (Prefecture Nature Center, Kisenwaiwai-mura)

    Osaka Nature

    The Nature Center is a wood-built, apex-roof lodging facility, located within the Kongo-Ikoma-Kisen Quasi-National Park. The facility offers experience of life in the country and farming activities in earlier days, with wood-burning kitchen stoves, the living room fireplace, and the goemon-buro (a bath with a fire beneath – the bather stands or sits on a wooden pallet in the bath), etc. Camping facilities are also available.

    Location:

    Sennan City, Osaka Prefecture

  •  Castle in the Sky  Takeda Castle Ruins (Wadayama, Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture)

    Castle in the Sky Takeda Castle Ruins (Wadayama, Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture)

    Hyogo Nature History

    Takeda Castle Ruins, the Castle in the Sky of Hyogo Prefecture's Asago City is known as the Machu Picchu of Japan. This photo of the castle ruins was taken from the castle ruins atop the mountain path. The view from the castle ruins is so different from most Japanese scenery that it will make the viewer think, "Is this really Japan?" The vast view is truly breathtaking. It is a place worth a visit.

    Location:

    Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture

  •  Suma Beach

    Suma Beach

    Hyogo Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    This beautiful beach with white sand and green pines, is a recreation zone loved by many, and as it is the closest swimming beach to the Osaka-Kobe area it is busy with tourists and beach huts every summer. It also holds many events such as the beach volleyball tournament, and it is popular with the younger generation as well as families. Surf music giants The Beach Boys even wrote a song about this beach, called Sumahama.

    Location:

    Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture

  •  Wisteria in Byakugo-ji Temple, Tanba City

    Wisteria in Byakugo-ji Temple, Tanba City

    Hyogo Nature

    Wisterias are seasonal flowers, blossoming at Byakugo-ji Temple between late April and mid-May. They create quite a spectacle as they hang down in a shower of flowers. Autumn, with its vivid fall colors, also offers wonderful scenery at this temple.

    Location:

    Tanba City, Hyogo Prefecture

  •  Awaji Yumebutai

    Awaji Yumebutai

    Hyogo Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    Designed by the architect Tadao Ando, Awaji Yumebutai is a charming leisure and resort facility containing hothouses, flower beds, gardens and more, all based on the theme “Flowers and Greenery.” Complete with a panorama-view restaurant, outdoor theater, resort hotel and other facilities, Yumebutai lacks nothing in terms of comfort and entertainment.

    Location:

    Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture

  •  Seto Inland Sea, viewed from the Ako Onsen District

    Seto Inland Sea, viewed from the Ako Onsen District

    Hyogo Nature

    Ako Misaki is a richly varied and picturesque area offering views of a coastline with fantastically shaped rocks, jointed cliffs and beaches. Shodo Island and a group of islands known as Ieshima Shoto can be seen out to sea. The setting sun, throwing light over the coastline and islands, presents a wonderful and ever-popular spectacle.

    Location:

    Ako City, Hyogo Prefecture

  •  Five million daffodils in Nadakuroiwa Daffodil Park

    Five million daffodils in Nadakuroiwa Daffodil Park

    Hyogo Nature

    Lovely wild daffodils bloom all over a steep slope facing the Pacific Ocean. The sight of so many yellow flowers swaying simultaneously to ocean winds is truly breathtaking. Seen only from January to February, the daffodils are a bit of natural winter poetry on Awaji Island.

    Location:

    Minamiawaji City, Hyogo Prefecture

  •  Nara Park

    Nara Park

    Nara Nature

    Nara Park extends 4km east to west and 2km north to south. The vast urban park covers the eastern part of Nara City, including the grounds of Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kohfukuji Temple, as well as the primeval forest of Kasuga Okuyama protected as a sanctuary of Kasuga Taisha Shrine. The park provides beautiful lawns, pine groves over 100 years old, and approximately 1,100 wild dear roaming freely.

    Location:

    Nara City

  •  Rice Terraces and Red Spider Lilies

    Rice Terraces and Red Spider Lilies

    Nara Nature

    Asuka Village is located in Inabuch District and a popular destination, selected one of the top 100 Japanese rice terraces and the top 100 beautiful Japanese villages. In mid-September, red spider lilies called ‘Higanbana’ or “Manjusage” in Japanese, blossom along the paddy fields and the river banks. These strikingly red flowers with mystical shapes attract visitors. Its highlight is a nostalgic view through the contrast between the green rice fields and the bright red lilies and the undulating contours of terraced paddy fields.

    Location:

    Asuka Village

  •  Freezing Fog on Mt Miune

    Freezing Fog on Mt Miune

    Nara Nature

    Mt Miune is part of the Murou Akane Aoyama Quasi- National Park. Freezing fog can be seen in mid-winter, between January and February. That is one of the few places in the Kansai region. The summit of Mt Miune, at 1,235m above sea level, and the plateau called “Hachodaira” command a spectacular view. It trekking trail is about 10km long round trip and takes about 4 hours. Winter trekking gears such as crampons are needed in winter.

    Location:

    Mitsue Village

  •  Soni Highland

    Soni Highland

    Nara Nature

    Soni Haighland is a grassland covered with Japanese pampas grass.The grass is burned in middle of March every year,and the area becomes like a large fresh-green carpet from spring to summer. Sivery and golden Jananese pampas grass glows reflecting sunlight in autumn,and a number of tourists visit this place every year. It is well-known for the most beautuful sunset in Japan.

    Location:

    Soni Village

  •  Gojo Shinmachi

    Gojo Shinmachi

    Nara Nature History Facilities・Townscapes

    The history of Gojo Shinmachi went back to roughly 400 years ago, shortly after the Edo Bakufu was established following the Battle of Sekigahara. The Shimmachi Street retains historical buildings from the Edo period including the oldest existing private residence. Their architectural styles vary from each period. The area was designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings.

    Location:

    Gojo City

  •  Mt Yoshinoyama

    Mt Yoshinoyama

    Nara Nature History

    Mt Yoshinoyama is regarded as Japan’s best cherry-blossom sight. It has about 30,000 cherry trees, mainly of the Shiroyamazakura variety. The trees burst into bloom from early to mid-April. Mt Yoshinoyama has long been worshipped as a sacred mountain and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site named the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.

    Location:

    Yoshino-cho(town)

  •  Mitarai Gorge

    Mitarai Gorge

    Nara Nature

    Mitarai Gorge is surrounded by beautiful trees and renowned for its scenic beauty created by large rocks and gushing waterfalls. The streams flow with emerald-green crystal clear water. Visitors enjoy seasonal vistas, from fresh greenery in spring to colorful red leaves in autumn.

    Location:

    Tenkawa Village

  •  Hatenashi Settlement

    Hatenashi Settlement

    Nara Nature History Facilities・Townscapes

    Hatenashi Settlement is located along Kohechi Route, which is one of the pilgrimage routes to Kumano. These routes were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage as part of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”. It is also called ‘The Sky Village’ due to its high altitude location and has spectacular views of the Hatenashi Mountain Range. Hatenashi Settlement is chosen one of Japan’s top 100 villages. Visitors enjoy these views not only on clear days but also in mist and clouds on rainy days.

    Location:

    Totsukawa Village

  •  Sandanheki Cavern

    Sandanheki Cavern

    Wakayama Nature

    Take an elevator 36m underground from Sandanheki to a rare cavern created by marine erosion. Over 2.7 million years, the rough waves from Kumanonada carved out this shape. It is said that the Kumano navy that led the Minamoto Clan to victory in the Genpei War used to hide their ships here. Japan's largest Muro Benzaiten is enshrined here, said to bring luck and happiness to people.

    Location:

    Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Arida Mandarin Oranges (Orange Picking)

    Arida Mandarin Oranges (Orange Picking)

    Wakayama Nature Industry・Technology Food

    Arida is known nationwide as a producing area for Arida Mandarin Oranges, with 400 years of history and tradition. Sawako Ariyoshi's novel, Aridagawa, states "The whole mountain in its golden splendour made me question my own eyes"The mountain, split down the middle by the Aridagawa River, is orange with mandarins from October to December. Additionally, in May the orange flowers bloom, and Arida City is enveloped in the aroma of orange flowers. Visitors are invited to come and pick mandarin oranges here in the most famous mandarin-producing region.

    Location:

    Arida City, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Mt. Koya Oku-no-in  Five-storied Stone Pagoda of Sugen-in

    Mt. Koya Oku-no-in  Five-storied Stone Pagoda of Sugen-in

    Wakayama Nature History

    The Mt. Koya Oku-no-in five-storied pagoda is a stone tower design unique to Japan that began towards the end of the Heian period and continues to the present day. The shape references the five elements that buddhist teachings say all things are made of: earth, water, fire, wind, and air. Said to be the first made, is at Sugen-in (Hidetaka Tokugawa, second generation shogun's wife Ogo) memorial tower was built in 1627, and it is the largest of the five-storied pagodas with 6.6m in height and a base size of 8 tatami mats. Even visitors from foreign countries with a long history of "stone culture" will be impressed by its size.

    Location:

    Koya, Ito District, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Kishutoshogu

    Kishutoshogu "Waka Festival"

    Wakayama Nature History Festivals・Events

    This is the main festival of Kishutoshogu shrine, which was built to honor Tokugawa Ieyasu, father of the first daimyo lord of Kishul. It was once counted among the three major festivals in Japan, and while it was not held for a time during the war, it has been passed down through 400 years of history. Kishu Toshogu has 108 steep stone steps, and one ton portable shrines are carried down these steps in the "Mikoshi Oroshi" ceremony which starts the festival. This is followed by a procession of approximately 1000 people who perform their many entertaining talents in the Togyo Gyoretsu, which is a soul-stirring and showing event.

    Location:

    Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Tomogashima

    Tomogashima

    Wakayama Nature History Facilities・Townscapes

    The Kitan Strait is home to four islands: Jinoshima, Torajima, Kamishima, and Okinoshima. They are collectively known as Tomogashima. Regular boats leave from Kada port, and arrive at Okinoshima in approximately 20 minutes, where a hiking course that tours the fort remains is popular. Additionally, the western edge of island that cross through the meridian line of Japanese Standard Time (135 degrees east longitude) is home to the eighth white western-style lighthouse built in Japan, that helps to protect the comings and goings of ships in the strait even today.

    Location:

    Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Nachi Waterfall

    Nachi Waterfall

    Wakayama Nature History

    The object of worship at Kumano Nachi Shrine is the Nachi Waterfall, with the tallest water head in Japan. The roar of the falls and view of the forest of 800 year-old cedar trees is a spectacle.

    Location:

    Nachikatsuura, Higashimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Mt. Koya

    Mt. Koya

    Wakayama Nature History Facilities・Townscapes

    Surrounded by eight peaks, it is as if Mt. Koya is surrounded by the petals of a lotus. Kobo Daishi (Kukai) opened the mountain as the basic training place for Shingon Buddhist secret teaching. Even today, many monks continue the teachings of Kukai, and continue to do ascetic training here. There are 52 pilgrims lodgings on the mountain, and visitors can experience the history and culture of Mt. Koya through vegetarian Buddhist cuisine or by attending a Buddhist religious service.

    Location:

    Koya, Ito District, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Hashigui Rocks

    Hashigui Rocks

    Wakayama Nature

    Long ago, in Kushimoto, a demon challenged Kukai to build a bridge in just one night, and Kukai brought giant stones down from the mountain and stood them in the sea, making a line of bridge pillars. The demon was worried that Kukai would win the challenge, and imitated the sound of a rooster, and Kukai thought the time limit had been reached, and he stopped working halfway through making the bridge. The scenery changes depending on the season and time of day, but the Hashigui Rocks captivates the hearts of those who view it.

    Location:

    Kushimoto, Higashimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Kumano Kodo (Hyakken-gura)

    Kumano Kodo (Hyakken-gura)

    Wakayama Nature History

    The World Heritage Site, "Kumano Kodo". In ancient times, people came here to renew their spirit on this healing trail. Partway through the trail, there are spots where the peaks of the Kii Peninsula mountains can be seen. Hyakumengura is the most popular spot to view this sight.

    Location:

    Hongu, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Engetsu Island

    Engetsu Island

    Wakayama Nature

    Engetsu Island is a small island with a full-moon shaped hole in the middle. The best time to view it is when the sun is setting. In summer, it's 6:30pm, and it's 4:30pm in winter, when many sightseeing visitors and locals alike gather to see the beautiful sight. In spring and autumn, there is a beautiful moment when the setting sun shines through the hole in Engetsu Island, which is particularly beautiful.

    Location:

    Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Kumano Kodo (Ogumo Torigoe)

    Kumano Kodo (Ogumo Torigoe)

    Wakayama Nature History

    The World Heritage Site, "Kumano Kodo". In ancient times, people came here to renew their spirit on this healing trail. The Kumano Kodo was also a location for imperial outings of retired emperors, and along the trail are "oji" shrines collectively called the 99 Ojis that are dedicated to the Kumano Mikogami gods. The retired emperors used to visit these ojis while traveling the long road.

    Location:

    Hongu, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Oto Matsuri

    Oto Matsuri

    Wakayama Nature History Festivals・Events

    Every year, the Oto Festival is held at Kamikura Shrine on February 6. It's amazing to see the participants holding burning torches in their hands as they run down the 538 steep stone steps of the road approaching the shrine.

    Location:

    Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture

  •  Mt. Daisen South Face - Kagikake Pass Observation Deck

    Mt. Daisen South Face - Kagikake Pass Observation Deck

    Tottori Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    The highest peak in the Chugoku region, National Park Mt. Daisen is a famous picturesque spot. The towering cliffs and the giant beech forests stretching below are a breathtaking sight. In particular, when the new leaves come out in May, and when the colorful autumn leaves turn in late October and early November, it is particularly beautiful. The spot is loved by travel journalist Kaoru Kanetaka and world-class nature photographer Yoshikazu Shirakawa.

    Location:

    Kofu, Hino District, Tottori Prefecture

  •  Utsubuki Park - White-walled Storehouses and Red Roof Tiles

    Utsubuki Park - White-walled Storehouses and Red Roof Tiles

    Tottori Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    Mt. Utsubuki, the symbol of Kurayoshi City, Tottori Prefecture, features Utsubuki Park its foot, with beautiful blossoming cherry trees in early April. The reflection at night of the cherry blossoms in Hagoromo Pond is wonderful. After cherry blossoms come the azaleas, which are also very beautiful. This gathering point for the city's citizens has been chosen as one of Japan's 100 famous spots for cherry blossoms, one of Japan's 100 best city parks, and one of the 100 best spots for forest therapy. Hasedera Temple, which was built during the Muromachi era, and the Edo era merchant's houses that line the Tama River, and the white-walled and black burned cedar warehouses make it a great spot for a stroll.

    Location:

    Kurayoshi City, Tottori Prefecture

  •  Uradome Coast

    Uradome Coast

    Tottori Nature

    Natural waves and wind carved out these picturesque cliffs that can be viewed from sea or land. The sea here is so clear that the sea floor can be seen, and it makes a wonderful sight along with the blue sky, oddly-shaped rocks, and trees that should be seen up-close.

    Location:

    Iwami, Iwami District, Tottori Prefecture

  •  Tottori Sand Dunes

    Tottori Sand Dunes

    Tottori Nature

    The Tottori Sand Dunes are 16km from east to west, and 2.4km from north to south, in a long strip along the coast. The dunes are always changing due to the force of the wind.

    Location:

    Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture

  •  Sanin Kaigan Geopark, Part of the Global Geopark Network (GGN)

    Sanin Kaigan Geopark, Part of the Global Geopark Network (GGN)

    Tottori Nature

    A Geopark is a “Natural Park” that contains especially important, valuable or beautiful geological and geographical features. Centered on Sanin Kaigan National Park, Sanin Kaigan Geopark is a broad area stretching about 120 km east to west, and encompassing parts of the prefectures Tottori, Hyogo and Kyoto. Visitors can see many valuable and beautiful geographical and geological features. These include the Tottori Sand Dunes, the largest group of coastal dunes in Japan, Genbu Cave with its basaltic jointed rock structures, the famous singing sands of Kotohiki Beach, and diverse variegated coastal landforms, rocks and rock strata.

    Location:

    Iwami (Town), Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture Shinonsen (Town), Kami (Town), Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture Kyotango City, Kyoto Prefecture

  •  Jinpukaku

    Jinpukaku

    Tottori Nature History

    Jinpukaku is a white, European-style building located close to the ruins of Tottori Castle within Kyusho Park, an area renowned also for cherry blossoms. The two-story building is of wood with a tiled roof, and was designed in the French Renaissance style. The elegance of the exterior harmonizes nicely with the beauty of the Japanese-style garden. Jinpukaku is listed as a National Important Cultural Property.

    Location:

    Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture

  •  Fudoin Iwaya-do Temple

    Fudoin Iwaya-do Temple

    Tottori Nature History

    Fudoin Iwaya-do is a butai-zukuri (balcony-type) construction built into a natural cave. It is renowned as a temple of the Shugendo school of Buddhism, and listed as a National Important Cultural Property. The Main Hall holds a statue of the Buddhist divinity Fudo Myo-o, said to have been carved by Kobo Daishi at the age of 33 years. The statue is regarded as one of Three Great Fudo Myo-o Images in Japan.

    Location:

    Wakasa (Town) ,Tottori Prefecture

  •  Itaibara Village

    Itaibara Village

    Tottori Nature History Facilities・Townscapes

    Itaibara Village is classified as a Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings. As if hidden within a valley of deep green cedar forests, Itaibara is a Japanese mountain village presenting a scene that appears just as it would have in days long past, with groups of old thatched-roof houses, branch schools, shrines, small mill houses working with the flowing river water, charcoal huts, and more.

    Location:

    Chizu (Town),Tottori Prefecture

  •  Nageire-do Hall of Sanbutsu-ji Temple, on Mt. Mitoku

    Nageire-do Hall of Sanbutsu-ji Temple, on Mt. Mitoku

    Tottori Nature History

    En-no-Gyoja, by tradition the founder of the Shugendo school of Buddhism, was said to have used the power of Buddhism to throw the hall onto the side of Mt. Mitoku. Indeed, the hall seems to be floating on the side of a precipitous cliff. Nageire-do Hall can be reached by climbing the pilgrim’s path, a steep and difficult track passing over tree roots and boulders. However, the scenery on reaching the top is something special.

    Location:

    Misasa (Town),Tottori Prefecture

  •  Nariishi Beach

    Nariishi Beach

    Tottori Nature

    This natural beach is an unusual formation in Japan. Oval-shaped cobblestones collecting on the beach grind against each other when pushed back and forth by the waves, emitting a soothing sound. Scenic sunsets can be enjoyed on the beach, and each of the seasons shows a unique perspective.

    Location:

    Kotoura (Town),Tottori Prefecture

  •  Okumiya (Summer Shrine), of Ogamiyama-jinja Shrine

    Okumiya (Summer Shrine), of Ogamiyama-jinja Shrine

    Tottori Nature History

    The mountain Daisen has been revered since olden times by mountain priests as a holy mountain inhabited by gods. The Okumiya Shrine of Ogamiyama-jinja has long been the center of worship. The majestic shrine hall stands at the end of a sacred approach of about 700 meters, paved with natural stone. At the formal summer opening of the mountain, a torch procession of 2,000 people leads off from the Okumiya.

    Location:

    Daisen (Town),Tottori Prefecture

  •  Daisen (Mountain)

    Daisen (Mountain)

    Tottori Nature

    Backed by broad stretches of beech forest, the mountain Daisen still has untouched tracts of nature containing colonies of wild birds and vegetation. The area is very popular as a place for peaceful and relaxing walks in the forest, and appreciation of nature. There are many ways to enjoy your stay, including trekking, downhill cycling and leisurely cycling. Come and take a deep breath of clean mountain air.

    Location:

    Daisen, Hoki (Towns),Tottori Prefecture

  •  Tottori Prefectural Flower Park

    Tottori Prefectural Flower Park

    Tottori Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    Set with a view of the majestic mountain Daisen, this is the largest flower park in western Japan. A covered walkway reaches for one kilometer all the way around the park. Visitors can therefore enjoy flowers in each of the four seasons regardless of the weather.

    Location:

    Nanbu (Town),Tottori Prefecture

  •  Sea of Clouds (Hachigo-giri in Yamashiro)

    Sea of Clouds (Hachigo-giri in Yamashiro)

    Tokushima Nature

    In tall mountains, the cloud sea phenomenon happens, but in the case of Yamashiro, the terrain and climate means that places where there is a river, the Hachigo-giri effect occurs. Of course, with any riverbank, in a steep mountainous area, cultivated fields reach up to the sky, but when the seasons are changing from spring to summer and again from summer to fall and winter, in periods when the temperature changes are extreme, the hachigo-giri fog rises up off the river. In the chilly morning air, climb up to the topmost parts of the mountains and experience unspeakable beauty and stillness.

    Location:

    Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Mt. Tsurugi

    Mt. Tsurugi

    Tokushima Nature

    Mt. Tsurugi is listed among Japan's 100 most famous mountains. Though it has a height of 1955m, there is a chairlift from the beginning of the hiking trail to the center of the hiking trail, and it is a comparatively easy mountain to climb, making it popular. On a clear day, the view from the top of the mountain can reach to Kansai, Kishu, and the Seto Inland Sea.

    Location:

    Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Iya Valley Peeing Boy

    Iya Valley Peeing Boy

    Tokushima Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    In the deep, V-shaped gorge, the emerald green Iya River flows, and looking down from above is sure to make your head spin. In the autumn, the mountain is full of fall leaves from the bottom of the valley to the peaks, and visitors peek out at the sight from cars and buses. On a cliff overlooking the Iya River, a rock left from building the road sticks out, and on top of the rock, a statue of a peeing boy stands, as a physical representation of anecdotes about local children and travelers testing their courage.

    Location:

    Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Oboke Gorge in Winter

    Oboke Gorge in Winter

    Tokushima Nature

    Crystalline schist was worn away by the Yoshinogawa River rapids over 200 million years to create the gorge, which looks as though it was carved out of marble. Every winter, the snow-covered gorge looks even more magical than usual. Enjoy stove-equipped boats on a winter cruise.

    Location:

    Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Oku-Iya Double Vine Bridges

    Oku-Iya Double Vine Bridges

    Tokushima Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    Approximately 800 years ago, the Heike clan used Mt. Tsurugi as a place to train their horses, and these vine bridges were used to travel there. Now it is a passage to the Oku-Iya Kazura Vine Bridge Campground. There are two bridges side-by-side, so they are nicknamed the "Man's Bridge and Women's Bridge", or the "Husband and Wife Bridge". Beside the Women's Bridge is a man-powered ropeway that crosses the river, called a "yaen".

    Location:

    Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Dogama

    Dogama

    Tokushima Nature

    Dogama is a famous place in the naturally beautiful Ichiu Gorge, location of the clear-flowing Sadamitsu River. The three giant potholes were created by erosion in the hard green schist. The potholes are called Ichinokama, Ninokama, and Sannokama, and they create a tunnel, which creates a rare sight not seen elsewhere. Prefecturally Designated Natural Monument.

    Location:

    Tsurugi, Mima District, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Haha River Firefly Festival (Kaiyo)

    Haha River Firefly Festival (Kaiyo)

    Tokushima Nature Festivals・Events

    The lights of little fairies flutter above the clear firefly river. The lights reflect in the dark river's surface, creating a magical scene. During the Firefly Festival, ride a riverboat on the Haha River to see the fireflies up close.

    Location:

    Kaiyo, Kaifu District, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Himegami Festival (Nakamura, Mugi)

    Himegami Festival (Nakamura, Mugi)

    Tokushima Nature Festivals・Events

    This traditional ceremony based on a tale of tragic love features a strange rock enshrined deep in Mugi Oshima, called "Himegami". Participants pray for a good catch and safety on the sea, and after prayers are offered to the 3m long, 1.5m diameter male symbol, it is put on a fishing boat and paraded to Oshima Island 7.5km off the coast. At night, the town is lively with a fireworks display.

    Location:

    Mugi, Kaifu District, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Mugi Oshima Island Thousand-year Coral (Mugi)

    Mugi Oshima Island Thousand-year Coral (Mugi)

    Tokushima Nature

    In a cove of the largest uninhabited island in Tokushima, Mugi Oshima, there is a porites lutea coral that has been living for over a thousand years, estimated to be one of the largest in the world. It is 10m tall, 30m wide, and its presence is like a forest inside the ocean. Mugi Oshima island itself, surrounded by brightly colored fish and coral, is known as the Galapagos of Shikoku. See Club Noah Mugi for diving excursions.

    Location:

    Mugi, Kaifu District, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Kito Cedar Log Riding Tournament (Naka)

    Kito Cedar Log Riding Tournament (Naka)

    Tokushima Nature Festivals・Events

    Cedar logs cut from the forest are floated downstream in this contest that allows participants to experience a traditional skill. The Nakagawa River, so clear that sweetfish can be seen swimming on the river bottom from the bridge, is where log riders called "Tobi" ride down the river balanced on just one log. It is fun just watching the local experts perform difficult maneuvers. Practice events are held in June and July.

    Location:

    Naka, Naka District, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Naruto Whirlpools

    Naruto Whirlpools

    Tokushima Nature Facilities・Townscapes Industry・Technology

    The difference in sea level in the Naruto Strait when the tide ebbs and flows creates intense currents, including whirlpools that can reach up to 20 meters in diameter. One of the three big tidal currents in the world, the deafening roar of the whirlpools and the swirling spectacle is magnificent to see. The whirlpools appear for about one and a half hours before and after low and high tide every day.

    Location:

    Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture

  •  Iya Vine Bridge

    Iya Vine Bridge

    Tokushima Nature Facilities・Townscapes

    Wild hardy kiwi vines (approximately 5 tons) are used to make this vine bridge, which is 45m long, 2m wide, and 14m above the water. In olden times, it was used as an important part of the local road in this deep valley. Nationally Designated Important Folk Cultural Asset.

    Location:

    Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

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