Sekirinzan is a sacred site of Okinawa’s ancestral religion in which gods are closely linked to nature. Besides its spiritual importance, the site features a beautiful scenery characterized by peculiar volcanic rock formations. Many hiking paths are maintained on the side, some of them even offering access to people with disabilities. One of the hiking trails leads to an elevated viewpoint with a fantastic view of the northernmost tip of Okinawa island, Cape Hedo. Lower hiking trails lead to enormous Gajimaru trees with many “hanging roots”.
If you happen to drive past the northernmost part of Okinawa island, I suggest stopping by the Kayauchi Banta viewpoint. Why? You simply will get an amazing view of the coast of Okinawa. This single photo will convince you.
Other than being famous as a Onsen town, Beppu is also a port that can accommodate cruise and cargo ships. The Shoningahama Park, easily accessible by the Beppudaigaku station, is located next to the Bay of Beppu. The park offers a nice view of the city of the bay and the city of Beppu surrounded by mountains. The Beppu Beach Sand Bath is also located at the Shoningahama park. There, customers are buried warm sand for a relaxing experience.
The Ohori Park is a lovely park located in Fukuoka. The park features a large pond at its center and a thin strip of land in the middle with a footpath that can be accessed by two stone bridges. A pavilion jutting out from the island offers a nice view of the park and the city. The pond itself is encircled by a footpath that is popular among runners.
Yanagawa is renowned for the the many hundred kilometers of canals wandering across the city. Those canals that were once used for commercial transportation are now used by tourists taking part of a boat tour of the city. The tour guides steer the boats by using long perches to push on the canal’s bottom, propelling the boat forward. Our guide was a charming individual. I’m sure his guided tour was quite nice but I didn’t catch too much of his Japanese. It didn’t really matter because he was quite an entertainer, mostly singing folkloric songs along the way. Halfway during the trip, our guide stopped at a dock where stores were selling ice cream and beer which could be purchased from the boat! Highly recommend on a hot day! I’ll keep fond memories of the day I spent in Yanagawa.
The Kokoen garden is a Japanese style garden established at the former residence of the lord of Himeji. Kokoen actually features many small gardens of different themes, each enclosed by the original fortified walls that divided the residence in many sections. The central landmark of the garden is the lord’s residence which features a magnificent pond surrounded by a classic Japanese garden.
The Kenrokuen garden in Kanazawa is one of Japan’s “three most beautiful landscape gardens”. The garden used to be the outer garden of the Kanazawa castle and has been open to the public since 1871.The garden features elaborate water system to keep each section of the garden well irrigated. Many professional gardeners can be seen taking an expert care of the various plants and flowers featured in the Kenrokuen garden.