The Yamate Italian Garden is located on a hill which was known before as the Italian mountain since it was the location of the Italian consulate. Nowadays, the park features a beautiful Italian-style garden and two western-style historical houses that were restored to their original state. These houses used to belong to dignitaries and wealthy foreigners during the Meiji and Showa eras.
On the eastern side of Jogashima island is located the Jogashima Prefectural Park which features beautiful gardens and scenic views. Not too far to the southwest of the park, on the sourthern coast of the island, you will find an impressive piece of rock (Umanose-doumon) with a big hole in it. Starting from this unusual rock formation, one can enjoy walking along the coast all the way to the western side of Jogashima island.
On the western side of Jogashima island is located a beautiful white lighthouse. Designed by a French engineer, it is one of the oldest of western style in Japan. Sadly, the original was damaged during the great Kanto earthquake but was rebuilt in its present form. This side of the island also features a small market street where several restaurants and gift shops are located. The main attraction of Jogashima is without a doubt its beautiful coast. The many visitors who walk or fish on this side of the island are always under the eagle’s watchful eyes.
Hanamomo-no-sato is a large garden of peach trees located in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture. The best time to visit the region is at the end of April or at the beginning of May when the trees are in full bloom. At that time, the small village is filled with the white, pink, and red color of the peach flowers. It is a great place to do Ohanami, the Japanese picnic, so bring snacks to eat with your favorite beer or sake.
Mitsuike park is located in between Tokyo and Yokohama along the Toyoko line. It is known as being one of the best Ohanami (Cherry blossom viewing) spots of Japan. The name, Mitsuike, means three ponds in Japanese because of the three separate ponds found in the park. It is a great place to relax and disconnect from daily city life.
This small zoo is located not far from Zenko-ji temple. It is operated by the city of Nagano and is free to access. Many species of birds, reptiles and mammals are on display. A small monorail and a go-kart track will please kids and the young at heart.
The Chinenmisaki park is located to the southeast of the main island of Okinawa. The park is popular among tourists because of the impressive view of the coast – it is a great place to take panoramas. The visit of the park does not take too long and can be easily combined with the sacred site Sefa Utaki located nearby.
Cape Zampa is located on the western coast of Okinawa. At the cape’s end is located a white lighthouse open to the public. After climbing the winding and narrow staircase all the way to the top, one can enjoy an amazing view of the coast from the balcony encircling the top of the lighthouse.
Manzamou is a popular sightseeing spot located on the western coast of Okinawa somewhat between the cities of Naha and Nago. The site features an interesting rock formation that resembles an elephant. Can you see the trunk?
Cape Hedo is the northernmost tip of the island of Okinawa. The site offers an amazing view of Okinawa’s rocky coast – several short trails offer different and dramatic viewpoints of the coast and the ocean. It is free of access, with parking and restrooms. There is also a monument commemorating the end of US occupation. If you rent a car in Okinawa I strongly advise to go to Cape Hedo – it is worth the trip.