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Japanese Landscapes - Famous for Many Centuries

Japanese Landscapes - Famous for Many Centuries | ORYOKI

Japan is known for its unique art and culture, where landscapes and nature have always played a significant role. Famous works pay homage to the sacred Mount Fuji, the sea, or the small islands along the coast. They are not only drawn or painted but also lovingly mentioned in myths, fairy tales, and poems. For those planning a journey to the Land of the Rising Sun, it's essential to explore not only the cities but also the surroundings of Tokyo or Kyoto to discover the wonders of nature.

Three Classics by the Sea

Japan is blessed with numerous wonderful landscapes. Three of these Japanese locations have been considered the most beautiful areas in the country for centuries and are referred to as "Nihon Sankei." They were first described by the Confucian scholar Shunsai Hayashi. He walked across Japan in the 17th century, documenting the impressions of his journey in a book. Since then, the landscapes of Miyajima, Amanohashidate, and Matsushima have been iconic representations of Japan.

Miyajima Torii

A Torii by the Coast: Miyajima

The torii gate in the bay of Miyajima is truly impressive. It stands in the middle of the water and marks the entrance to the Itsukushima Shrine, located near Hiroshima. The site has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. In the vicinity, there are several temples, the Momijidani Park with ancient trees, and the 535-meter-high Mount Misen. A cable car makes it easier for visitors to ascend to the peaks and viewpoints.

Amanohashidate sky bridge in Japan

The Heaven's Bridge near Kyoto

The famous Amanohashidate, the Heaven's Bridge, is a natural sandbar off the Japanese coast near Kyoto. It is revered as a poetic motif and is lined with stone slabs on which haiku or tanka poems by great poets and even the emperor have been inscribed. The Japanese Ukiyoe master Hiroshige depicted this sandbar in a woodblock print. In addition to historical temples and structures, a visit to the Shoryukan Observatory in Kasamatsu Park is recommended. The name of this viewpoint translates to "Ascending Dragon View." If the visit falls in the period from mid to early April, you can admire the enchanting cherry blossoms on the slope.

Pine Islands Matsushima Japan

Picturesque Pine Islands in Matsushima Bay

The Matsushima Bay is located in Miyagi Prefecture and is revered as a place of romance, spirituality, and elegance. In the bay, 260 small islands covered with pine trees invite exploration and photo tours. This area is considered a sacred place that has inspired numerous artists, poets, and rulers. The best way to explore Matsushima is by boat. Daily cruises take visitors past islands like Niojima and Kanejima, shaped uniquely by wind and water. From the land, there are the "Four Panoramic Views", each offering a completely new perspective on the romantic island group.

Discovering Wonders in the Nature of Japan

In addition to the three classics, there are many enchanting Japanese gardens and fascinating natural areas to explore during a trip to Tokyo, Osaka, or Hokkaido. Here is a small selection of the most beautiful attractions for inspiration:

Sacred Mount Fuji-San

The Sacred Mount Fuji (Fuji-San)

Mount Fuji is a volcano and, with its 3776.24 meters, the highest mountain in Japan. It is located on the main island of Honshu, on the border between Yamanashi Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture. For several centuries, it has been considered sacred and is one of the most significant landmarks in the country. The impressive volcanic cone with its snow-covered peak is easily visible from Tokyo. It is believed that Konohanasakuyahime, the goddess of blooming tree blossoms, resides on its summit. Those who embark on the ascent may perceive this journey as a spiritual pilgrimage and feel closer to the gods.

Monkeys at Jigokudani cave valley Japan

The Hell Valley at Jigokudani

Jigokudani is a still active, smoldering volcanic crater with sulphurous geysers and ponds of bubbling mud. The area around the volcano is called the "Hell Valley." It presents visitors with a fascinating landscape of rising steam and peculiar rock formations that give the entire scene a surreal character. A visit to Hell Valley can be excellently combined with a soak in the hot springs of Jigokudani, just like the macaques do in the cold winter months, making them famous worldwide.

Akiyoshi stalactite cave

Akiyoshi Limestone Cave

This fascinating and mystical place in the Orient. The Akiyoshi Limestone Cave is one of the largest caves in Japan. It is located in the city of Mine in Yamaguchi Prefecture. A layer of earth approximately 100 to 200 meters thick conceals the cave beneath the Akiyoshidai Plateau. The river that shaped the grotto still flows through the underground chambers today.

National park on the island of Yakushima

National Park on Yakushima Island

Almost half of this island is a protected sanctuary, where plants and animals can develop largely undisturbed. Expansive forests of Japanese cedars house trees that are, in some cases, over a thousand years old. The oldest specimen, the "Jomon Sugi," is said to be a staggering 7,000 years old.

Aso-san volcano in Japan

Fantastic Setting: Mount Aso-san Volcano

The caldera volcano Aso-san is located on Kyushu Island, amidst charming nature with a total of 17 volcanic cones, five of which form the Aso Gogaku group. The highest point in this group is the Take-dake with an elevation of 1592 meters. The cone Naka-dake is 1506 meters high and is still active to this day. Its crater lake and hot springs are popular attractions. However, this landscape can become quite dangerous if one gets caught in an unpredictable eruption or fails to notice invisible emitting poisonous gases. Although access to Naka-dake is relatively easy, it might be safer to admire it from a distance.

Combine a Trip to Japan with Excursions to its Most Beautiful Landscapes

For those who have the opportunity to travel to Japan, taking a glimpse of the Japanese Alps, the coastal landscapes, and picturesque compositions with temples, bamboo, and mountains is highly recommended. Even on a short trip to Tokyo or Kyoto, it is possible to make a detour to Japan's most beautiful landscapes. They are intricately connected with Japanese culture and will reveal more about their traditions to the visitor.

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