Mt. Uomidake (Fish-Seeing Mountain), 214.8 m above sea level, is a low mountain near the central part of Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is said that it was named so because fishermen watched the movements of fish schools from the top of the mountain.
The area around the mountain top is arranged into a natural park, to which you can go by car. Going up the stairs of the observatory deck, you can command a panoramic view of streets in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Bay, and Chiringashima Island. On a fine day you can also see Mt. Kaimon, the Takakuma Mountain Range and Mt. Ontake in Sakurajima as well as Iojima Island in the distance.
Mt. Uomidake is a part of a volcano that existed in the ancient times. As the southern and eastern sides form sheer cliffs, the mountain is said to be like Diamond Head in Hawaii. About 10,000 cherry trees come into bloom in spring, when the mountain is alive with people who come to enjoy family hiking and driving.
Hacchoike is the caldera lake located in a height of 1,180 meters on the south ridge of Mt. Amagi. It was named so because the circumference is 8 cho in the Japanese length units, which is about 870 meters. From its mysterious atmosphere, it is called “the Eye of Izu.” As the lake is surrounded with Suzu-take bamboo trees (Sasamorpha borealis), it is also called “Aosuzu-no-ike (Green Bamboo Pond).”
The lake is also known as the habitat of Forest Green Tree Frogs (Rhacophorus arboreus). This frog is designated as a Natural Monument. Although they are rarely seen in recent years, they have been gradually increasing in number as the result of the efforts for environmental conservation.
The nearby observatory, about 10 minutes’ walk from the lake, offers a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji, the South Alps, the Hakone Mountain Range and Izu Peninsula.
Mt. Rausu-dake (1,660 m) is the highest mountain of the Shiretoko volcanic mountain range in Shiretoko Peninsula. It is counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. The view of the mountain covered with pure white snow in winter is magnificent. Many snow patches remain even in summer.
From the top of the mountain, you can command a panoramic view of the ocean including far-off Kunashiri Island. The two starting points of a trail up a mountain are located at Rausu Hot Spring in Rausu-cho and Iwaobetsu Hot Spring in Shari-cho. It takes 4 hours and 30 minutes from Rausu, and 6 hours from Shari.
In Mt. Rausu, you can observe a lot of alpine plants that come into bloom one after another on the slopes where snow thaws. At the peak blooming season in summer, the whole mountain becomes field of flowers. Here you will be moved by the great power of nature that overcome and survive severe winter.
Pahoehoe is basaltic lava that has a smooth, undulating, or ropy surface. As basalt contains relatively less silicon dioxide, basaltic lava behaves more like a plastic substance than a liquid substance. As lava continues to flow underneath this plastic skin, the surface can bunch up or wrinkle into a form that resembles coiled rope. Such a surface is called ropy pahoehoe.
There is a belt of dark gray ropy pahoehoe cropping out along the coast from Hanaze to Tazaki Beach in Kaimon Town in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is one of the few examples of ropy pahoehoe found in Japan. This lave belt was formed when Mt. Kaimon erupted in about 500 B.C. The trace of lava that erupted out of the crater of Mt. Kaimon and flew toward the offing can be clearly seen. As the precious natural phenomenon, from which we can learn about volcanic and geological activities of the earth, it is prefecturally designated as a natural monument.
Mt. Kirishima is a generic name for the volcanoes in the border of Kirishima City in Kagoshima Prefecture and Ebino City and Kobayashi City in Miyazaki Prefecture. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. It is presumed to be a post-caldera volcano formed in the southern rim of Kakuto caldera basin.
Mt. Kirishima is composed of many peaks including the highest peak of Karakuni-dake (1,700 m), Takachiho-no-mine, Naka-dake, Ohata-yama, and Ohachi. There are a lot of crater lakes such as Onami-ike, Ohata-ike, and Rokukannon-ike. The mountain area is a part of Kirishima- Yaku National Park. The communities of Kyushu azalea can be seen in the highlands.
Mt. Kirishima is the land of Japanese mythology concerning its creation. “Amano Sakahoko,” the three teeth fork-shaped weapon is staked upside down at the top of Mt. Takachiho-no-mine, which is believed to be where the Heavenly Descendant Ninigi no Mikoto descended from Takamagahara Field (Heavenly Hill Field).
Onami-no-ike is the highest crater lake in Japan. It is located to the southwest of Mt. Karakuni-dake in the Kirishima mountain range. Of 10 lakes in the Kirishima mountain range, this is the second largest lake and one of a few lakes where fish inhabit. The lake fills the deep caldera (1412 m above sea level) that was formed by the eruption of Mt. Kirishima about 40,000 years ago.
During the seasons of tender green and crimson foliage, the area around the lake is crowded with tourists. In winter, beautiful hard rime and migrating bird such as mallards and spot-billed ducks can be seen. Seen from the observatory on the lakeside, the reflected image of Mt. Karakuni-dake in the lake is exquisite itself. As it is a part of Kirishima-Yaku National Park, there are a lot of other sightseeing spots around the lake.
Mt. Akagi-yama, one of the Jomo Three Mountains and Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains, located in the center of Gunma Prefecture, is the generic name for mountains including Kurobi-san, Komagatake, Jizo-dake Choshichiro-yama, and Nabewari-yama.
It is a double-rimmed caldera volcano. There are three beautiful lakes near the mountaintop; Lake O-numa (an atrio lake), Ko-numa (a crater lake) and Kakuman-fuchi (a high moor).
The north wind known as “Karakkaze,” which is characteristic to the Kanto Plain in winter, is also called “Akagi Oroshi,” because it blows from Mt. Akagi-yama.
Mt. Akagi-yama has been worshipped by local people since the ancient times. It is a symbol of Gunma Prefecture.
Mt. Goshikidake is a volcano composing the Zao Mountain Range in the border of Yamagata Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture. It is 1,674 m above sea level. It is a post-caldera pyricrastic cone in the outer rim of the crator with a diameter of 2 km. At the center of the caldera lies a caldera lake known as Okama, one of the major attractions in Zao area.
The walking trail is set around Okama so that you can go round the lake, which changes colors from cobalt blue or emerald green to brown depending on the weather conditions.
As there is nothing to cut off the view, you can enjoy the scenery of the magnificent Zao Mountain Range covered with crimson foliage in fall. In winter, you can take a close look at snow monsters, which are trees frozen by winds and covered with snow. In any season, you will fully enjoy soaking yourself in the world filled with the wonder of nature.