Beautiful Japan

the gate

What a beautiful planet God has created. Extraordinary beauty can be found all over the world. Here, I will highlight a few places of special beauty found in Japan. Some of these pictures are of the incredible natural beauty of this island nation while others have been shaped and formed by the Japanese people from the beauty they find in God's creation all around them. 

You will see very brief descriptions of the scenes just below the pictures. These pictures as well as the brief writeups of them were all taken directly from the CNN web site. It was presented by Laura Ma for CNN. She is a travel writer and has other series' that she has had published on CNN.


stone terrace

This is a picture of Ini Tanada in Hiroshima. Ini has more than 320 terraced rice paddies. The oldest stone terrace dates back to about 500 years. Using only pure natural water from mountain valleys, Ini Tanada's rice is particularly favored for its rich fragrance and taste. The town regularly holds a rice planting event on it's terraces to pass on traditional farming methods.


bamboo forest

This beautiful spot is Gagano in Kyoto. It is considered one of the world's most beautiful forests, it's not just tranquil visually but also aurally. The bamboo grove is beloved for it's distinct rustling sound, so much that Japan's Ministry of Environment included the Sagano Bamboo Forest on it's list of "100 Soundscapes of Japan." (I didn't know there was such a list!!) These towering green stalks creak eerily while leaves rustle in the sway of the wind. -- Sagano Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan.


lavender tunnelKawachi Fuji Garden (in Fukuoka) -- Walking into an oil painting? This fragrant wisteria tunnel, the most stunning display at the Kawachi Fuji Garden, makes it possible. With flowering vines overhead, the walkway is said to inspire a zen-like calm in visitors. The garden displays about 150 wisteria plants of 20 different species. It hosts the annual Wisteria Festival at the end of April when the flowers are in full bloom.

Kawachi Fuji Garden, Fukuoka, Japan.


mountain villageGokayama (Toyama) -- Gokayama is one of the greatest towns for architecture buffs in the world. The oldest tradtional gasso style house in Ainokura is said to be about 400 years old. Part of the UNESCO-designated area of Gokyama, the village preserves and architectural design that dates back hundreds of years. The steep triangular thatched roofs were build without the use of nails and are sesigned to prevent snow buildup. 

Ainokura, Taira, Gokayama, Toyama, Japan.


snow monkeys Jigokudani Monkey Park (in Nagano) -- The steaming springs set in a snowy mountain may be scenic, but travelers come here to see something else -- the hot spring monkeyes! Some 200 Japanese macaque monkeyes live in Jigokudani -- which translates to "hell valley" -- where the rough cliffs and onsens are covered in snow for a third of the year. The monkeyes bathe at the main onsen of the park in winter without a care of observers. Anyone jealous of the monkey's lazy ways can head over the Korakukan Ryokan for their own thermal soak.

Snow Monkey Park, Yamanouchi, Nagano, Japan.


flowers and fujiFuji Shibazakura Festival, (in Yamanashi) -- With Mount Fuji in the background, some 800,000 stalks of shibazakura or "moss phlox" cover 2.4 hectares of land in a carpet of pink, white and purple. Thousands travel to the Fuji Five Lakes area for the festival celebrating the flower's first bloom which runs from April 18th to May 31st this year.

Fuji Shibazakura Festival, Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi, Japan.


lavender Lavender Farm (in Hokkaido) -- Farm Tomita has three lavender fields: Lavendar East, Sakiwai Field and the Traditional Lavender Garden. Sakiwai Field, meaning "happiness field," has four types of lavender growing in rows creating a gradient of purple with the rainbow colors of Autumn Field, Spring Field and Hanabito Field as background. Still not enough lavender? Try the farm's lavender ice cream!

Farm Tomita, Nakafurano, Sorachi, Hokkaido, Japan.


lake toyaLake Toya (in Hokkaido) -- Even in winters that plummet well below freexing point, Lake Toya never ices over. The near-circular lake is the remains of a volcanic eruption that hollowed out the ground. Mount Usu lies on the southern rim of the lake and Nakajima Island sits at the center. 

Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Toyako, Hokkaido, Japan.


himeiji castleHimeiji Castle (in Hyogo) -- Frequently called the "White Egret" or "White Heron" castle because of it's white exterior and resemblance to a bird taking flight, Himeji is made ups of 83 buildings. The 17th century castle is equipped with heavy defense systems. It featured extensively in Hollywood and Japanese films, making a prominent appearance in the James Bond movie "You Only Live Twice" which starred Sean Connery.

Himeji Castle, Himeji, Hyogo, Japan. I hope you have enjoyed looking these over and maybe dreaming of your own Japan tour. There are more pictures at the CNN site and I have no doubt you would enjoy looking through their article. 


I will finish leave you with that final picture of the beautiful Mimeji Castle.