Nature in Karatsu / Yobuko
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8 Beautiful Rice Terraces You Must See in Japan
- Also known as tiered rice fields, tanada once served as an integral part of agricultural landscapes in Japan, especially in hilly or mountainous terrain. However, this idyllic scenery is becoming less common due to the acceleration of mechanized agriculture and lack of successors taking on from older farmers. Typically, the best seasons to see tanada are spring and summer when the water-filled rice paddies exhibit shades of bright green. If you visit tanada in autumn (before the harvest season), you will see golden fields brimming with ripe crops. We have listed some of the best tanada below, so take a read if you're up for an authentic Japanese countryside experience! These rice terraces are still in use, so please follow instructions for visitors and respect the local community when you visit. Oyama Senmaida, Chiba Prefecture Oyama Senmaida Oyama Senmaida nestles in a beautiful, mountainous area in Kamogawa City. Renowned as the closest rice terrace to Tokyo, the field attracts tourists in all seasons and includes captivating views of green fields after the rice has been planted in spring, as well as swaying, golden rice paddies in autumn. During late October to early January e ach year, the local community hosts an illumination event that sees 10,000 LED candles wrapped mystically around the terraces. Oyama Senmaida [Access]Take a bus bound for Kozuka and Hiratsuka from Awa-kamogawa Station (JR Sotobo Line). Get off at Kamanuma (Oyama Senmaida Entrance) and walk for around 15 minutes. Obasute no Tanada, Nagano Prefecture Obasute no Tanada Obasute no Tanada in Chikuma City is a popular site for amateur photographers and train enthusiasts, with more than 2,000 rows of rice terraces expanding right below its peaceful train station. The train rails leading up to Obasute Station feature two switchback locations where trains reverse direction in order to climb the steep hillside. At night, this area offers a panoramic view of the Zenkoji Daira basin as it glows fantastically with the city lights. This area is designated as a National Site of Scenic Beauty. Obasute no Tanada [Access]A 10-minute walk from Obasute Station (JR Shinooi Line) Hoshitoge no Tnanada, Niigata Prefecture Hoshitoge no Tnanada Niigata is a prefecture known for producing some of the nation’s best rice and sake, plenty of which comes from Hoshitoge, a rice terrace nestled along the mountains of the Matsudai region. Although this area is becoming a popular tourist attraction, it’s also the livelihood of many of Niigata’s local farmers, and must always be respected to ensure its long-term survival. As the light bounces off the mountainside the fields resemble shiny scales of a fish; it's a scene that attracts many photo fanatics who make the pilgrimage to try and capture its lush beauty. [Access]A 20-minute drive from Matsudai Station (Hokuhoku Line) Shiroyone Senmaida, Ishikawa Prefecture Shiroyone Senmaida Located atop the Noto Peninsula, Shirayone Senmaida in Wajima City features 1,000 rows of rice terraces that face the beautiful Japan Sea coast. In early summer, visitors can enjoy the stunning contrast of lush green fields and deep blue water. On bright days, you can enjoy orange sunsets as they create warm reflections against the coastline. Visit between mid-October and mid-March to experience the annual Aze no Kirameki event that features 20,000 solar LED lights colorfully illuminating the terraces. Shiroyone Senmaida [Access]From Anamizu Station, take the Anamizu-Wajima Line bus to Wajima Station and transfer to the Machino Line before alighting at Shirayone Senmaida. Maruyama Senmaida, Mie Prefecture Maruyama Senmaida, Mie Prefecture Running layered up the mountainside west of Kumano city in Mie Prefecture sits Maruyama Senmaida, a stunning piece of man-made agricultural landscaping. The terrace was constructed over 400 years ago and has stood the test of time to remain one of the prefecture's most beautiful landscapes. Because of its unique shape, many of the small fields here vary in size quite wildly with some fields just a meter wide; this means they must be tended to rather painstakingly by hand. If you’re taking the hike along the Iseji Route of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage to Kumano Hongu-Taisha Shrine, keep a lookout for this magnificent view. Maruyama Senmaida, Mie Prefecture [Access]A 30-minute drive from Kumanoshi Staion Hachiune no Tanada, Kochi Prefecture Hachiune no Tanada Hachiune no Tanada in Otoyo-cho is a unique site featuring a miniature Shinto shrine in the middle of its rice terraces. When you walk along the path, you will find the Akiba Shrine and its 500-year-old Ginkgo tree . This shrine also offers an expansive view of the rice paddies surrounded by a peaceful mountain range. If you visit in June, the striking contrast between purple hydrangea flowers and lush green rice fields will dazzle your eyes. Otoyo-cho boasts a few more rice terraces due to its mountainous nature, such as Nuta no Tanada and Ananai no Tanada. [Access]A 15-minute drive from Toyonaga Station Hamanoura Rice Terraces, Saga Prefecture Hamanoura Rice Terraces, Saga Prefecture Home to another stunning natural light show are the fields of Hamanoura rice terraces in Saga Prefecture. Flanked by valley walls, and facing out to the Genkai sea, these fields are tucked cozily between the neighboring mountains. It’s impressive any time of day, but especially so in the evening. As the sun sets over the ocean backdrop, it casts a purple-pink light that reflects off the sea and bounces along the waterlogged rice terraces, creating a mosaic-style illusion that’s truly magnificent. Hamanoura Rice Terraces, Saga Prefecture [Access]A 30-minute drive from Karatsu Station Hirado Kasuga no Tanada, Nagasaki Prefecture Hirado Kasuga no Tanada, Nagasaki Prefecture Kasuga is a stunning agricultural village located along the west coast of Hirado, a smattering of scenic islands that make up part of Nagasaki Prefecture. Practically untouched by tourism, it’s a well-kept secret, one you’ll want to share, but only with those you know will respect its historical beauty and rich spiritual legacy. During the times of Portuguese trade, this area was predominantly home to communities of the hidden Christians of Nagasaki, which is why it’s still known as the “Holy Land of Hirado.” Constructed with a thorough understanding of the landscape and a deep appreciation for nature these picturesque terraced fields have remained the same for the past 400 years. To learn more about the site pop by the visitor center nearby. Hirado may not be the most accessible area of Japan, but once you get there, you’ll agree it’s worth the extra effort.[Access]A 45-minute drive from Hirato Ohashi bridge Ogi Tanada, Kumamoto Prefecture Ogi Tanada Situated at the foot of the Kuju Mountains, Ogi Tanada in the village of Ubuyama is renowned for its sector form fields. There are 17 layers of rice paddies , which are accented by three cedar trees standing side by side. While accessing this area requires a short drive on an unpaved road, the idyllic landscape never disappoints. If you visit in early May (which is before the rice planting season), you can enjoy the blue skies beautifully reflected on the surface of the water-covered rice fields. You can also see free-range cattle happily grazing. Ogi Tanada [Access]A 30-minute drive from Miyaji Station ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Beaches of Japan: Six of the Best
- Japan is a nation of islands, with the vast Pacific Ocean on its southern and eastern shores and the cooler Sea of Japan to the north. The Japanese archipelago is made up of over 4000 islands and has just under 30,000 kilometers of coastline, so it comes as no surprise that the country is home to many wonderful beaches as well. Ryukyu Islands Ryukyu Islands At Japan’s most southerly end lie the Ryukyu or Nansei Islands, which stretch in an arc from Kyushu all the way to Taiwan. They are a chain of subtropical islands with mild year-round temperatures, pristine coral reefs, and some of Japan’s best beaches. The largest island in the chain is Okinawa Island, and while it has some nice beaches of its own, the nearby Kerama Islands are like an untouched paradise of white sandy beaches and richly diverse sea life for divers and snorkelers. Maehama Beach on Aka Island is a great spot for seeing coral while snorkeling, while local companies on beautiful Zamami Island offer diving trips for beginners through to pros. The Kerama Islands can be reached by air and ferry from Naha. Kyushu Heading north, Kyushu is the most southerly of Japan’s four main islands and so also experiences milder temperatures than the rest of Japan, and it has many scenic coastal areas to enjoy. Laid-back and balmy, Miyazaki is becoming renowned as one of Japan’s premier surf spots and it has a number of fine beaches within the city limits, such as Aoshima and Kisakihama. They both offer good year-round surfing conditions with a reliable typhoon swell, but they are big and wide enough for regular beachgoers to enjoy too. Kyushu A nice day trip from Fukuoka in north-west Kyushu lies Karatsu, a small historic port city with plenty of stunning coastline scenery nearby. Just outside the city center is Niji-no-Matsubara, a 5 km stretch of land thick with pine trees that were originally planted as a sea defense, which straddles the beautiful Azumanohama Beach. This large sandy beach offers splendid views of the bay, the islands, and the nearby mountains. There are plenty of seaside hotels a short distance away, yet it rarely feels overdeveloped or crowded. Shirahama Shirahama One of the most popular beaches in the Kansai area is Shirahama, a couple of hours from Osaka in neighboring Wakayama Prefecture. This small town is famous for its white sand beach and numerous hot springs, making it a popular summer getaway. Izu Peninsula Izu Peninsula For Tokyoites, the Izu Peninsula has likewise long been a popular weekend retreat, thanks to its numerous hot springs and superb rugged coastline. At its southern end close to the town of Shimoda is Tatadohama, a nice big sandy beach good for families and surfing, with some facilities such as showers and a restaurant but still not overly developed. There are plenty of other good beaches in the area too, including the more popular Shirahama to the east of the town. Kamakura Kamakura Even closer to Tokyo is Kamakura, an attractive seaside town with plenty to see and do and an easy day trip from the capital. It has a number of sandy beaches, such as the popular Yuigahama and Zaimokuza, both of which can be very busy in July and August. Instead, head a little further west to Shichirigahama, a beach with nice views (Mt. Fuji is visible if it’s clear), small waves for surfers, and plenty of places to eat afterwards. Moriya Beach Moriya Beach On the other side of Tokyo, neighboring Chiba Prefecture also has some attractive beaches, which are great for escaping the city. Close to the town of Katsuura is Moriya Beach, a clean sandy beach with beautiful views of the blue Pacific Ocean. The surrounding coastline is worth exploring too, with many shrines, caves, and hidden inlets to discover. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Away from the fast-paced cities of mainland Japan, Kyushu’s Saga prefecture offers quaint towns and cities known for their traditional crafts, particularly ceramics. Rich in kaolin (a type of clay), Saga became the homeland of Arita ware, a delicate, decorative porcelain that is now celebrated worldwide and can be discovered in the towns of Arita, Imari, and Karatsu.
Best of Saga
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