National Parks of Japan
Ise-Shima National Park
Ise-Shima National Park is a national park in Mie Prefecture, Japan. The park was designated for its natural beauty and cultural importance. It is characterized by its ria coast and islands scattered around a number of bays. The interior is hilly with Mount Asama-ga-take with 555 m, which is the highest peak in the park. The park is known for having the Japan's most sacred Shinto shrines, the Ise Grand Shrines, which has been worshiped since olden days. Agowan Bay is world famous for its pearl cultivation culture. Another specialty of the park is female divers who collect abalones and other shellfish in the sea. The recreation area on the mountaintop commands a great view.
On the shore at the east end of the park area, there are two large and small rocks which are joined with a large straw rope. They are collectively called Meotoiwa and serve as a torii, a shrine gate, of the Futamiokitamajinja Shrine in the sea. In spring and summer, around the time of the summer solstice, the sunrise can be seen between the two rocks. In Japan, when two large and small objects lie close together, it is customary to liken them to a married couple. If the two objects are rocks, they are called Meotoiwa, meaning a rock couple. While there are many pairs of rocks which are called Meotoiwa in Japan, this pair is the most famous.
Yoshino-Kumano National Park
Yoshino-Kumano National Park is a national park comprising several non-contiguous areas of Mie, Nara, and Wakayama Prefectures, Japan. Established in 1936, The park includes Mt. Yoshino, Japan's most famous cherry blossom spot; and the sacred Kumano Region including Mt. Nachisan, both of which are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mt. Nachisan, has three shrines halfway up the mountain which are hallowed sites of the Kumano faith. It is the center of the ancient Kumano faith, and a long mountain path called the Kumano Pilgrimage Routes leads worshippers to the shrine. In the north of the shrine soars Nachinotaki Waterfall which is another hallowed site. It has a drop of 133 m and is admired as one of the most scenic waterfalls in Japan. The forest behind the waterfall is called the Nachi Primeval Forest and is protected as a holy precinct.
The cherry blossoms of Mt. Yoshino, which rises at the northern end of the Ominesan Mountains, are very famous. Mt. Yoshinoyama is known as one of the best cherry blossom-viewing spots. In spring, the whole mountain looks pale pink and presents a gorgeous view. Like Kumano, the mountain has a long history and many historic sites. It captures People's cultural interests.
San'inkaigan National Park
San'inkaigan National Park is a National Park in Tottori, Hyogo, and Kyoto Prefectures, Japan. Established in 1963, the park runs continuously along the Sea of Japan coast from Tottori to Kyotango. The park covers 87.83 km². San'inkaigan National Park is known for its numerous inlets, rock formations, islands, and caves. The park includes attractions such as Kinosaki Onsen, lots of beautiful rocky shoreline, and the Tottori Sand Dunes, the largest in Japan.
As the park is located in a coastal area, its vegetation mainly consists of Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) woods and other trees. Broad-leaved evergreen forests of tabunoki (Machilus thunbergii), Japanese chinquapins and evergreen oaks can also be found. In the Tottorisakyu Sand Dunes, some seaside plants grow. The ocean floor topography is full of variety and the waters are very transparent. The area, which has an excellent marine landscape with communities of seaweeds and fish swimming in schools, is designated as a Marine Park Zone.
Setonaikai National Park
Setonaikai National Park is a national park comprising areas of Japan's Inland Sea and of ten bordering Prefectures. Established in 1934, it has since been expanded several times. It contains about 3,000 islands, including the well-known Itsukushima. As the park is formed of many non-contiguous areas, and covering a tiny proportion of the Inland Sea's total extent, control and protection is problematic, with much of the wider area heavily industrialized.
The Seto Inland Sea's mild climate and its islands' relaxed atmosphere invite comparisons with the Mediterranean Sea. Historically an important trade route, the inland sea continues to be a vital shipping lane and is covered by an extensive ferry network, as many of the islands are connected to one another by small local ferries. The sea is also crossed by three major series of bridges that connect Honshu with Shikoku. Some islands in the Seto Inland Sea offer attractive resorts with beaches and other attractions including the Shimanami Kaido and Miyajima.