National Parks of Japan

Part 7

Daisen-Oki National Park

Daisen-Oki National Park is a national park in the Chugoku region, Japan, and spans the prefectures of Okayama, Shimane, and Tottori. Mount Daisen is the focus of the park, which also includes the volcanic mountains and plains of Hiruzen, Mount Kenashi, Mount Sanbe, and Mount Hobutsu. The Izumo Plain region of the park is home to the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan, the Izumo-taisha. The Oki Islands are also an important component of the park. The park was established in 1936 as Daisen National Park, but was expanded and renamed in 1961 to include the Oki Islands and Shimane Prefecture areas.

Mt. Daisen has a very broad base and seen from the west, resembles the graceful cone of Mt. Fujisan. Therefore, it is also known as the "Hoki-Fuji", meaning Mt. Fuji in Tottori. However, the north, south and east sides of the mountain are formed by rugged, steep cliffs. As the mountain is situated close to the Japan Sea, it looks higher than its actual height and all the more beautiful. Its beautiful figure is loved by many climbers and, along with the campground and ski resort at the base, attracts many visitors throughout the year.

The Okinoshima Islands consist of more than 180 islands in varied sizes, lying from 50 ? 90 km north of the Shimanehanto Peninsula. They are divided into two major groups: the Dozen Group and Dogo. While Dogo is a single island, Dozen has three islands situated in a circle and smaller islands that dot around them. The islands were formed when calderas generated by volcanic activities sank beneath the sea. Many rough cliffs and caves can be seen on their coasts. In particular, Kunigakaigan Coast in Dozen is known for its magnificent view with steep, soaring sea cliffs 100 to 250 m high.

Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park

Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park is a national park at the southwestern tip of the island of Shikoku, Japan. The park is spread over small areas on the western side of Shikoku between Ehime and Kochi prefectures. The main feature of the park is Cape Ashizuri, the southernmost point of the island. The cape is noted for its extensive subtropical vegetation and its granite cliffs which offer views of the Pacific Ocean. The warm Black Stream, which comes from the south, brings warmth to both the land and the sea, and nurtures coral and tropical fish. In this beautiful marine park, visitors can enjoy the sea's natural environment in various ways, including nature walks, diving and fishing.

Off the coast of Tatsukushi in Kochi Prefecture and Nishiumi in Ehime Prefecture, colorful coral grows by the action of the Black Stream. The warm Black Stream, which comes from the south, brings warmth to both the land and the sea, and nurtures coral and tropical fish. With tropical fish swimming among the coral, it presents excellent and fantastic Marine Park scenery. Visitors can see the wonderful landscape and sea's natural environment in various ways, including the undersea observatory tower situated in Tatsukushi, glass-bottom boat, nature walks, diving and fishing.

Saikai National Park

Saikai National Park is a marine national park located in Nagasaki prefecture of northwest Kyushu, Japan. It consists of the coastal regions of Matsuura Peninsula, extending northward from the port city of Sasebo and encompasses the Kujuku Islands, with over 200 islands to the west, Hirado Peninsula further west, and the coastlines of the Goto Islands to the far west. This park consists of more than 400 islands, large and small, including Hirado, the Kujukushima Islands, and the Goto Islands. The Goto Islands have interesting inlets and high cliffs as well as rare volcanic formations. The park is valued for its scenic beauty and as an ecological support for the rich fishing grounds in the area. The mild climate and warm currents result in semi-tropical vegetation, including tree ferns.

The vegetation in the park area is dominated by Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) woods and evergreen broad-leaved forests of Japanese chinquapins and evergreen oaks. In some places, subtropical plants such as palms and ferns can be seen. Camellia woods in Hisakajima Island and sasanqua woods in Hiradoshima Island are noteworthy. Off the coast of Fukuejima and Wakamatsujima Islands, reef-building coral and colorful soft coral grow and tropical fish swim. The area is designated as a Marine Park Zone. The park area is also an important historic site. In Hiradoshima Island and its environs, trade with the Chinese Continent and Europe has been practiced since early times and as the area has a long history of exchange with foreign countries, there are many churches and historical places. It is a unique feature of the park that there are many spots of cultural interest.

Unzen-Amakusa National Park

Unzen-Amakusa National Park is a national park in Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima Prefectures, Japan. Established in 1934, the park derives its name from Mount Unzen, an active volcano at the middle of the Shimabara Peninsula, and the Amakusa islands in the Yatsushiro Sea. The area is closely connected to the early history of Christianity in Japan, and the park encompasses numerous areas related to Kakure Kirishitan (covered Christians).

The park has picturesque mountains and seascapes. On land, Unzen, which is a cluster of active volcanoes, still shows signs of vigorous volcanic activities, and on the ocean there is a scattered group of islands. Both places are full of natural beauty. The park has excellent undersea landscapes. These areas, where small tropical fish and colorful coral can be seen, are designated as Marine Park Zones. As the area is abundant in tourism resources such as hot springs heated by volcanic activities, it has been a popular tourist destination since old times. Since it is also rich in historic sites, visitors can find an abundance of both nature and culture here.

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See Also
Encyclopedia of Japan