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Natural Landscape and Hot Springs


 Surround by oceans, the natural landscape of Kansai is blessed with the variations of the four seasons. This due to the fact that the geographical features of the land have a multitude of variations, and the high plains in the north, the mountainous regions in the south and Lake Biwa in the lowlands in the central part of the region have a considerable effect on the variations in nature. The climate in Kansai also shows a considerable amount of variations, ranging from the mild temperate climate along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea to the mountain weather inland.


 There are a number of well-known mountains in each of the prefectures of the Kansai region, such as Mt. Ibuki in Shiga Prefecture, Mt. Arashima in Fukui Prefecture, Mt. Hiei, which straddles Kyoto Ciy and Otsu City and is well known as the site of Enryakuji Temple, Mt. Nijo on the border of Osaka and Nara prefectures, Mt. Katsuragi, considered holy by the Shugendo sect of Buddhism, Mt. Kongo, with Tenporinji Temple at the top of the mountain, and finally, in Nara Prefecture, the area with the heaviest rainfall in Japan, Mt. Odaigahara and Mt. Omine. Furthermore, in Tottori Prefecture, there is Mt. Daisen, the highest mountain in the Chugoku region and the sand dunes of Tottori, which change their expression with each breath of wind. In regard to lakes, there is, of course, Lake Biwa and Mikata Goko (the Five Lakes of Mikata, in Fukui Prefecture). As for rivers, there is the Kamo River in Kyoto, the Hozu River, the Uji River, the Ado River in Shiga Prefecture, the Isuzu River in Mie, the Yoshino River in Tokushima Prefecture, the Kuzuryu River in Fukui Prefecture, and the Kinokawa River in Wakayama. Then there are many falls and steep gorges in the region, such as Nunobiki Falls in the foothills of Mt. Rokko in Hyogo Prefecture, Mino Falls in Osaka Prefecture, and Ruri Gorge in Kyoto Prefecture. On the coast, Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture, Wakanoura in Wakayama Prefecture and Kotohikihama in Tango City in Kyoto Prefecture are very famous. In Tokushima Prefecture, a pedestrian walkway named the "UZU-NO-MICHI" (Whirlpool Path) was constructed on the Onaruto Bridge, where you can view the swirling current and whirlpools of the Naruto Strait from a height of 45 meters above the waters. In addition, the Tojinbo andesite cliffs, formed of surreal columns corroded by the sea, are located in the Eichizen Kagakaigan Quasi National Park (Fukui Prefecture), presenting a majestic view to visitors.

The sand dunes of Tottori

 Surrounded by the oceans and with the mountains close by, Kansai has a number of hot springs with an ample supply of water. Including the Kinosaki and Arima hot springs in Hyogo Prefecture, there is the Awara hot spring in Fukui Prefecture, the Yunohana hot spring in Kyoto Prefecture, the Totsugawa hot spring in Nara Prefecture, the Ryujin and Shirahama hot springs in Wakayama Prefecture, and the Sakakibara, Yunoyama, and Nagashima hot springs in Mie Prefecture, and the like, actually too numerous to mention them all. The Arima hot spring in Hyogo Prefecture are located on the northern side of Mt. Rokko, like the rear room of a villa, and it is said that this hot springs is the oldest in Japan. According to tradition, in the Nara Period, the monk Gyoki built a temple called Onsenji (the Japanese for hot spring is "onsen"), and the name spread across the country. It is said that Toyotomi Hideyoshi used this hot spring to wash away the fatigue of war, allowing him to finalize his decision to unite the country. The Awara hot spring in Fukui Prefecture is located on a flatland, and it is said that in the Meiji Period, farmers plagued by drought tried to dig a well, only to have the hot spring water gush up. The Ryujin hot spring in Wakayama Prefecture is located in a secluded spot back in the mountains, and it is said that it was discovered by En-no-gyoja and developed by the monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) about 1,200 years ago. Misasa hot spring in Tottori Prefecture is one of the few radium hot springs in the world, and it has been visited by many famous writers and artists.

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