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A Concentration of National and Quasi-national Parks

Running down the Hozu River

 Including the Ise-Shima National Park, formed by the Shima coast and the Ise Shrine Forest, the Yoshino Kumano National Park, featuring beautiful gorges and a primeval forest full of Japanese Cyprus and Beech and the Nachi Falls, the tallest fall in Japan, the Sanin Coast National Park, ranging from the Amino Coast in Kyoto to the sand dunes of Tottori, the Seto Naikai National Park, formed in the beautiful Rokko Mountains of Kobe, the Hakusan National Park, spread across both Fukui and Gifu prefectures, and the Daisen National Park (Tottori Prefecture), featuring Mt. Daisen, known as a holy mountain that brought prosperity through mountain worship in ancient times, there are 6 National Parks and 13 Quasi-national Parks in Kansai, with the highest concentration of such facilities nationwide.

 On the Sanin Coast, there are many unique geographical features. Over many years, from ancient times through today, the coastal landscape and even the types of soil have changed many times. This has made this area quite beautiful. At Sanin Coast National Park, you can learn about the culture and history of this coast, which was recognized by Japan Geopark in December of 2008 and again by World Geopark in October 2010.
 Because marine landscapes are preserved at these parks, Marine Parks have been established at 9 locations in Kansai, including the Kushimoto Marine Park at the Yoshino Kumano National Park and the Mikata Marine Park at the Wakasawan Quasi-national Park. In addition, there are prefectural nature parks in each of the prefectures in Kansai. These nature parks function to preserve the abundant and superb natural landscapes in Kansai, and provide the citizens of the area with a peaceful location for recreation and relaxation. With its convenient transportation facilities making these nature parks easily accessible, Kansai is a popular tourism destination.

Nachi Falls

 There are other rich natural tourism resources in Kansai, drawing many tourists. In summer on Lake Biwa you can take a cruise on either a paddle-wheel ship or a sightseeing ship, featured items for tourism at the lake. Located at the northern tip of Lake Biwa, Omihachiman City has a long history as the home of the Omi merchants, and the scenery of the Nishi-no-ko lakeside district on the west side of the lake is famous as one of the 8 featured landscapes of Lake Biwa.
 Running the Hozu River down the 16-km course of the mountain torrent on a boat from Kameoka in Kyoto to Arashiyama is very popular, and the expertise of the boatman as they use their poles to avoid the boulders and strangely shaped rocks is quite thrilling. This area draws many tourists from all over the country and various foreign countries, especially in the fall, when the gorge is tinted with the leaves of autumn. The Torocco Railroad running along the Hozu River Gorge is a 7.3 km ride on the Sagano Romantic Train connecting the stations at Kameoka and Sagano. The train goes through 8 tunnels and provides a superb view of the river running right below your eyes.
 In Osaka, the night cruises on Osaka Bay and the canal buses providing the chance to take a walk through Osaka from the waterfront are very popular. Kobe also offers the opportunity to take a ride on a large, gorgeous cruiser, and there are several different course around the harbor to choose from.

Okunoin Nageiredo Hall of Sanbutsuji Temple

 A tributary of the Kumano River, the Kitayama River runs through the Dorokyo Gorge, which straddles 3 prefectures, Wakayama, Mie, and Nara. Downstream, the river splits into three streams, the Shimodoro, Kamidoro, and Okudoro, and the lower stream, the Shimodoro, is also known as Dorohaccho. Dorohaccho is famous for the beauty of its landscape, and it has been specified as a place of special beauty and a natural monument.
 Mt. Nachi at Nachikatsuura-cho, Wakayama is considered one of the three holy mountains of Kumano, and Nachi Falls is considered the holy spirit of Kumano Nachi Shrine and Hiro Shrine. Considered the temple most regularly visited by pilgrims in the western part of Japan, Seigantoji Temple, a temple of the Shugendo sect of Buddhism, is also located on Mt. Nachi and many believers of Amitabha Buddha consider this a holy place.
In Tokushima Prefecture too, there are 23 temples regularly visited by pilgrims, including Ryozenji Temple, which is considered the most visited of the 88 temples on the island of Shikoku, attracting many pilgrims as they go around the island hoping to complete the whole course.
At Mt. Mitoku in Tottori Prefecture, located on the face of a rock cliff halfway up the mountain, you will find the Okunoin Nageiredo Hall of Sanbutsuji Temple. The path leading from the main hall of the temple at the foot of the mountain to the structure on the mountain is lined with buildings that have been specified as important cultural properties.

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