There are many spectacular scenic spots in nature-rich Kyushu. Here are five scenic spots that are accessible from Fukuoka.
1. Sakurai Futamigaura
Approximately 40 minutes northwest of central Fukuoka by car, you'll find this spectacular scenic spot consisting of a big white torii gate built on the seashore and two big rocks. Izanagi and Izanami, the male and female deities of Sakurai Shrine who, in Japanese mythology, are said to have come down to earth, are enshrined here. A sacred straw rope weighing 1t is tied around the two massive husband-and-wife rocks in the water. The view encompassing the blue sky and sea, large white torii gate, and the husband-and-wife rocks standing amiably together is calming. It is particularly famous as the Chikuzen Futamigaura (another name for Sakurai Futamigaura) of the sunset and if you can catch the sun slowly setting between the two rocks around summer solstice, it is sure to be burned forever in your memory.
2. Mifuneyama Rakuen
Located about an hour and twenty minutes by train from Fukuoka, this is a chisen kaiyu-style garden (a Japanese garden centered around a pond and the path around it) that was built over three years and finished in 1845 by the lord of the Takeo family of the Saga domain. The 210-meter high Mt. Mifune, a symbol of the Takeo family, looms in the vast grounds spanning approximately 500,000 square meters. It is stunning during the springtime, when its 200,000 rhododendrons bloom. With 2,000 cherry trees that blossom before the rhododendrons, this is a place where one can enjoy a relay of flowers adorning a Japanese garden. During the Hanamatsuri flower festival held from mid-March to early May every year, the garden is lit up in the evening, so be sure to check it out!
3. Yufugawa Gorge
This is a nature-rich valley about two hours southeast of Fukuoka by car near Yufuin, famous for its onsen hot spring, where 60m-high cliffs continue for 12km. The Yufu River flowing quietly between rocks that have been chiseled over centuries and the numerous small falls down the moss-covered cliffs create a mystical sight. This valley is also characterized by the smooth surface of the valley walls that is more rounded than other valleys. There are three entrances to the valley: the Tsubaki entrance, the Saruwatari entrance, and the Tanigafuchi entrance. The Tsubaki entrance, where you can slowly go down a gentle slope, is recommended. The other entrances require going down steep, metal staircases so can be quite thrilling. If you are with children, it is safer to go through the Tsubaki entrance. Take your time to walk down to the valley while enjoying the spectacular scenery created by nature.
4. Mt. Sarakura Observation Deck
The observation deck atop the 622m-high Mt. Sarakura, which is about a 2-hour drive northeast of Fukuoka, is a great location for a panoramic night view of Kitakyushu. The scenery, which is considered ne of the new three major night views of Japan, is sometimes referred to as a "ten-billion-dollar nightscape" and is characterized by the multicolored lights that shine from the industrial city of Kitakyushu. It is recommended to take the cable car to the middle of the mountain, then the slope car to the top. Be aware that the road is closed to traffic from 6:00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays till 10:00 am the next morning. Mt. Sarakura Observation Deck is a romantic spot, recommended for couples.
5. Shiraito Waterfall
This is a spectacular waterfall about 40 minutes by car southwest of Fukuoka. It is near the source of the Katsuki River and is about 12m wide with a 24m drop. Designated a Fukuoka Prefectural spot of scenic beauty, the view of the water falling as if a collection of white strings creating airborne droplets is astounding. The negative ion created by the fall refreshes the viewer's body and soul. With three Banryu maple trees that are more than 300 years old growing nearby and cryptobranchoidea salamanders living in the pure water, it is a place where one can enjoy the fabulous scenery surrounded by rich nature. The nearby Fureai no Sato offers Yamame trout fishing, so it is a great place to go with the family.
How was it? There are many spectacular nature-rich scenic spots near Fukuoka. We hope you'll visit some!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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