Osaka is known as Japan's second metropolis, but if you head out just a little way away from the city you'll find many lush natural scenic views. Here are some views famous both nationally and locally that anyone can enjoy.
1. Hashigui Iwa (Wakayama)
Hashigui Iwa, in Wakayama's Kushimoto, is a place where you can enjoy the combination of rocks and the ocean. There are close to 40 rocks of different sizes in a straight line over 850m between the coast and Oshima Island. It's a sight that was made naturally even though the line they make is very symmetrical. Since they look like the pillars of a bridge they were given that name ("hashi" means bridge, "gui" means pillar, and "iwa" means rock). It's especially gorgeous when it's sunny! It's registered as one of the best hundred places in Japan to see the sunrise, so it's famous as a sunrise photography spot. Please check it out!
2. Takeda Castle ruins (Hyogo)
The ruins of Takeda Castle are popular because they are a castle that floats in the sky. It's been called Japan's Machu Picchu. These ruins are 353m above sea levels, and they're rather precious. In recent years they have been featured often in movies and commercials, so many people have learned of their existence and now many people come to see it from all around Japan.
You can enjoy the sight of the mountains below you and the mystical atmosphere. The sea of clouds is famous but in order to see it there are a number of requirements that must be passed. It can only be seen in the early morning in autumn and winter, especially September to November, so for those who absolutely want to see it might be good to stay in accommodations by the ruins and prepare carefully.
Viewing fee: 500 JPY for adults
3. Mukushi Iwa (Wakayama)
Strangely shaped rocks were formed over time by strong rain until it became sights that you can't believe. Mukushi Iwa are some of those rocks, and you can enjoy a sight that seems more suited to Cappadocia in Turkey. Mukushi Iwa have been selected as a national natural monument, and as the name reflects it looks like bugs have eaten away at the rock to create countless holes (the characters used in the name mean "bug" and "to eat"). It looks like a beehive. Also, it's said that if you tie a wish to a small rock with a hole in it any ear-related illnesses will be cured. Nearby there is the Botan Iwa, Meshimori Iwa, Ichimai Iwa, Tenchuu Iwa, and more, so it would be fun to take a day and walk around to see all of them.
4. Shiroyama Park (Hyogo)
If you want to get your fill of the beautiful Japanese seas, go to Shiroyama Park. You can enjoy a panorama of around 270 degrees there, something that isn't often found within Japan. It's also known as a beautiful spot for cherry blossoms in the spring, so there are various ways to enjoy it. For people who want to take photos with the panorama in the back, there's a camera stand called the Totte Chodai that would be good to use. This way you can get a proper photo without resorting to a selfie. The sight of the marine blue ocean is lovely all day, but it's especially gorgeous when it becomes tinted by the setting sun. Nearby there are many sightseeing spots, including the 4ha pine tree forest called the Matsu no Niwa and the 500m walking path called Ajiwara Komichi along the Ajiwara River. It would be good to stop by the park while seeing everything in the area.
5. Dorokyo Gorge (Wakayama)
Dorokyo Gorge is the place to go if you want to enjoy a landscape that looks like a Chinese forest while still being in Japan. The perpendicular cliffs are lined with huge and irregularly shaped rocks, giving the area a mysterious appearance that will make you imagine ancient scenery.
In order to fully enjoy the gorge, it's recommended that you ride the sightseeing jet boat. You get on the boat at Kogawaguchi, and disembark once in the gorge. You have 20 minutes to take a break and take as many photos as you want, before riding the boat again to return to Kogawaguchi. It takes about an hour, but you can experience the majesty of nature so it's definitely a boat ride that will leave you satisfied.
These are all beautiful scenic spots that you can reach from Osaka. There are plenty of sights within Japan, so please research them and add them to your itinerary!
*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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