There are many sightseeing spots in Japan, and in this article we'd like to introduce a few rare sights that will definitely mystify you. These slightly strange places will tickle your fancy and surprise you.
1. A popular rare sight with travelers: the Hells of Beppu (Oita Prefecture)
Oita Prefecture's Beppu Onsen is one of Japan's representative hot spring areas. In Beppu, there are hot springs that are called "hell." Plus, it's not just one hell, there are actually more than 10, 8 of which can be visited by taking the sightseeing bus "Jigoku Meguri" ("the hell tour"). Each hell has its own special traits, such as the Umi Jigoku ("sea hell") that is full of beautiful cobalt blue water and steams a hair-raising gas, or the Chi no Ike Jigoku ("lake of blood hell") that is bright red and definitely looks like our image of hell. You won't get tired of looking at them. By the way, these hot springs are only for viewing, so please be aware that you can't bathe in them. The website has a 10% coupon, and you can download the pamphlet in many languages so be sure to check before you go. For souvenirs, you can buy puddings steamed in the onsen as well as salves made from the mud from the Chi Ike Jigoku spring.
*The picture is of the Chi no Ike Jigoku spring.
2. A huge coin drawn in sand: Zenigata Sunae (Kagawa Prefecture)
The Zenigata Sunae is a huge copper coin from the Edo period drawn in the white sands of Ariakehama, a beach resort in Kagawa prefecture's Kanonji City. This huge sand sculpture is 122m from east to west, 90m from north to south, and has a diameter of 345m. It's said that the people governing this area wanted to invite travelers, so they made this in just one night. It's also said that if you look at the Zenigata Sunae, you'll live a long healthy life and you won't be too free with your money, so it's a popular spot for many travelers. If you look at it from nearby Mt. Kotohiki, you can see its beautiful shape in its entirety. It's beautifully lit up every day from the time of sunset to 10pm every day, allowing travelers to enjoy the whimsical sight, so visiting it in the evening is highly recommended.
3. A house straight from a fairy tail that you can actually live in: Samantha Martha (Shizuoka Prefecture)
"Samantha Martha" is a rental apartment in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. The architecture studio that designed this building mostly work in Shizuoka, and they made this building look exactly like a witches' house straight out of a Disney movie. The mysterious facade is made with lines that makes everything, from the walls, the roof, and even the windows, look wavy and curved. On the roof, there are bats and even a Halloween pumpkin sitting on the roof, and there are pumpkins, cats, and even crows on the fence too! The chimney is a witch's hat! No matter where you look, it's a house from a fairy tail. It was built with the concept that "the renters can live here while still holding onto their dreams," and "the renters can live in this building while actively interacting with each other". If you find yourself in Hamamatsu, definitely stop by and check it out.
4. They had these in Japan too? Moai Statues (Miyazaki)
Sun Messe Nichinan is a theme park facing the ocean in Nichinan, Miyazaki. Somehow, in this Sun Messe Nichinan, there are Moai statues the same as those considered one of the 7 world wonders. Actually, they received special permission from the chief elders of Easter Island, and it's the only place in the world where 7 Moai statues are perfectly replicated. The statues are 5.5m tall, and on sunny days they have the blue seas as a backdrop for a beautiful, harmonious sight. It's said that each Moai has special powers; for example, if you face the sea and touch the Moai that's 2nd from the right, you'll be greeted with financial luck. If you touch the 2nd from the left, then that's luck for health, 3rd from the left is love, and so on, so please touch them. Also, in this Sun Messe Nichinan, there aren't just the Moai statues, but also a petting zoo, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop. It's about an hour away from Miyazaki City, so why not take a short trip there if you find yourself in Miyazaki?
5. A majestic painting using nature as a canvas: Ryu no Kaseki (Kagoshima Prefecture)
You can see a colorful rising dragon painted on the rock of a towering cliff from the highway along Kagoshima Bay in Kirishima. The sight of the 150m-long rising dragon is an impressive sight. People who see it for the first time are often taken aback. Actually, this is a black vinegar distillery for the company "Choumei Herushin Vinegar Brewery". According to the owner, he wanted to recreate a dragon that he had seen in his dreams on the rock as a prayer for people that buy his black vinegar to be visited with health and happiness. The area is also dotted with red torii gates and sparkling gold Buddha statues, and if you make an appointment ahead of time you can see these sites as well. Black vinegar is a special product of Kirishima, so why not pick some up as a souvenir?
Standard sightseeing areas like temples and shrines are fine, but visiting rare and little-known spots is one of the ways to make your trip unique and interesting. If you come to Japan, please use this article to help plan your trip.