the summit of mt. kyogamaru
at an elevation of 281m above sea level, the summit provides an unbroken view of the surrounding area, allowing visitors to see mt. yataka in takahashi city to the north, the industrial zone of fukuyama city to the west, ships bobbing off the kasaoka shore to the south, and the industrial zone of mizushima to the east. the summit becomes especially crowded at new year's, when people gather here to watch the first sunrise of the new year.
in the garden of the temple of senju-in, 260m above sea level, this shell limestone rock lies exposed, having been worn down by groundwater over many long years, leaving the rock looking as though it had been pounded by the waves, giving rise to its name, which in japanese literally means "wave-shaped rock".
this limestone was formed from the fossilized remains of oysters, hanegai and benkei-gai clams. we can also see fossilized shark teeth and sea urchin, which are not normally found in this type of limestone.
this rock provides evidence that during the miocene epoch, around 20 million years ago, the surrounding area formed the bed of a shallow sea. the current garden was laid down by shozan osho, the chief priest of senju-in during the last years of the shogunate, around 1860. today, it blends together to create a wonderful view.
this valley is composed of diabase rock, a rare sight in japan. the ogami river, a branch of the oda river, has carved deeply into the rock, and then flows to the south of eisho-ji, built by the nasu family. it is said that one of the young boys who followed the founder of eisho-ji, jippo ryoshu, was in fact the incarnation of dososhin, the guardian deity of travelers, and that is how the valley gained its name.
there are 11 large and small waterfalls scattered along the 800m length of the pathway of this beautiful valley between the mountains. the best place to view the falls is from the central viewing platform, from where the narutaki (ondaki) and ninotaki waterfalls seem to form a single waterfall. it's also possible to see the potholed surface of the river bed, and steep, sheer cliffs.
the beauty of tenjin gorge changes with the seasons. the scenic area along the oda river, centered on the sacred shrine forests of tenjin-sha and kuromaru-jinja, lies in the upper takahashi river prefectural natural park. along the 1km length of the gorge, great old maples, firs and oaks cast their reflections across the clear water.
onigatake is a 4km-long valley, composed of a diabase rock bed eroded by the upper reaches of the miyama river plus the trees along the water's edge, with a pathway provided around the rim. the area is richly expressive in any season, from the cries of the singing frogs and dancing fireflies in early summer, to the vivid autumn colors, and the light dusting of snow in winter.
the name shiraito is composed of the elements "shira", meaning white, and "ito", meaning thread. just as the name suggests, the water of these beautiful falls looks like a gathering of white threads. the falls are divided into five stages, falling a total of 25m. the water then flows on to join the miyama river. a total of 350 cherry and maple trees have been freshly planted in the surrounding area, and in cherry blossom or autumn color seasons, they combine with the falls to produce an exceptionally beautiful view.