If you’re visiting the southern peninsula and aren’t sure where to go, here are the top 6 sights to see during your visit! The list includes the cities of Minamiboso, Tateyama, Kamogawa, and Kyonan Town.
KYONAN TOWN – Peer down into hell from the overhang infamously known as the “view of hell” (jigoku nozoki). The high ledge gives you a bird’s-eye view from the top of Mt. Nokogiri, which translates to “saw-tooth mountain” because of its shape. Besides a glimpse of hell, Mt. Nokogiri also has the largest sitting, stone-carved Buddha in Japan, as well as an impressive, 30-meter (about 94 feet) tall relief sculpture called Hyaku Shaku Kannon.
If you’re a skilled hiker you can climb up the mountain yourself, or as most people do, drive up to the “ropeway” (cable car) that will take you to the top of the mountain. From there you can follow the trails to each landmark. There are a lot of steep stairs and slopes on the mountain, so be sure to wear good hiking shoes or sneakers.
KAMOGAWA – Welcome to the only killer whale show in Japan! You can spend hours at this mainly outdoor marine park. Among the attractions are sea lions, walruses, dolphins, and killer whales (orcas). There’s also an aquarium inside, which is really fun to watch during feeding time! The killer whale show is fantastic, so don’t miss it!
TATEYAMA – Upon a hill that overlooks the city stands Tateyama Castle. While it’s not the original castle, the view of the city and glittering bay is breathtaking. The sunset is particularly beautiful, and if you come on a clear day (especially in winter) you can see Mt. Fuji. Plan your visit during cherry blossom season to see the castle framed in pink, or during autumn to enjoy the changing leaves. There is a neat museum inside the castle, and the admission includes entry to the Tateyama museum which is just a short walk away.
TATEYAMA – An easy climb will take you to this magnificent reclining Buddha hidden by the trees. The pose represents reaching Nirvana. This 16-meter, 30-ton bronze statue is among the largest of its kind.
The person at the front desk will tell you (likely in Japanese) how to go up the steps and approach the statue. Or you can just click on this post and learn how before you go.
MINAMIBOSO – Arguably the most beautiful (and my absolute favorite) coastline in Minamiboso City. Climb up Nojimazaki Lighthouse, which stands right in front of the shore, for a bird’s-eye view. Then enjoy a romantic walk along the coast as the sun sinks into the Pacific ocean. There’s even a white bench set upon a boulder where couples take their picture with the ocean behind them.
TATEYAMA – This vibrant-red temple is built into a cliff and looks out on the bay. While small, the scenery is fascinating and the inside of the temple is decorated so elaborately it might as well be a palace. Whether you’re an avid fan of temples or just want a place to clear your head, Gake no Kannon won’t disappoint. It’s also a nice place for artistic inspiration.