11_Mount Chokai

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11. Mount Chokai

location:  on the border of Akita and Yamagata prefectures (there are 2 trailheads for hiking to the top in Honjo Yuri) 

Chokai mountain is the second highest mountain in Tohoku, at 2236m, and faces The Japan Sea between Akita Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture.
It is also known as “Dewa Fuji”  from the old name for this area (Dewa) and because of its beautiful outline which resembles Mount Fuji.
It used to be the focus of local people’s worship and was regarded as a fierce god of fire.  In fact, there is a lake called Choukaiko on the 7th station with many alpine plants around it.  A local legend says that a dragon lives here!
Mount Chokai is also renowned for its mountain flora and it appears in the prefectural song of Akita, in which it is described as  “graceful and peerless and unique”.
Mount Chokai is one of the most important of Akita’s many mountains and is mentioned in the school songs of elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools.
In September 2016 (Heisei 28), Mount Chokai was designated as a Geopark, together with the adjacent Tobishima island.
Interestingly, people from each area of Akita take pride in saying that their own view of Mount Chokai is the best.

keywords: nature, mountain, sightseeing
features:  magnificent, glacier,  mountain flora

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15_Nikaho-kogen Plateau

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15. Nikaho-kogen Plateau, Tsuchida Farm

location:  Toushi mountain, Nikaho – 20 minutes fom Nikaho IC (Nihonkai highway) by car

The Nikaho-kogen Plateau spreads out from the northern foot of Mount Chokai.  The hills here are 500m above sea level, and the pasture is expansive, with lakes and swamps dotted around in the bright green hills.
Two important flora of the plateau are the skunk cabbage and Japanese azalea.
Each season brings its own idyllic views which reassure and calm the senses, such as Jersey cows walking freely in the grass, or flowers in full bloom and swaying in the fields.
Another feature are the windmills which generate clean energy from the wind which blows in from the sea and over the plateau.
You can enjoy a panoramic 360 degree view of the whole area: Tobishima-island, Oga peninsula, and even the distant Awashima-island are all visible on the Japan Sea side; in the opposite direction are views of the Oou range of mountains; and there right in front of you is the stunning outline of Mount Chokai.
The animals which feed on the rich pasture in Tsuchida Farm are friendly, and contact with these farm animals can make you feel calm.  There is also a farm store, called the “Milk House”, where you can buy milk and dairy products and enjoy a light meal and relax.
The Jersey soft ice cream and cheese on toast are popular products in the store.

keywords:  sightseeing, plateau, pasture
features:  green, wind, windmill, health, Jersey soft-serve ice cream

written by M. Gamou &  H. Ishikawa

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