Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daisetsuzan “Great Snowy Mountains” National Park, Sounkyo Valley, Hokkaido, Japan

These photos are from our recent trip North to Hokkaido, December 7th through the 10th. The tour group war made up entirely of folks from Okinawa who wanted to experience the snow. This is my offering for Travel Photo Thursday for December 22nd, 2011.
 After a quick potty break, the group assembles back near the tour bus for a group photo in front of the falls.

The photos in this post were all taken on day three of the trip. Just so you know and don’t start looking for posts or photos you may have missed, I’m not posting them in any particular order, I just happened to start working on these photos first. More will follow in the days and weeks to come so stay tuned!

The Sounkyo Gorge is a river valley found in Central Hokkaido that is hemmed in on both sides by rock walls rising almost 150m (500 ft.) and extending some 19km (12 miles) from Sounkyo Onsen Spa up to the reservoir. About three kilometers or two miles above the spa, there is a large parking area beside the roaring river. This is a prime area to view much of the scenery and during the season, to start off on hiking adventures. Here one can find two famous waterfalls side by side: the Ginga no Taki (Silver River Falls)
Unfortunately this falls was completely frozen over

and the Ryuusei no Taki (Shooting Star Falls).  
This one only partially frozen

Back on the main highway, a few hundred meters further down the gorge one can see the rock formation seen here and known to the locals as “Maria Ishi” or Maria’s Rock.
 This rock formation was pointed out by our tour guide and said to resemble a woman in a robe with outstretched arms hanging at about 45 degrees. The locals call it Maria Ishi. What I didn't notice at the time I snapped it was the iron discoloration in the rock that puts a big Maltese looking cross right smack dab in what would be the center chest area.
 (You can click on the individual photos to enlarge for better viewing)

English language links for more information on Daisetsuzan park and Sounkyo Valley Gorge are listed here:


  1. Those mountains remind me of Karst only without the snow in Okinawa!

  2. They also kind of remind me of Iceland. Very beautiful and serene.

  3. Beautiful photos. . .striking contrast to what I think of when I think of this country.

  4. Looks like Yosemite National Park where my Travel Photo Thursday contribution for this week was taken. I spent about a year and half on Okinawa and don't recall snow falling there during my stay.

  5. Dick,
    Guess that's why all those Okinawa folks headed up thar. Every year someplace up in Hokkaido sends a truck load of snow down here for the kids to get stupid in. But some of these folks have never seen snow in their entire lives. From what I could see, they were glad for the comfort of the bus but they still loved every minute of the trip!!

  6. Gorgeous shots! Snow is beautiful, but having shoveled too much Canadian snow in my day, I would be happy to never see the stuff again!

  7. Beautiful photos! Love the frozen waterfalls shots. How lucky for them to experience snow with this backdrop.

  8. "Portraits of an Island People" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope this helps to attract many new visitors here.

  9. Nancie,

    I'm a Cheese-head by birth so I can appreciate your aversion to snow shovels. The sight of one gives me the willies too!

  10. Jerry,

    Thanks for the word up on the blog. You certainly have some interesting links there!!!