The Beppu Benten Pond, with a perimeter of about 40 m and a depth of about 4 m at its center, is located in the precincts of Itsukushima-jinja Shrine in Mine City. It is said that the water of this pond is groundwater that flows from Mt. Hanao to the northwest of the pond and springs along a fault. The water has long been used for local people’s lives and farming, and is currently used to cultivate trout.
The Kokushu Ruins are the remains of a hamlet mainly dating back to end of the Kofun Period until the early Nara Period. Traces of copper and iron production have been discovered in the ruins. Unified Silla era-style earthenware discovered here indicates the likelihood of immigrants from the Korean Peninsula being linked to this hamlet. A park has been constructed using part of the area including the ruins.
The Shuho-shiraito Waterfall is located at the source of the Koto River flowing into the Seto Inland Sea. Water from the 701-m-high Mt. Katsuragi flows down, forming the waterfall with a drop of about 30 m. Tradition has it that, during his ascetic practices on Mt. Katsuragi, an Edo-Period mountain ascetic purified himself by standing under the waterfall, and prayed for the fulfilment of his desires.
The Hirano no Seihenmagan, or the orthogneiss (metamorphosed igneous rock) of Hirano, formed in blocks surrounded by serpentinite, is a Mine City-designated natural monument. Granite, of which the oceanic plate was composed, metamorphosed under high temperatures 430 million years ago to form the gneiss. Though recorded in this rock is the state of the centre of the earth as it was long ago, the process by which it came to be on the surface of the earth is unknown; such are the many mysteries which remain at Hirano.
This center aims to facilitate exchange among local residents and between local and urban residents, and contribute to regional revitalization. It processes and sells local agricultural products, promotes the enhancement of regional welfare and community activities, and offers nature experience and nature observation programs targeting children and their parents. The center also raises local residents’ awareness of environmental conservation and the importance of nature through the implementation of a firefly observation program.