Have you ever heard or visited Kaisho-no-mori Forest in Seto? It is the place which has natural forests, artificial forest and a structured park made by the prefecture, and the total area is about 600 ha located in the south of Seto, Aichi Prefecture. The forest was once a candidate site for Aichi Expo held in 2005, but it has been conserved, not destroyed for the world exposition.
The hiking was organized by AGGN (Aichi Goodwill Guide Network). I was very happy to join the tour because I have been interested in the place since the prefecture gave up using it as the main site for the exposition, and I learned many things from biological, botanical, historical, archeological, geographical, and geological points, which made Aichi prefecture and Japan Association for the 2005 relinquish the plan for constructing the site there.
The trigger of the big opposition movement for the exposition in the area was that the existence of ohtaka, or goshawk, which is one of endangered species, had been confirmed in 1999 after the prefecture and the association for the exposition started thinking Kaisho-no-mori Forest as the main site in 1990.
The forest has not only the endangered birds but also endangered plants, such as star magnolias. Star magnolias grow naturally in only Tokai district including Aichi prefecture. Kaisho-no-mori Forest is a sacred place for the plants. In the forest can you see other precious and rare plants, such as haru-rindo, or gentian thunbergii, and ibota-ro-no-ki. According to one of the guides, there is an insect named ibota-ro-mushi, and people used to make wax from the young worms’ fluid. The tree has become to call ibota-ro-no-ki because the insects like the tree.
This is a pond called Taisho-ike. You can see the two forests here. On the right, it is a natural forest; on the left it is an artificial forest.
According to the guide, the artificial forest is very weak and dangerous because it has only needle leaf trees, such as cider and cypress, which go through the rain easily and make the soil very soft, and coniferous trees’ roots don’t spread widely under the ground. That is, needle leaf trees forests can be easily collapsed. In addition, people have abandoned the artificial trees because import materials are cheaper and the forest’s trees are seldom used. So, only those needle leaf trees grow up freely and other kinds of trees cannot grow there.
The government went on with planting ciders and cypresses in the postwar years because they can grow up easily. But those trees haven’t been used as building materials and ignored for a long time, and it has caused other problems, such as risks of landslides and hay fever…
Kaisho-no-mori Forest is too big to see around a day. I just walked and saw one-third of the forest this time. But I saw many precious plants and heard of birds and learned many new things through the tour. The forest is rich in diversity. I’d like to visit the rest places someday soon.