Tag Archives: Seto

Kaisho-No-Mori Forest : "Where am I?" —"I don’t know."

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6月7日携帯 112      “That is Shiro-ito-so (Chionographis japonica).” I turned around and found a man standing behind me and pointing the delicate flower. “It’s my first time to see the plant,” I replied. I was at the entrance of a forest called Kaisho-No-Mori in Seto on the afternoon of May 26. Actually I had been there before (http://wp.me/p16bjt-V), but I didn’t remember the flower. I was being impressed by his knowledge when the man started explaining about other plants. He is a member of a support group for the forest. 6月7日携帯 116

     After saying thank you and good-bye to him, I began climbing. Kaisho-No-Mori is about 600 ha and is too big to walk around the whole forest. So I decided to follow the same route that I had walked through with a guide at the previous time. I had thought I could trace the path by myself. But my thinking was too optimistic…I was able to climb up to the top of a hill called Sankaku-ten, which is about 166 meters high above sea level, and then began to come down and was lost in the forest…6月7日携帯 124

     “It’s dangerous to come down when you’re lost in the forest. Mmm…I’ve heard of that…but I’m now doing that…” I thought that to myself when I was walking. Strangely I smelt something sweet like pudding on the way. “Pudding! Pudding! Pudding!” I was chanting the word to encourage myself and kept coming down through the pathless route. Luckily I did not lose the sense of direction and was sure I could come out of the forest to somewhere proper path. But I felt lonely. 6月7日携帯 126

     Suddenly I heard talking voices. I raced down into grasses and then stumbled out of the thicket. I was standing on a forest road. The voices of the speakers I had heard inside the forest were two elderly ladies and I saw them walking away chattering. “Hello.” I faced to the right when a young man was standing with a big backpack. “Hello,” I greeted back to him and then asked. “Where am I?” He stared at me in wonder, and then replied. “I don’t know.”

     He took a map out of his backpack and checked the route. I guessed where we were with the map and decided the destination. I said good-bye to him and started walking. At last I found the proper route after a while, and was relieved…TS3N0145

     Kaisho-No-Mori Forest is in Seto, which is located northeast of Nagoya and is famous for ceramics, and once was a candidate site for Expo in 2005. But there was a big protest movement against the construction with supporters of environmentalism and an endangered bird was found there during the campaign. So the plan as the Expo site was abandoned and the forest was saved. Actually the forest was almost destroyed in the high economic growth era, but many trees were planted later and the forest looks like “a forest” now. 6月7日携帯 129

     The forest is owned by Aichi Prefecture and some people. Interestingly there are many cedars in the prefectural area and the folk area has many deciduous trees. And you can see the two zones at one time. (Can you see that on some pictures here?) The prefecture has planted mainly cedars to let the forest recover quickly, but it causes two big problems: First, cedars have little water retaining abilities and lead to landslides when it has much rain in the area. Second, many people have become allergic to cedar pollen including me… 6月7日携帯 131

     Nevertheless, Kaisho-No-Mori Forest is a quiet and peaceful place to which it is easy to access from Nagoya. You can enjoy fresh air, see wild flowers, and hear birds’ songs there getting away from hustle and bustle of a city life. I had a great time, too! Oh, I have an advice. When you enter the forest, you should go with a guide.

Kaisho-no-mori Forest in Seto

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HI352288

     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. HI352279

     Two weeks ago I had an opportunity to visit the forest. I took part in a kind of a hike with guides, who are conservationists and have environmental activates to preserve the forest.HI352286

      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. HI352284

     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. HI352301

     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.    

     There aHI352289re ancient burial mounds and old sites for production of ceramic wares in Kaisho-no-mori Forest. You can see many old sties and things, which will stimulate your interests, in the place.

     Nowadays the forest is a mountain, but it used to be the bottom of a river named the Shinano in ancient times. So, the ground is very gravelly. The area was lifted up by crustal movement.   HI352314

     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. HI352295

     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…HI352316

     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.