NIPPONIA No. 37 June 15, 2006


Nature in Japan

Hatcho Dejima Peninsula, Lake Chuzenji, Nikko

What looks like a sock knitted with different colors is actually a small peninsula jutting into Lake Chuzenji, in Nikko. Autumn is special at Nikko, and the lake is high on the list of local tourist spots, along with Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine (a World Heritage Site), and the switchbacks on Iroha Slope.

(Photo: Watanabe Manabu)

Kushiro Marsh

A river meanders through a vast marshland, like time always flowing to the same rhythm. Kushiro Marsh in eastern Hokkaido has an area of about 20,000 hectares. It was the first site in Japan to be included in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international treaty to protect this type of environment. The photo shows the Miyajimamisaki area in the northern part of the marsh—it is a natural sanctuary that only permit holders may access.

(Photo: Watanabe Manabu)

Ice-covered trees, Zao Mountains

From high in the sky, the scene looks like a group of snow-covered Buddhist monks trudging silently up the slope. But no, these are conifers, mainly pines, decorated with ice and snow. When the wind blows strongly from one direction, and when precipitation and certain weather conditions combine, this is the unusual result. The phenomenon is found only on the Zao group of mountains and some other parts of the Ou Range in the Tohoku region.

(Photo: Toyotaka Ryuzo)


A green towel left on a giant washboard floating in the Pacific Ocean? No, we are close to the island of Aoshima, on the Nichinan Coast in Miyazaki Prefecture. The island, just 1.5 km in circumference, was flattened by wave erosion over the centuries, and the soft mudstone and harder sandstone were carved into grooves and ridges. The nearby warm ocean current keeps temperatures relatively high, and the island's trees are subtropical.

(Photo: Watanabe Manabu)