Yakushima- Island of Primeval Forests and Princess Mononoke
In addition to my ridiculous local news every morning I also watch NHK which is never ridiculous and always interesting. They feature many really great documentaries. including one recently about the island of Yakushima. Which immediately made me want to travel there so I could stand under the canopy of trees that have lived thousands of years and just feel the air of the forrest surround me.
This ancient natural environment the Island of Yakushima is home to forests who’s trees have lived for thousands of years.
The trees in theres forests are called Yaku Sugi as apposed to other Sugi trees commonly found across Japan. The Term Kaki refers to trees over one thousand years old. The oldest of the Yaki Sugi is called Jomon Sugi who’s age is estimated 4000 + years old. Which is incredible and lucky to be standing considering for 300 years trees in this forrest were felled for housing and other industrial use. Since the early 1960’s these forests have been protected and are revered and beloved by their local residents who believe spirits live in all the trees especially the most ancient ones.
I get the impression that the local people feel joy and reverence being able to live among such remarkable ancient and untouched natural beauty.
I love and respect any people who honor and respect their natural environment.
Maybe you are a fan of Hayao Miyazaki so you instantly recognize the landscape as the inspiration for the film Princess Mononoke.
The forrest hosts many wonders of natural plant life, over 600 species of mosses grow in the forests as well as what locals call the glowing forest. Which is the various populations of bioluminescent mushrooms, some like the Ginga Take (galaxy mushroom mushroom) only area for two weeks out of the year.
The tradition of Take-Mairi takes place twice a year. Locals go on a pilgrimage to the top of the summit grating small amounts of sand from the granite beaches to later place at a small alter honoring the mountain diety. This is symbolic of the mountain that was once rock turning into sand over time. I would guess also to honor the constant cycle and flow of life.
The island is made up of mainly granite rock which breaks down flowing to the sea to form the beautiful granite sand beach. It just so happens that granite sand maintains the perfect temperature to mature the eggs of the Loggerhead Sea turtles that migrate to the island ever year.
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