April, 2016

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
Sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at
our previous issues.

Pine blooms in April.

Our treasure Rainbow Pine Forest

 This month I would like you to meet Ms Wakako Fujita, who is doing her best to organize citizens of Karatsu to preserve our important pine forest, Niji-no-Matsubara.
Enjoy meeting her!
Niji-no-Matsubara seen from Mt. Kagami
   Wakako Fujita
             Group KANNE


Route 202


Niji-no-Matsubara is a pine forest in Karatsu, along the Bay of Karatsu, 4.5km long, 500m wide, with a million of black pines.
This is one of the three biggest pine forests in Japan.

The forest seen from Mt. Kagami is amazing. And driving through a natural tunnel of pines is a fun.
Bathing sunshine among the trees will calm your nerves.

The origin of this forest is that at the beginning of the 17th century the Lord Terasawa of Karatsu planted black pines on the sands along the bay to prevent winds and tides.
This forest has protected our lives for four hundred years from the hard winds containing sands.

Until the middle of 20th century, the fallen dry leaves of pine were used for fuel. People came to gather the leaves, so the forest was always clean and sandy.
Green trees on white sands.
In this circumstances 'Shoro', a kind of mushroom grows. It is like a small potato.
But the land of the forest became fertile because of the rotten fallen leaves.
Shoro does not grow on a rich soil.
Nowadays we can hardly see Shoros.

Nobody now uses pine leaves for fuel, and the soil became richer to grow other trees well. Pines are dying now.

So we organize the movement to maintain this beautiful scenery.
201 groups of 6659 people joined to do this work.
This method is to divide the land into many small patches, put numbers, and people take care of his small patch whenever he likes. Weed, sweep and take out fertilizing leaves.
Still, these people can cover only 25% of the forest.


We hope this circle become bigger and bigger, and we can reserve and revive our treasure Niji-no-Matsubara to hand over to the next generation.
Please join us.

Thank you.
Sunshine through pine leaves
Children help
The image character
Gathering pine leaves
This girl is smaller than her rake.
Shoro appears in the shallow sand
Pine cone and shoro are in love.
Dancing queen

 Heart-leaf lily
Thank you, Wakako.

How did you like this story?
In this pine forest, you will find many interesting figures of pines. Giant Octopus, Dragon, Horse, Thinking man, Weeping woman.......
Trees look different depending on the angle you see.
You need much observation and imagination to find a new figure of the tree.

After rain, we often see rainbows over these pine trees. That is also another reason why this forest is called Niji-no-Matsubara (Rainbow pine forest).

This was a stage of sad history of Edo period.
All around the year, small weeds bloom their sober flowers, birds and bugs keep on living here, cicadas, crickets, even snails and snakes.
These years, fragrant heart-leaf lilies are spreading.
In April, this forest is fragrant with the new leaves of pine needles and flowers, and in June, with lilies.
I really hope that our young citizens continue their effort to maintain this treasure forest.

Thank you very much for joining me.
I hope you will visit us again next month.

 Mail to Harumi Okochi