Friday, March 16, 2018

Secret Garden: Ikebe Citizen Forest 池辺市民の森

The City of Yokohama opens one Citizen Forest per year recent days. In 2017, it was a turn of Ikebe Citizen Forest池辺市民の森 in the north of Yokohama. It locates near the Tsukidematsu Park 月出松公園 which is in front of the Yokohama office of Kyocera Co. Or, the Forest is in the north of a shopping Center, Lalaport Yokohama. It would be a kind of surrealistic experience if you go Ikebe Citizen Forest and Lalaport in one day. The shopping center is a completely artificial space for consumerism. Ikebe Forest is a remnant of old agricultural community in Yokohama. The combination is VERY 21st century Japan.

The slope near the entrance to Ikebe Forest.
The landscaping looks very new.

Unless you are ready to navigate through a mini-maze of detached houses around Tsukidematsu Park, the easiest way to go Ikebe Forest is from Prefectural Road #45, aka Nakahara Street 中原街道. It runs in the north of Lalaport Yokohama. (To Lalaport Yokohama, the access map is here.) You exit from Lalaport to the north, cross a narrow residential road, and go further 100m up to a road where commuter bus services run. To left, there is a police box, and in front of you is a kind of mixture of houses and a cemetery. It’s a ground of Kan’nonji Temple 観音寺. Please cross the bus road and take a narrow road on your right to the direction of the cemetery, and turn left at the first corner. From there keep going along the road for about 400m, and you’ll meet Nakahara Street. Over there in front of you, there is a green hill which is Ikebe Forest. On your left there is a 7/11 convenience store and the road starting from the opposite side of Nakahara Street is an entrance to Ikebe Forest. There is no traffic light around the point, so please find a traffic light to the right or left to cross the road safely. Nakahara Street is an industrial road where lots of trailer trucks run busily always. Don’t risk your life trying to take a short cut.

7/11 store is over there.
The photo is taken from the entrance
to the road to Ikebe Forest.
Nakahara Street seen from the road to the Ikebe Forest

Once you enter that road leading us to Ikebe Forest, the atmosphere changes from industrial commercialism to something different. The majority of the houses are probably for the (ex-) farmers of the place who could trace their ancestry for centuries. A rule of thumb in metropolitan Tokyo region is, when we find a large house with an ample front garden, that’s a place where a family of independent farmer has established themselves for at least 300 years. The neighborhood of the road to the Ikebe Forest looks exactly like this. Since nearby Tsukidematsu Park has remains of the New Stone Age, the locals of the place may have a very long history of their family … After approx. 300m rumbling along the road from Nakahara Street, please take the first road on the right , and soon on your right, there are steps going up in the Ikebe Citizen Forest. It is a south entrance of the Forest. Oh, an important notice: there is no place to park your car here.

The entrance of the Forest from Nakahara Street
looked like this in winter.

The map of Ikebe Citizen Forest

4ha of Ikebe Citizen Forest was opened on April 1st, 2017. The place has only one road going up from the entrance near Nakahara Street to the ridge of the hill that is a start of another housing area. Along the route it has 3 open spaces with picnic benches. When I’ve been there, I had a feeling the place was really “nestled-in.” The space defined as a citizen forest is a part of larger forest that surrounds the houses of farmers. I imagine Ikebe Forest was once a backyard of at least one of those families of the place. The Ikebe Citizen Forest has roughly 3 kinds of greenery. One is a bamboo forest. The other is a mixture of coniferous and broad-leaved trees. Bamboos are Phyllostachys edulis whose cultivation was promoted during Tokugawa Shogunate period in this region of Kanagawa as material for daily tools and for bamboo shoots. The cedars of 30-40cm diameter are cleanly standing, which indicates they were planted some 70 or 80 years ago. There are lots of Quercus serrata and occasional Prunus jamasakura (mountain cherry) that often have marks of coppicing also 70 or 80 years ago. Until that time, they must have been used for firewood and materials for daily tools. The third feature of the Forest is a small plot and citrus trees. i.e., the place was for a farming family. The new citizen forest has very neat walking path, picnic benches, and trimmed grasses. I’m sure the suburbanites who recently bought their home in the area love to visit the Forest for their morning walking. It’s a light-hearted urban garden where it preserves the smell of idyllic life of farmers.

From the south entrance,
the road climbs up to Temboh Hiroba.
The slope of this area is of broad-leaved trees,
probably of 70-80 years’ old.
The forest floor is fairly well mowed.
Temboh Hiroba 展望広場(“An open space with a good view”) of 
this view to the downtown Yokohama.
From Temboh Hiroba, the road is slowly descending to …
Sorin Hiroba 疎林広場 (“An open space in sparse trees”)
which locates almost in the middle of the strolling route.
This space has citruses and small plots.
A path from Sorin Hiroba to Rinkan Hinkan Hiroba
Rinkan Hiroba 林間広場 (“An open space between woods”)
that is near the north entrance to the Forest.
Rinkan Hiroba has a notice board for
Association of Lovers of Ikebe Citizen Forest.
“Volunteers Wanted!
Every second Sunday at 9:00,
let’s meet here at Rinkan Hiroba!”
The road to the north entrance. Phew, it’s neat.

And I found a place is an apparition for a resignation of traditional farming life in Yokohama. The place happens to be spared amid relentless advance of housing developments and constructions of industrial arterial roads. For tax reasons or else, the landlords decided to open their property, inherited for centuries from the ancestors, to the public use ... I’ll return to the issue, including 2022 problem, in my later post.

If you find a problem in the Ikebe Citizen Forest, please make a contact with

Office for the Park Greeneries in the North 北部公園緑地事務所
Yokohama Municipal Government Creative Environment Policy Bureau 横浜市環境創造局
Phone: 045-311-2016 (I guess in Japanese only)

FAX: 045-316-8420 (I hope there is somebody who can read English …)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Black Flowers: an interim report of my challenge to flower charcoal花炭

The Association of Niiharu Lovers 新治市民の森愛護会 has the Charcoal Baking Club. During winter, we cook charcoal 3 times from bamboos of Niiharu. I posted my first experience in the Charcoal Making Hut of Niiharu in February and March last year. Since then, I did a bit of research and found several variations that could be applied to our kilns for bamboo charcoal. This season I experimented with one of these alternatives in a fireplace. It is an interim report of my petit project to bake “different” charcoal, called Flower Charcoal, or in Japanese Hana-zumi 花炭. I don’t know if a fresh flower can turn into charcoal … what we call flower charcoal is made of acorns, burrs for chestnuts, torus of lotus flowers, … have you got the idea? They are not so substantial as trees or bamboos, but have a solid structure somehow. At times people call bamboo charcoals as flower charcoal when they are from bamboo trunks baked to be charcoal flower bases for a tea-ceremony room. (An example of charcoal flower base can be seen here.) Such as the flower bases of bamboo charcoal, flower charcoals are normally used for interior ornaments in tearooms. Since they are pitch-black, they are perfect for the color scheme of Japanese tea ceremony.

Niiharu’s hut for charcoal kilns

In theory, any vegetation will turn into charcoal, if enough heat is given for inducing self-combustion of the subject sealed in a space sans oxygen during a sustained period of time. For full-fledged daily use like cooking and heating, charcoal made of woods from broad leaved trees is the best. The finest quality charcoal in Japan, named Bincho-tan 備長炭, is made of Quercus phillyraeoides cooked for about 8 days by craftsmen who have accumulated traditional knowledge of Japanese forest life. In Japanese tea ceremony, charcoals made of Quercus acutissima in proper size is sliced and nicely put in a fireplace for teakettle. Tea masters demand meticulously defined forma and texture of charcoal for the “best tea ceremony.” In any case, charcoals of woods require several days of cooking, or industrial kiln with computerized temperature monitoring that is out of question for Niiharu Lovers. So, our kilns are for bamboo charcoals that demands less than 24 hour of firing-up before self-combustion. Comparing with charcoals of woods, bamboo charcoals do not have much energy when it is used for cooking or heating and will turn into ashes much sooner. Though, the bamboo charcoals have many tiny holes that can capture odor molecules, which is good for air and water purification. i.e. Bamboos have a structure with lots of holes bigger than woods. So I thought, if bamboos with lots of holes can turn into charcoal much sooner than woods, material-wise the more packed the texture is, the longer it is necessary for the time of baking charcoal. If the material is more fragile than bamboos, could it mean they are less dense than bamboos? If so, can we economize the time to bake flower charcoals? The answer for this question was, it seems to me, “NO.” Well, it’ll be easy for you to know from the photos how flower charcoals look like, and how my experiment went. I show you below how I cooked flower charcoals.

1. First, the material. I gathered cones of pines, cedars, cypresses, etc. from Kanagawa’s forests and put them in a can for paint. The size of this can was 1L, and the cones occupy about ¾ of it. Please remember the amount of cones I stored in the can. This is a wrong example.

2. I then located the loosely sealed can in a campfire which we made during charcoal baking session for the kilns.

3. Very quickly, steam came out from the gap between the can and the lid.

4. I left it for a while. Lots of steam gushed out. After 30 min. or so, the color of steam turned blue. It was a sign for the beginning of self-combustion.

5. At around 40 min. point, steam stopped.

6. I then took the can out from the fire and closed the lid completely. In theory, as long as the contents had enough heat it kept on self-combusting in oxygen-less chamber.

7. The can was left outside until it cooled wholly.

8. After cool-down, I opened the lid. The contents looked like this.

9. The product. They are flower charcoal, but this photo shows several problems of this approach.

The method I took above was a standard summer-camp procedure in Japan when kids make flower charcoal in campfires. Yeah, the charcoals made in this way are still pretty. BUT,

  • Could you see some cone charcoal had a collapsed shape? That’s because I became stingy and staffed too much materials in a can. In the cooking process, the steam pressured the crowded contents too much and the tops of cones collapsed. It’s bad.

  • Please look the inner side of the lid on the left in the final photo. It is coated completely by tar. After the water and other lighter elements came out, the heavier components of cones, such as phenol and lignin, evaporated as long as there was enough heat from campfire or self-combustion. However, unless the escape route was provided when the heavier components were cooled they turned into liquid, and then solid within the can which is the most visible on the inside of the lid. That’s the problem. The tar was left not only on the lid but dripped down on the flower charcoals themselves, which make the final product less than perfect. In a more close shot, they look like

this. It may be a matter of opinion … I found a kind of greasy texture in some parts of the charcoal. It’s surely not so perfect for OM of tea-ceremony room.

The senior Niiharu Lovers suggested 2 reasons for the result. First, I closed the lid completely when the visible steam stopped emitting. That’s because I feared leaving the can with a loosely closed lid in open fire could ignite the contents easily and turn them into ashes quickly. Though, it robbed the opportunity for the molecules to evaporate into the air after coming out during the self-combustion. The cooled tar-molecules coated the surface of the charcoal. So, I should have made the holes on the lid for letting the tar vapor escape even after tight closing. Second, I terminated the heating process too early. In order to get rid of volatile elements completely by evaporation, we need to sustain self-combustion in oxygen-less environment much longer while providing the exit for the tar vapors. The suggested solution was, it would be better cooking flower charcoal in the kiln. We could place paint cans with the lid with holes on the bamboos and close the kiln completely by cray. Then, let the standard baking process for bamboo charcoal work for the flower charcoals as well to turn them into a pure carbon while maintaining their pretty form. Hmmmmmmmmm. OK. That’s the homework I can try next winter. Come to think of it, although the cones or burrs feel fragile, at the molecule level they are similar to the woods. It can take time for the chemicals they contain to evaporate totally. 40 minutes of cooking could not do the job.

Though they are pretty, aren’t they?

Actually, there is another hurdle to clear to make this project better. I found collecting the material for flower charcoal took time. Say, we can place six 3L paint cans on the bamboos in a kiln. Let the cones and burrs occupy only 50% of a can, but it still is 9L. This year I have to be more strategic to gather the material for flower charcoal ... They might be a good product to raise fund for the activity of Niiharu Lovers …

Charcoal making is a task during the dead-winter.

When I did a research for flower charcoal, I encountered with articles from the research labo of Dr. Kazuo Akagi 赤木和夫 of Ritsumeikan University 立命館大学. Prof. Akagi refines the creation of solid polymer electrolyte fuel cell by expanding the mechanism of flower charcoal making. The successful way of creating flower charcoals preserves the forma of the material and transforms them into a pure carbon. Prof. Akagi wrote the methodology can be applied to create high-powered fuel cell. Wow. I now engage in the elementary procedure for fuel cell technology, don’t I. That’s … uber-cool.

If you find a problem in Niiharu Forest, please make a contact with

Office for the Park Greeneries in the North 北部公園緑地事務所
Yokohama Municipal Government Creative Environment Policy Bureau 横浜市環境創造局
Phone: 045-311-2016 (I guess in Japanese only)
FAX: 045-316-8420 (I hope there is somebody who can read English …)

Niiharu Administrative Office / Satoyama Exchange Center 新治管理事務所・里山交流センター
Phone: 045-931-4947
Fax: 045-937-0898

Friday, March 2, 2018

On “exotics”: invasive species?

Thank you indeed for all the support you sent me since last week’s post! I’m doing my rehabilitation exercises now. A word of a person who’s done it: please do not break your bone, really.

So, I stayed in a hospital for operation on my broken wrist. i.e., I had time to read articles I piled up for quite some time. Among them, there was news from the Royal Horticultural Society about research on environment for bugs to thrive in Britain. In it, Steve Head, for the Wildlife Gardening Forum, wrote there are only 1625 “genuinely native plant species” in Britain. According to him, it’s because the British Isles were too soon separated from the Eurasian Continent after the recent Ice Age. As elsewhere, but from this level they are experiencing diminishing biodiversity. RHS is funding the research to identify the effects of imported gardening flora that could help stopping the decrease of bugs, and the other creatures who eat them, to maintain their biodiversity. The study is continuing; so far there emerges some possible findings, Head said. “Exotic” species can help insects especially when natives end their growing and flowering season, for sure. Though, the local species apparently do better to sustain the number of invertible. Probably reflecting the position of RHS in Britain, the article concluded ambivalently. They in the end says that imported exotic fauna can help increase UK’s biodiversity, and at the same time trade for native garden-worthy flowers could be promoted more … RHS also reported Britain has deer problem. The population of Reeve’s muntjac which was introduced in the early 20th century from China is exploding in the 21st century. As deer in Kanagawa, they devour the plants and damage barks. UK registers muntjac as an invasive alien species, but it seems to me they are still pondering what to do.

A very English scenery in Kew Garden.
To achieve this in Kanagawa,
we have to use tons of weed-killers,
i.e. reduce biodiversity.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm … According to Shuichi Kato, for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery of Japan, by the same measure, Japan has 5300 plants. So, from the start, our level of biodiversity is different from the UK, or Europe who are, it seems to me, leading the international dialogue about environment and trade … It would be tricky for us Japanese to talk about, say, international trade of fresh products and their effect on biodiversity in Japan. … Another article I found in my hospital bed was a reprint of a memo written in 1946 by Tomitaro Makino, the founding father of Japanese modern plant taxonomy. There, he told extinct plants in the downtown of Tokyo and Yokohama, and “exotics” in the same area where during the late 19th to the early 20th centuries he collected specimen. According to him, at the beginning of the 20th century, Tokyo’s Marunouchi 丸の内 area where now many TOPIX100 companies have their HDQ had a substantial grass land with lots of native plants and occasional “exotics” coming from somewhere on earth. Having said that, he recalled Yokohama already had notable colonies of non-native plants like Euphorbia maculate L. or Juncus bufonius L. OK. Yokohama has been the major international port of Japan since 1854. Makino’s recollection should reflect this. Makino said already in the middle of the 20th century, those places listed in the article were concreted and the native plants in his library for specimens were annihilated. And the “exotics” found in Yokohama and Tokyo some 50 years ago then were becoming common all over Japan. If adding exotics simply and peacefully to the existing 5300, the matter won’t be much problem … as RHS would expect for the UK gardens. If not, as Makino alluded, that could mean lesser biodiversity in Japan, and ultimately for the planet. Until 1854, Japan strictly closed its door to the outer world restricting the movement of goods and humans. Some 30 or so years later, sharp eyes of Dr. Makino have spotted the changes in plants. I fantasized in my hospital bed if Makino had had the same 21st century knowledge and technology, Japan could have provided him and the world a perfect ground for scientific experiment to study the effect of international trade on environment. If such things had happened, how could his research have been reflected on the international dialogue for the sustainable development?

Actually last year’s venue for
the 2017 National Urban Greenery Fair
全国都市緑化フェア was the forest where Makino spotted
lots of alien Juncus bufonius L. and the others.
The place was very near to Niiharu Citizen Forest
and the keepers of Niiharu were furious for the City
who invited commercial garden designer
from far-away Kobe
神戸 to plant lots of “exotics” next door.
“What on earth do they think when we in Niiharu are busy
digging up invasive alien plants to sustain the biodiversity here!?”
“Of course, it’s for the business of (er, XXX) Seedling Co.
who has a strong connection with the powers-that-be.”
In some way, the choice of this “beautiful” flower bed
might be fitting to this location.
The place where once the grandee of Japanese botany
collected the specimen of invasive plants was
covered almost entirely by alien flowers.
Oh, by the way,
“not-learning-from-experience” city will do the same
(but smaller scale) this spring at the same place.
People are gossiping this would be the last for this place
where the taxpayer money is siphoned to
the (above mentioned) seedling company.

For some time, I am thinking about the topic suggested by Fred Pearce in his “The New Wild.” This English suggestion certainly has a merit, especially for Britain (perhaps). Though … as a (novice) Japanese forest instructor I have reservation about applying his thinking to Japan. My first activity as a forest instructor was supposed to be guiding 11 years’ old from an elementary school of Tokyo in a forest of Yokohama. (Huh, I broke my wrist, and I could not meet these kids!) During the preparation, the teachers from the school asked us to teach them about “invasive species.” I found it very tricky. Yeah, say, Procambarus clarkia eat anything and drive native aquatic animals to extinction in Japanese streams especially near mega cities. They surely are contributing to the decrease of biodiversity in Yokohama and Kanagawa. They are almost at the top of the “Wanted” list of invasive alien species by national law and the groups of scholars. But they were brought here, or to be exact to an aquatic farm for edible frogs in Kamakura 鎌倉, in 1927 as meals for American bullfrogs. They did not ask to visit Japan. Can we teach kids “Hey, those are bad illegals to be exterminated”? Or can we confidently declare “Controlled introduction of exotic species can contribute to the enhancement of Japanese biodiversity” as Pearce or RHS may want to suggest for Britain? Procambarus clarkia in Japan is certainly the most apparent counter-evidence for the English argument. Even British bugs prefer natives to exotics for procreation, don’t they? And how about Chinese deer in Britain? … What would Makino say if he were around now? What might he suggest how to tell school kids about “exotics” in the forests of Japan?

I’ve found grey-capped green finches
when we previewed the forest
with the teachers from Tokyo.

The articles I read for this post are

Tomitaro Makino 牧野富太郎, A small reflection about the plants disappeared or multiplied around Tokyo 東京邊から消えた植物、殖えた植物等若干を述べて見る, in The Spirit of Plants: Tomitaro Makino 草木の精 牧野富太郎, National Museum of Nature and Science; Makino Botanical Garden of Kochi Prefecture; Museum of Bioresource Sciences for Nihon University, 1998.

Royal Horticultural Society. The Garden, January 2018 and February 2018.

Fred Pearce, The New Wild: why invasive species will be nature’s salvation, Beacon Press, 2015.

A caterpillar is trying to survive in a concrete jungle of Yokohama.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Emergency: Naomi broke a bone

Hi there.
Last Saturday, I joined Niiharu Lovers to thin trees, and slipped down small stream. I tried to stabilize myself on a slippery rock, and broke my right wrist …
And so, Olympians are my guide now. Like Shaun White or, Yuzuru Hanyu, I will come back to forestry very soon!
Meanwhile, it hurts, really. Please take care, all the outdoor lovers …

Friday, February 16, 2018

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: the largest Citizen Forest of Yokohama, Doshi Forest 道志村水源林

So, about silver lining after the voting incident in 2003 for Doshi 道志村 and Yokohama. In 2004, Doshi Village and the City of Yokohama established an official “Agreement regarding Friendship and Exchange 友好・交流に関する協定書 between the two, and Doshi Village became “Our Home Village for the Citizens of Yokohama 横浜市民ふるさと村.” The municipal budget of Yokohama has beefed up its grant for the welfare improvement of Doshi villagers. In 2006, Doshi Water Source Forests Fund 水のふるさと道志の森基金 was inaugurated by the Yokohama Waterworks Bureau. The fund is to solicit donations from the citizens and corporations to sustain further the exchange of people of two communities. The Bureau also sells bottled water “Hamakko Doshi the Water はまっ子どうし the Water” from Doshi River 道志川 to augment the Doshi Forests Fund. In 2014, two municipalities created a system to help each other in case a mega-natural disaster hit and the offices could not function to support the residents of each community. In 2016 Doshi Village has opened a café named Mizu Café Doshi 水カフェどうし in Yokohama’s downtown. The place is to introduce the village and numerous products from Doshi including fresh watercress harvested daily. Now the two municipalities jointly hold PR events about Doshi Water Source Forests year round. Yokohama Board of Education makes special programs for grade schoolers to learn Yokohama’s waterworks and the role of Doshi Village. When the people of Yokohama can show an ID mentioning our residency in Yokohama, Doshi Village offers numerous “Home Village” discounts for tourism attractions, such as hotels, meals, spas, sports facilities, etc. etc. And, the scheme introduced forest volunteers to help forestry in Doshi Village.

After the Agreement was signed
the City of Yokohama is actively involved with
utilization of woods produced in Doshi Village.
This is the decorative wall for Asahi Ward Office of Yokohama,
using the cedars of Doshi forests.
Water Café Doshi.
They serve beverages using Hamakko Doshi Water,
and hot meals with veggies and meats from Doshi.
There we can also purchase veggies,
smoked trout, jam, wood crafts, etc. of Doshi.
The place also provides tourism information.
Or, if you plan to start business or move in Doshi Village,
the café connects you with the village office
that can help you for paper works.
Matsubara Shopping Street 興福寺松原商店街where the café operates.
It is really in downtown Yokohama.

The land owned by Yokohama in Doshi is surrounding privately owned forests nearer to human settlement. These two areas form the system of water source that creates the amazing Doshi River 道志川. If private forests become a sorry state, even if Yokohama’s forests are healthy (which is unlikely; you know, the land is continuous), Doshi River cannot provide good water. Many of the private forests are afforested area whose coniferous trees require constant human engagement. Though, landlords alone cannot handle the works anymore. As Doshi Village faces aging and decreasing population, man-power to sustain the forests is in short supply. So, the City of Yokohama invites citizen volunteers who can help such grandpas and grandmas of Doshi for thinning and weeding. The City of Yokohama gives generous grants to forest volunteer organizations in Yokohama who can go to Doshi Village at least twice a year to do forestry. Moreover, in 2008 the city helped to establish the Association of Forest Volunteers for Doshi Water Source Forests 道志水源林ボランティアの会. The group is now engaging in forestry works in Doshi Village about 10 times a year. All the funding for the volunteer forestry comes from the Water Source Forests Fund together with a heavy involvement of Administration Office for Doshi Water Source Forests 水源林管理所. The policy is an amalgam of welfare measures for Doshi pensioners and water management projects, all funded by the City of Yokohama.

A part of forests where volunteers operate
had a colony of baby Lindera umbellate.They produce very fragrant oil.
It’s rare to find it in forests near population centers.
This was a kind of testimony about the environment of Doshi forests.

Actually, the Association for Niiharu Lovers 新治市民の森愛護会 is receiving the funding yearly. So, last fall I joined Niiharru Lovers’ activities in Doshi Village, paid completely by the Water Bureau of Yokohama. That was a gorgeous late summer vacation! We’ve been there by cars drove by the members of Lovers, and entered one of those privately owned forests of Doshi. We did thinning for 2 days with chainsaws to cut roughly 100 cedars of about 30 years’ olds. We stayed in an old traditional inn which was a house of a village chief decades ago, enjoyed open-air spa in a forest, and had delicious meals … sukiyaki with Koshu beef 甲州牛, BBQed freshly caught trout from Doshi River, tempura of mountain vegetables, etc. etc. I was knocked out, and on a sort of “the spur of the moment,” became a member of Association of Forest Volunteers for Doshi Water Source Forests.

Niiharu Lovers are ready for action in Doshi forest.
Lunch. I was a particular partisan for omelet.
Niiharu volunteers are in action.
Hikari-so Inn 光荘 where we stayed.
The house is equipped with a traditional Japanese hearth,
called Irori
The forest floor is receiving sun light after our work!

The Association goes to Doshi Village from April to October by charter buses hired by the Water Bureau of Yokohama, and engages in forestry works mainly by non-powered tools, like handsaws and sickles. In case you consider joining volunteer works for Doshi Water Source Forests of Yokohama, you can send an email to the Association from here. The forestry activities are basically for members only, but the Association allows visitors to try it once. RSVP. Any activity with the Association is free, including transportation to the Village. (Remember? It costs about USD 100 for a return ticket.) On the activity day, you have to come to the north exit of Kan’nai Station 関内駅 by yourself to catch the chartered bus, don the attire for forestry, and bring your lunch + water + snacks. I could slip in myself for one of their last activities of 2017, sweated in thinning within a clean and calm autumn air of Doshi Village, and enjoyed shopping for mountain products at their main shopping venue. … After this fun in Doshi, I did a little study whose result was reported during the last several posts of this blog … So, here I confess. Though I told you the story like I have known the relationship with Doshi Village and Yokohama for years, I did not. I was one of those city rats skeptically hearing the requests from the people of Doshi to be a part of the city of Yokohama. … Now, when the new fiscal year begins in coming spring, I will visit Doshi Village regularly as a forest volunteer. I know I’m a minuscule in front the Doshi Water Source Forest, but I think my saw-works would be better than nothing for the people of Doshi and the water for our community. 2873ha Doshi Water Source Forest is the largest Citizen Forest of Yokohama.

Association of Forest Volunteers for Doshi Water Source Forests
can use the facilities Yokohama’s Water Bureau has
in Doshi Village.
Cut somewhere here.
Oh, by the way, Japanese way is conventional face notch.

Doshi Michino-eki Shopping Lodge 道の駅どうし.
Michino-eki is roadside stations providing
resting places and shopping opportunities for drivers.
It’s a part of rural development project funded by
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport.

… A postscript: last November, I have completed the course for becoming Kanagawa Forest Instructor, and received from the Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture a letter of appointment to a forest instructor. Now one of my missions is to let the people like me know Doshi Village has sacrificed so much for us in the city, really.

Doshi Village Office 道志村役場

6181-1 Doshi Village, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi, 402-0209
402-0209 山梨県南都留郡道志村6181-1

Phone: 0554-52-2111
FAX: 0554-52-2572