White – vol.1 –

- Step into the forest world that remains the Ice Age memories -

I had been slowly climbing up a hill covered in mist.
I have heard there are Water Source in Forest – Japanese beech of virgin forest – on the top of the hill so that I desired strongly to visit there.

In the middle of the island of Shikoku where has horizontally long landscape, the mountain range extends sideways like a spine, and several mountains are overlapped. On the south side of Shikoku with your back against the mountains, Kochi Prefecture, where spread horizontally long, is located, and most of it is covered in a deep forest except for the area along the sea. Abundant vegetation and soil create two clear streams the Shimanto River and the Niyodo River. The Niyodo River color of the water is blue and called “Niyodo blue.” The fantastic and beautiful water of the scenery spread out. And it has its very high transparency, and its water quality is the best in the domestic.

I wonder why the water is so blue and crystal clear. The reason for this is that the forest soil, which is the water source, is made of calcareous dissolved readily in water. Microscopic minerals are included in the water, and it shines blue when the light hits. As if the water is a jewel. I strongly desired to see the forest that generates beautiful blue water with my eyes.

There is a plateau area called Shikoku Karst at the prefecture border between Ehime and Kochi about 25 km from east to west. It is located at an altitude of 1000-1500m and made of white limestone soil. Japanese beech of virgin forest exists in its plateau area. Approximately 20,000 years ago, during the last period of the Ice Age, the virgin forest of Japanese beech had lived on open plains in Shikoku. Then, trees that grow in a cooler climate such as beech and white birch are disappeared from open fields at the end of the Ice age. These trees left only at high altitudes even now. It is such a mysterious story that the water flowing from the virgin forest of beech that left the memory of the ice age is the source of beautiful blue water.

The plateau is the grazing land as well. You can walk on the road slowly, wrapped in fog, while enjoying the view that cows leisurely eat grass. Eventually, the mist and the sky’s border disappeared, and you would realize that you stand in the clouds. The place is the closest to the sky. When you immerse yourself in the pure white wrapped in the mist, you start losing the sense of the time.

Finally, you will reach the entrance to the forest.
Step into the forest world that remains the Ice Age memories –

  • PhotosYoshiyuki Mori
  • WordsAtsuko Ogawa
  • DesignNoriaki Hosaka
  • Translation Mina Ishikawa