Kumano Shrine Forest
An ancient forest restoring paths to personal happiness.
After reading Chinju no mori, we invited Shinichi Meguro, chief researcher of IGES-JISE (Japanese Center for International Studies in Ecology) to research the forest that surrounds our facilities and found it had been an ancient woodland 9,000 years ago.
However, in the 20th century, the area around the forest was designated a quasi-industrial zone and buildings sprouted up, which led to the forest drying up. An asphalt path was made in the woods by scraping away leaf mold—which is said to accumulate only one centimeter in a century—from the forest floor. We plan to restore this to its original state.
Through this tree planting experience, we hope to convey the following message to the children: each forest has a different vegetation that suits it best. To understand the vegetation, you have to understand the local geography and history. Likewise, there are different kinds of happiness for every person. In order to find that, you must understand your family better.
“I learned from Akira Miyawaki’s book that trees must be genuine, i.e. native, to fit the vegetation of the area and fully circulate with nature and the future. As an educator at a preschool, I know humans must be genuine and live in harmony with nature as well.”
— Akihiko Ishikawa, Chief Priest of Shiroyama Kumano Shrine