Beech is a symbol of Daisen, along with natural treasure Japanese Yew plants. This beech forest is said to be the biggest in Japan, and it is very popular with tourists. Fresh greenery in the Spring, foliage in Autumn and snow in the Winter. There are various activities in each of the seasons that appeal to many. This beech forest has a long history, and so do the people who protect it.
Mr. Nakashima saw how some people climbing Daisen had bad manners and littered their garbage, and became worried that the mountain would die if this continued. He spoke to the advisors of mountaineering clubs throughout the prefecture, leading to a new rule “Take home any garbage from Daisen” being established, in addition to activities being carried out to increase awareness. The organization that was created to facilitate these activities was the “Daisen Nature Protection Group”.
Unfortunately, from 1955, as a result of Daisen becoming a tourist destination, the construction of golf courses and holiday homes increased, leading to parts of the beech forest being cut down. These activities reached their peak in 1965, and the “Daisen Nature Protection Group” was active in protesting with petitions and activities to spread awareness.
Mr. Nakashima said that “We asked people if they thought it was right to destroy the beech forest. We thought Daisen needed to maintain a good balance of tourist facilities and nature to maintain its appeal.”
The beech forest is home to many birds and insects. The beech forest is their mother. Everyone living around Daisen says that “it’s all thanks to Daisen and the beech forest”.
“In Spring, the beech trees begin to sprout, and if you put your ear on the stem of the tree, you’ll hear running water. Beech trees are very good at keeping water. Both the stem and roots take in a lot of water. This is the reason that we can enjoy delicious water from Daisen all year round. No matter how much rain falls, or how many years pass, the water always flows slowly. Looking back, I really think it was essential that we did those protests.”
Mr. Nakashima says that he wants people not to forget that the rich water we have does not just appear from nature, that the beech protects us and that we need to protect it in return. We must not forget this to ensure that we can enjoy the blessings of beautiful Daisen for many years to come.