Views of Nature and Tourism
Yakushima, the island located in the south of Japan was designated a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 1993. And also its virgin forest is famous for where the movie “Princess Mononoke” took place. Every year, many travelers from all over the world are coming to enjoy its great nature. We focus on the culture and people living on this wonderful island and deliver it by videos.
―”There is an on-season and an off-season on Yakushima. However, if you look at it from the perspective of experiencing its biological diversity, there is really no off-season. What I mean is that in winter, there is the way of winter wildlife. In summer, there is the way of summer life. Actually, I’ve been to Yakushima in winter myself and it was really fascinating. ” -Kenichiro Mogi
Neuroscientist Kenichiro Mogi talks about the enchantment of Yakushima
Presented by Yakushima Broadcasting Station
Experiencing Yakushima’s Biological Diversity
There is an on-season and an off-season on Yakushima. However, if you look at it from the perspective of experiencing its biological diversity, there is really no off-season.
What I mean is that in winter, there is the way of winter wildlife. In summer, there is the way of summer life. So, coming in winter is fascinating too. Actually, I’ve been to Yakushima in winter myself and it was really fascinating.
Yakushima’s problem on the tourism
Being a natural world heritage site, I am a little worried if the number of tourist increases too rapidly. For example, on the plane to Yakushima I saw many middle-aged and elderly passengers who looked like part of the hiking fad, and I assumed that they were all probably going to the Jomonsugi (giant cedar tree) area. I feel that this kind of tourism, with an overconcentration of people in one area, is not necessarily good for Yakushima.
Of course we should increase volume, but I think an extremely important mission for Yakushima is to improve quality along with volume. Improving this quality is about culture.
Writing about the natural world
I studied overseas in the UK, and the UK was home to Charles Darwin, who is truly a leading name in science and respected by us scientists, and the “The Origin of Species”
Of course, this extremely important book explains how creatures coexist together in nature and how species separate into new species steadily increasing the number of species through this coexistence.
This kind of natural environment is found around the village of Down where Darwin lived. Throughout his life, Darwin never became a university professor.
But at a place called Down House, he kept a greenhouse and a garden, took walks nearby to while observing the plants and animals, and wrote “The Origin of the Species”.
In the UK, there was Darwin, and now the Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has also written about various aspects of living things. With people like these, there’s a culture in the UK for writing about the natural world. Additionally, the BBC is also excellent at making nature programs.
This kind of culture is alive in the UK.
Eco-tourism learning from Costa Rica
If for example, a person from this kind of culture goes to a place like Costa Rica, a place I have visited, then they, like myself, want to go to the tree trunks in the jungle and then they want to go to the tree canopies. It’s not like going to the mountains and just looking out of habit. Do you understand this feeling? People who understand this are nature lovers.
We don’t want to just walk in the forest, but we want to see things like the treetops. This is why places like Costa Rica are enthusiastically doing this kind of tourism and have facilities like bridges to walk through the canopy of the treetops.
This kind of tourism is becoming huge in Costa Rica. I’m not necessarily saying that it’s bad for elderly men and women to come just to see the Jomonsugi (giant cedar trees). Tourism based on indulging in one particular attraction is different to that in Costa Rica.
Just shining the light on the Jomonsugi is inadequate from a cultural perspective. Do you understand my thinking? Costa Rica has the kind of eco-tourism where people can enjoy the whole of the natural environment there, and this is due to culture.
I firmly believe we should do the same in Yakushima too.
If we raise the educational value by focusing on our diversity and ecology, and instead of just having these as words as a slogan, actually do as they do in the UK, or like they do with eco-tourism in Costa Rica, As we have become advocates of nature, people will want to go to Yakushima to experience this, and I believe that the popularity of Yakushima will become similar to that of the Koshien (Japan’s most famous and sacred baseball stadium).