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Wind and Rain: Three Ancient Trees in Typhoon SeasonTakahashi Hiroshi

Autumn brings stunning shades of foliage. But it is also the bearer of typhoons, those age-old and ruthless scourges of the forest. Ancient trees in regions where storms frequently pass have over the centuries girded themselves against the tempests by sending their roots out broad and deep and strengthening their limbs against the wind and rain. In our ongoing series on old-growth trees, we visit three venerable specimens that have been shaped by typhoons.

Islands Apart: Three Ancient Woodland “Castaways”Takahashi Hiroshi

Japan’s far-flung islands are home to an impressive number of kyoju, or old-growth trees. Like the famed Jōmon Sugi on Yakushima, these sentinels of the forest have flourished in the warm climate and fresh ocean air, spreading root and limb over centuries to become burly giants. Below we visit three of these ancient titans.

Deepening Summer: Ancient Trees in the Season of HeatTakahashi Hiroshi

As the summer sun beats down, the broad crowns of Japan’s old-growth trees cast long, cooling shadows across the forest floor. The shade of kyoju offer a welcome respite from the season’s heat, soothing the body and spirit. Below we visit three woodland titans during the peak of summertime.

Early Summer Dew: Three Ancient Trees in the Season of RainTakahashi Hiroshi

In our ongoing series on Japanese old-growth trees, naturalist Takahashi Hiroshi visits three kyoju at the height of the rainy season. Tsuyu is an important time for these ancient plants, bringing respite after spring’s exacting renewal and nurturing rainfall ahead of the heat of summer.

Spring Immemorial: Ancient Trees in a New Season of GreenTakahashi Hiroshi

As the pale pink hues of cherry blossom season pass, spring deepens as wooded areas come alive with newly sprouted foliage. In a timeless ritual, ancient kyoju—Japan’s venerable old-growth trees—return to life, adorning their aged limbs in youthful coats of leaves. Standing beneath these giants, one is filled with eagerness for the coming days and months.

Shintō’s Sacred Forests and Japanese EnvironmentalismToya Manabu

Toya Manabu explores the historical and spiritual connections between Shintō shrines, the sacred forests that surround them, and environmentalism in Japan.

Lessons from the Bees: The Rooftop Hives of Central Tokyo

In 2006, the Ginza Honey Bee Project set up hives on the top of a multistory building in central Tokyo. A decade on, the project is a regular supplier of honey to local businesses and continues to provide food for thought on the relationship between the urban and natural environments.

Composite Materials: Building the Next Generation of Passenger Aircraft

JAXA is Japan’s leading research institute in the fields of space and aviation technology. The cutting-edge technology developed for use in aircraft application promises to unlock new potential in a wide variety of fields.

A New Brand for Japan

During his time as administrative vice-minister for the environment, Kobayashi Hikaru was instrumental in putting together the Kyoto Protocol and other important environmental white papers. Kobayashi shares his ideas on Japan’s post–March 11 future and introduces us to his own specially designed “eco-house.”

Cooking Up a Do-It-Yourself Lifestyle

Uotsuka Jinnosuke, an expert on food culture, has for many years espoused in books and lectures the virtues of living a waste-free life. His approach to daily life is a way of protesting the overconsumption that characterizes contemporary Japanese life, raising the question of what true affluence means.

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