The Woodland Oasis: An Island of Tranquility in Tokyo’s Suburbs (Photos)

Culture Lifestyle

Yaho no Jōyama is a small area of woodland in Kunitachi, on the outskirts of the Tokyo metropolis. Just steps away from a residential area and busy train lines lies a self-contained oasis of tranquility and unspoiled nature.

Think of Tokyo, and the first images that come to mind are likely to be of skyscrapers, blazing neon, and crowds of commuters packed onto busy rush-hour trains. People are often surprised to learn that the suburbs of Tokyo are quite rich in nature. I live in the Kunitachi area of the capital, about an hour from the center by train. The small area of woodland portrayed in these pictures is a short walk away from my home.

Located next to a residential area, the woodland park is called Yaho no Jōyama. Jōyama means “castle hill” in Japanese, and in the past a samurai mansion used to stand on the site. The area is now designated as protected land. With a perimeter of just 300 meters, this small piece of woodland can be covered on foot in little more than five minutes. But despite its size, the area contains an astonishing abundance of plant and animal life.

I first fell under the spell of this small island of natural tranquility seven years ago. I have been taking pictures of it ever since.

(Photographs and text by Ōhashi Hiroshi)

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