Friday, September 4, 2015

Developing: Kawawa Citizen Forest 川和市民の森

I mentioned in my first post that there are 42 Citizen Forests in Yokohama. True, but 7 of them are not yet open for the public, as of September 2015. For the remaining 35 Forests, 7 of them have opened in the last 3 years. I.e. roughly 30% of the Yokohama Citizen Forests are VERY new. Kawawa Citizen Forest 川和市民の森 is one of those babies. It opened its “gate” in April 2014. As such, 4 ha Kawawa Forest does not have an official web-site or a link to the map. Though, it seems to me the Forest will be a part of a nice half-day walking destination within few years. It is developing.

Kawawa Citizen Forest is the only Citizen Forest in Tsuzuki Ward 都筑区 currently. It’s located near Kawawa Station of Yokohama Municipal Subway Green Line. We leave the station from the South Exit by going down the steps. Then, the forest is just over there, in less than 10 minutes’ walk from the station. From this direction, the Forest is beyond a farm land and a cemetery. There is a tombstone with the date of the 1860s. The village around here was relatively new. Tsuzuki Ward itself is full of new towns, including Kohoku New Town 港北ニュータウン, one of the mega-residential developments in metropolitan Tokyo, where young families are building their lives. On the other hand, the Ward has the largest agricultural population in Yokohama. So, it’s a bit strange that Kawawa Forest is the only Citizen Forest in Tsuzuki. Actually, Tsuzuki Ward is preparing for another Citizen Forest, Ikebe Citizen Forest 池辺市民の森, in the southwest of Kwawawa Forest. I suspect the City is waiting for Ikebe Forest to be ready before providing us official internet links and the like to Kawawa Forest. Although such things are new around Kawawa Forest, between Kawawa and Ikebe Forests, there is pre-historic remains that is called Kagahara Remains 加賀原遺跡 in Tsukidematsu Park 月出松公園 (in front of the Yokohama Lab of KYOCERA). According to the Board of Education of Yokohama, the remains could date back to 2500 BC. People are living in the area for millennia. When Ikebe Forest is open, a walk for Kawawa Forest, Tsukidematsu Park, and Ikebe Forest would be a fun. Things are developing now. 

Going down this steps from the Station,
then, the Kawawa Forest is over there on the right
 (when facing to the direction of
Tsuzuki Fureai no Oka Station of the Subway).
Vegetable fields and a cemetery in front of the Forest
Tsukidematsu Park.
Excavation was done in 1977,
and the remains are now returned underground.
So, at the moment, the only map of Kawawa Forest I can provide for you is this one.

Map of Kawawa Forest
As it’s a new Citizen Forest, everything in the forest is new, including small trees planted probably quite recently. The road is simple and gentle for our knees to walk. The Forest is a hill of 4 ha. At the top, there is an open place surrounded by bamboos and large sawtooth oaks. The top of the hill also has a picnic table. So the trekking road of Kawawa Forest is first climb up to the open space, and then go down to the foot of the hill. In the middle of the road on the side of the City Subway station, there is a wooden deck where in a fine day we can see Tanzawa Mountains and Mt. Fuji.

Up from the entrance, Kawawa Station side

Bamboos and oaks,
a typical combo in Kawawa Forest
Everything is new here.
Though, trees are high.
When I go there, Mt. Fuji was under the cloud.
At the top of the hill
Basically, Kawawa area is comprised of farm lands and residential areas so that the Forest itself is very quiet and calm. I found many sawtooth oaks and their green acorns in August. I guess, before the area provided lots of foods for animals, humans inclusive. Japanese before the Emperor family declared the dominance in the 5th century ate lots of acorns, along with newly introduced rice … Have you heard that this summer City of Sagamihara, neighbor of Yokohama, had a problem of bears coming to town to feed themselves out of trash bins? 

If you find a problem in the Park, please make a contact with

Office for the Park Greeneries in the North 北部公園緑地事務所
Yokohama Municipal Government Creative Environment Policy Bureau 横浜市環境創造局
Phone: 045-311-2016 (I guess in Japanese only)
FAX: 045-316-8420 (I hope there is somebody who can read English …)

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