Friday, September 18, 2015

Rhinoceros Beetle! Nakada-Miyanodai Citizen Forest 中田宮の台市民の森

Whatever people say, this is the news: this summer, I’ve met a Japanese rhinoceros beetle (aka Kabutomushi かぶと虫) in Nakada-Miyanodai Forest! They were the superstar of every summer when we were in elementary school. It was a ritual of the battle of will between the noble insects and greedy kids during long summer vacation. Of course the top secret was the name of the forest we could find rhinoceros beetles. … And nowadays, kids in Yokohama ask their parents in shopping malls if they can check pet shops if they find rhinoceros beetle there … TRAVESTY! I proudly declare I’ve met your highness strolling majestically within the quiet Yokohama Citizen Forest this summer. Proof: please see the photo above. This is THE legitimate way to be allowed an audience of our king! J

Actually, Nakada-Miyanodai Forest is a new and very small Citizen Forest, opened in the summer of 2012. It is a toddler Citizen Forest of 1.3 ha whose circumference is only 350 m. There is no internet homepage or links to official map for the Forest. The nearest railway stations of the Forest are Yayoidai Station 弥生台駅 of Sotetsu Line or Nakada Station 中田駅 of Yokohama Subway Blue Line. From either station, the key to find the way to the Forest is heading to ancient Goryo Shrine (五霊神社 “Nakada no Goryo-sama”) of roughly 1000 years of history. From Nakada Station, it is something of climbing up north within the residential area and the Forest is over there next to the Shrine. As this tiny Forest does not have toilet, using the toilet in the Shrine (next to Boy Scout’s Office) could be a nice move. From Yayoidai Station, we first climb up the slope and do a bit of walking along a local ridge way where in a fine day we can see large Mt. Ohyama 大山 and Mt. Fuji on the right. The distance to the Forest is about the same from Nakada Station or Yayoidai Station. Here is the Forest’s map.

To Goryo Shrine, exit
from the Southwest corner of this map
and take the left road.
Goryo Shrine
Carps in Goryo Shrine
Toiletin Goryo Shrine

As I love open views, here I report you the way from Yayoidai Station to the Forest. We leave the station from the south exit where bus stops are. Take the bus road in front of the station. Go past Mos Burger, and the venerable local establishment, Coffee-en Café 珈琲園 (where locals and expats have regular English-speaking party) on the left to meet Yayoidai-Iriguchi traffic light 弥生台駅入口信号. Turn left and walk a bit to meet Yayoidai Post Office, Bakery La Pignon on the left, and Kokusaishinzen General Hospital 国際親善病院 on the right. Cross the bus road at the end of main Hospital entrance where Kokusaishinzen-Sogo-Byoin-mae 国際親善病院前 traffic light is, and climb up the hill along the hospital campus. At the end of the campus is Nakada-kita traffic light 中田北信号. Turn right there to the direction of parking lots for the Hospital. Climb up a bit more, and at Nakada-cho-Miyanodai traffic light 中田町宮の台信号, we reach to the ridge way. If it’s a fine day, huge Mt Fuji is in front of you.   

In front of the South Exit of the Yayoidai Station
Bakery La Pignon
The crossing
at Kokusaishinzen-Sogo-Byoin-mae traffic light
Nakada-cho-Miyanodai traffic light

Turn left at Nakada-cho-Miyanodai traffic light, and enjoy a bit of panorama beyond the farm land. Soon we’ll see Miyanodai Missionary Kindergarten 宮の台幼稚園 along the ridge way. Take the narrow road at the end of the Kindergarten on the right. Now, simply follow the road in front of you, past the first small crossroad within the ordinary residential area, After 10 houses or so on the left, there is a tiny road with its end as the entrance to Nakada-Miyanodai Citizen Forest.

Ordinary residential area to the Forest
An entrance to the Forest

The Forest is designed like a garden. About a meter or so clearing surrounds the trees of broadleaves in the middle. The clearing is a circular road where we can find benches. The road inside the forest runs very slightly up-and-down. Having said that, the forest is nearly flat that gives us more impression of “garden.” The vegetation is very rich, and the volunteers are busy clearing and planting in the forest. This year they were doing the maintenance every Thursday morning (9:00-11:00), though they are taking summer vacation for July to September. (For volunteering enquiry in this Forest, please call city’s Office for the Park Greeneries in the South; phone number below.) The entire trekking road of the forest is covered by mulch of wood chips that gives us very gentle touch for our knees. All in all, its tiny size gives us a homely feeling. It seems to me at least one cat is making this place as her territory. And, yes, rhinoceros beetles, stag beetles, butterflies …

The outer road of the Forest
Just outside of the Southwest exit
from the outer road is another clearing.
When I’ve been there
I could see Mt. Ohyama.
Mt. Fuji was under the clouds …
Road within the forest

At the end of the summer, the grounds of Nakada-Miyanodai Forest started to be covered by acorns. Cluster Amaryllis began blossoming. Autumn equinox is just around the corner.

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

Office for the Park Greeneries in the South 南部公園緑地事務所
Yokohama Municipal Government Creative Environment Policy Bureau 横浜市環境創造局
Phone: 045-831-8484 (I guess in Japanese only)
FAX: 045-831-9389 (I hope there is somebody who can read English …)

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