Friday, June 3, 2016

Off the road of Princess Mononoke: Kanazawa Citizen Forest 金沢市民の森, Redoux

Now, about Kanazawa Citizen Forest. Till the end of last March, the inside of the forest was off-limit due to the construction of Metropolitan Intercity ExpressWay (Ken-o-do 圏央道). For a brief period of time for about 3 weeks in last April, the closed area was opened. Do you remember we have encountered the opened gate at H2 to the west leading us to H1 point? I thought we can use that route for some time. Wrong. In May, that opening was already closed, but another way directly to Kiyoto Plaza 清戸の広場 to H1 and to Omaru-yama Mt. 大丸山 via Hyotan Pond ひょうたん池 is now open. So, almost an entire trekking network within Kanazawa Forest is still accessible. According to the website for Ken-o-do, the construction work around the area has just begun in honest so that I suspect the gates could be closed/open according to the progress of the building. Having said that, it is worthwhile to dig in the center of the Forest. The sound of heavy machinery beyond the trees was certainly a fly in the ointment. However, come to think of it, once the Express Way is complete, the exit of Kamariya Tunnel is around H4 which connects to Kamariya JCT of Yoko-Yoko Road. Sooner or later, we will be welcomed by the thunderous noise of cars there. This year could be the most silent time to visit Kanazawa Forest … If you plan to go there, hurry up! 

It was open this April at H2 to H1.
But now it’s closed …

To enter the inside of Kanazawa Forest (map here), we can access either from the West, i.e from the Beetles Trail, or from the East, i.e. at the corner of Kanazawa Zoo. From Segami Forest on the Beetles Trail, turn left at A9, and for about less than 10 minuets’ walk, we reach to Kiyoto Plaza (H3). From Kiyoto Plaza to H4 point, I would say the road is currently not so much of nature trekking, but the access to a construction site.  The slope is cleared for about 3m wide. In the middle of a vacant space there are stairs rapidly going down to H4. Both sides of the road is neatly fenced with slick black wire mesh we can find in parks in downtown … well, OK, I guess it is a kind of preventive measure to block human access to the motorway once the Ken-o-do is open. By then, the vegetation will return and the place becomes more appropriate as scenery of Citizen Forest.

Kiyoto Plaza
Fenced Road
We can have a nice view of Yoko-Yoko Road
and mountains of Miura Peninsula between H3 and H4.
The bridge over Yoko-Yoko Road is
the pedestrian overpass
釜利谷陸橋 for
Kamakura Ten’en in Rokkoku Toge Hiking Trail.
FYI, the steepness of the stair

H4 is … an industrial construction site that can go with the secret HDQ of Spectre against 007. I think there are two ways to walk in H4 site: in a hurry to pass it ASAP, or enjoy the strangely pristine 21st Century construction place. If you choose the latter approach, I recommend you to come to H4 from Kanazawa Zoo. First, go to Nonohana-kan Café and Petit-museum from Keikyu Kanazawa BunkoStation. I like an access from the Natsuyama Gate of Kanazawa Nature Park which is the source of Miyagawa River: it’s more fun to walk in the park from Natsuyama Gate than riding a bus in a residential area to the Zoo gate. From Nonohana-kan, simply dive into the Fern Valley as we did the other day for Rokkokutoge-Trail, go to the other end to meet Yoko-Yoko Road, and find G12 point where the gate on the right is closed as of May 2016. To the left is Rokkokutoge Hiking Trail, and the third way ahead is very work-in-progress road that let us cross the Yoko-Yoko Road to the center of Kanazawa Forest. It industrially enforces the direction … No-Diversion-Allowed kind of route with solid concrete. After walking beneath the Yoko-Yoko Road, at H4, we can see in front of us probably a mouth of Kamariya Tunnel of Metropolitan Intercity Express Way. A huge artificially planted wall spreads over the slope of Kanazawa Forest … We enter an inorganic valley of concrete with 2 solid tunnels for pedestrians (and small cars). To the right connects with Kiyoto Plaza. Ahead is a longer tunnel that runs with a large concreate ditch with abundant water … and in May we can hear a chorus of frogs together with the sound of bulldozers, coming from somewhere beyond the tunnel. ??????

The other day, the ecologist of the City
was doing a field research near Natsuyama Gate.
They were surveying the distribution of neocaridina,
which is defined by Japanese government
as an invasive species that overrun native amano shrimp.The leader of the team told me they could be introduced
by irresponsible recreational fishermen
who discarded store-bought neocaridina here.
Ahead from G12 to the construction site
This way
When we come from Kiyoto Plaza, we reach here.
the mouth of the future Kamariya Tunnel
Another tunnel for us …
it’ an industrial version of adventure of Alice in Wonderland.
A ditch with the distant voices of frogs …

As it is a compulsory one way, we just simply climb along the permitted access route for about 5 minutes, and suddenly a pond nestled in a rich forest green welcomes us. We have reached the eastern edge of Hyotan Pond, and I realized the chorus came from here. Along the Pond, there is a road of wooden decks first straight to the west, then turn to south. According to the homepage of Ken-o-do, Kamariya Tunnel starts somewhere underneath the Kamitobashi Traffic Light in the west of Kanazawa Forest, goes straight to the East and comes out around H4. It means beneath the point the wooden-deck road changes direction there will be a huge motorway tunnel connecting to Yoko-Yoko Road. I simply wonder how the construction manages the water above … Hyotan Pond is really a rich pond and wetland surrounded by typically Miura Peninsula deadpan cliff with water seeping out everywhere. If the environmental assessment concluded minimum impact of huge construction, I think it is indeed a triumph of the 21st century technology. The wetland of Hyotan Pond is surrounded by deep temperate broad-leaved forests with many kinds of ferns and dense undergrowth. The space is calm, and if you can ignore the distant sound of construction vehicles, it is a meditatively silent place. I simply mesmerized.

The end of the wooden decks is the beginning of a steep climbing to Omaruyama Mt. Probably thanks to the long closure of the route, the road is not so hard-pressed as the other networks in the South Forest of Yokohama. It is a pleasant walk. Despite of the buzzing noise of cars from Yoko-Yoko Road, the atmosphere is quiet, and the plants along the road are very vigorous. I was attracted so many scenery below and above, and soon arrived at the familiar top of Omaruyama Mt. It was a fun walk, really. I loved it. I honestly hope the trekking road inside the Kanazawa Forest preserves its charm even after the opening of Metropolitan Intercity Express Way.

Very large polygonatum odoratum
I think it is arisaema yamatense.

Scutellaria brachyspica
The road from Hyotan Pond at the exit to Omaruyama Mt.
Cremastra appendiculata

Omaruyama Mt.

If you find a problem in the Forest, 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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