Friday, December 30, 2016

A Happy New Year from Japan: O-harae ritual in Samukawa Shrine 寒川神社大祓

Thanks to an accident of nature, Japan is a country of forests as long as people remember. So, probably it is natural Japanese indigenous religion incorporates forests as an important thing. Do you remember last month I posted about a sweet spring in Tanzawa, called Gomayashiki Spring 護摩屋敷の水? That place became for anybody to collect water only in the 1970s, although it was known as such by aficionados for millennia. During its time of obscurity, the main beneficiary of sweet water was men (oh, yeah) of religion for Buddhism and Shintoism. They enter into the deep forest to meditate at the place which was/is an important ritual with the forest for their denomination … and had a very good cup of tea. Any well-respected Shintoism shrine must have a good “forest” even if it is something of bonsai trees, like Masakado-zuka 将門塚 next to the old HDQ of Mitsui Co. in Otemachi 大手町, Tokyo. I guess it’s definitely VERY Japanese … No forest around Vatican or Masjid al-Haram, is there? The temples of Buddhism and Hinduism in the other country sometimes are in the forest, but it seems to me they happen to be surrounded by trees now, whereas before they were built in the middle of an important city made of stones. So, when you want to see how completely manicured forest can be like in Japan, the easiest way would be to visit an old, large, well-respected Shintoism shrine. The New Year holiday season is a good time to do that as there are lots of rituals and festivals taken place in shrines.

Gomayashiki Spring for anybody to collect water
Masakado-no-Kubi-Zuka 将門の首塚,
in really the center of Tokyo,
surrounded by skyscrapers

Er, I know it was an important point when Emperor Hirohito was a candidate for defendant during Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals … Emperor, Shintoism, and ultra-nationalism in Japan … in any case, it is a historical fact the placement of Shintoism shrine was all the important political issue especially during the 11th – 12th centuries in Japan. The government of Imperial Family in Kyoto utilized local animistic belief to control provincial politics. They chose the most popular shrine as “Ichino-miya 一宮“, i.e. the First Shrine, in each prefecture as a spiritual part of Emperor him/herself where the governor, dispatched or designated by the Kyoto Government, must have worshiped with at most respect. During the millennium, some shrines went irrecoverable decline with the ever-diminishing real power of Kyoto … These days, there are several Ichino-miyas which do not have a full-time caretaker … While the others still go strong after all of these years. Kanagawa Prefecture is made of a part of former Musashi-no-kuni 武蔵国 (Kawasaki and a part of Yokohama) and Sagami-no-kuni 相模国 (the rest of Kanagawa). We have Ichino-miya of Sagami-no-kuni whose name is SamukawaShrine 寒川神社. Our Samukawa Shrine has hidden, vast, and strong connections to present-day local politics (oh, yeah). Their forest has lots of trees dedicated to the imperial family.

The main entrance to Samukawa Shrine.
The other day, an American arborist told me
theirs were one of the best Pinus thunbergii he has seen in Japan.

The tree behind the lantern is
to celebrate the birth of Princess Aiko,
the only child of the Crown Prince.

The access to Samukawa Shrine is not so difficult. You take JR Sagami Line to Miyayama Station 宮山 that is 500m from the Shrine. From the JR station, it is about 5-10 min walk. When you come from the downtown Tokyo or Yokohama, you first go to Ebina Station 海老名 of Odakyu/Sotetsu Lines, and transfer to Sagami Line there. During Shogatsu San-ga-nichi period 正月三ヶ日, i.e. (after 21:00 of December 31 and) January 1-3, there are special direct bus services from Ebina to Samukawa Shrine so that you can take this service, if you like. The Shrine has very large several parking spaces. If you don’t mind to navigate the traffic jam and long waiting in a car for the New Year’s Festival, you can drive there too. Sagami Line, connecting Chigasaki City 茅ヶ崎 and Hashimoto Town 橋本 of Sagamihara City 相模原市, is one of the remaining single-track railroads in metropolitan Tokyo area, which implies the service runs country side … Certainly, Miyayama Station with only one gate does not have a full-time staff. When we exit from the Station, a large sign post says “Samukawa Shrine, this way.” We simply walk to the direction of the arrow, straight, and the main entrance of the Shrine is next to a traffic light whose name is “Samukawa Jinja Mae (寒川神社前 i.e. The main entrance to Samukawa Shrine).” The area looks suburban enough, especially when we compare the scenery with mountainous communities in Tanzawa and Hakone. The place has Samukawa Shrine for about 1,500 years. It is believed that the Shrine is a home of brother and sister gods, Samukawahiko-no-mikoto 寒川比古命 and Samukahime-no-mikoto 寒川比女命 who were said to establish jointly the communities around the Shrine. So, the Imperial Family of 1000 years ago decided to make a peace treaty with the local deity to govern Sagami-no-kuni.

Miyayama Station. It’s their only one gate.
Sagami Line

Before riding on/off the train,
we have to open the door with the button.
I just noticed a slight difference
from some other train services
with door buttons overseas …
When it is cold,
the last person checks if it is safe enough
to close the door, and push the button inside or out.
If you don’t do this,
a sharp look from everybody attacks you.
(“Oh, how rude!”)
Be careful.
Like any other tourist destination in Japan,
Samukawa Shrine area has
their signature souvenir sweet,
called Hachifuku-mochi
It’s a sweet rice cake covered with
sweet red bean paste (anko
Hmmmm, frankly, I think it resembles with
赤福餅 of Ise Grand Shrine 伊勢神宮.
The sign in front of the Station
showing the way to the Shrine
Samukawa Jinja Mae traffic light

Not for nothing Samukawa Shrine is there for such a long time. Especially during the first 3 days of January, the place is huber-popular. About half a million visitors came for the first 3 days of 2016 to ask the gods of Samukawa Shrine a good luck of the entire year. Samukawa Shrine has the New Year’s ritual at 0:00 of January 1st every year so that you can plan to experience huge crowd of Japanese New Year there … I personally do not like the melee, though. Instead, I suggest you 12:30 of December 31st for looking, or attending, the O-harae Ritual 大祓 at the Shrine. Being Ichino-miya, it is one of the main festivals of Samukawa Shrine praying for the peace of the nation. The actual ritual starts at 13:00 but about 1000 people come to join the Norito Prayer 祝詞 so that to secure the best view of the festival, better go early. Oh, no reservation (or I guess even religious belief) is necessary for attendance. The brother and sister gods of Samukawa are generous enough. ;-)

The pine trees
in Samukawa Shrine are tall,
and perfectly manicured.

The O-harae program goes like this. First we go to the gate of the main Shrine where people are already gathering to make a line in front of the shrine office building. There are several traffic controllers of the Shrine who would usher you to the last of the crowd. First-come-first-served. The priests also distribute us a small packet that contains a kit for O-harae: a Norito Prayer flyer, a paper doll, a pinch of dried cogon grass, and confetti made of white washi papers. At 13:00, the lined senior priests come out of the office building. The chief priest starts to read the beginning of the Norito Prayer in the flyer. We simply recite together the prayer that is not meshed in grey from the flyer. …er, it’s in very old Japanese … could be difficult to be comprehended unless you have some knowledge of ancient Japanese. In any case, all the Chinese characters have kana in the flyer. You can at least read aloud if you know furigana. The contents are like “Oh, gods of Japan, we know there have been tons of sinful things on earth this year. We are so sorry for this. Could you please help us to purify them before the New Year comes? Er, you said OK? How generous you are to wash away our dirty things with vast ocean water! We thank you, thank you, thank you.” After reading the prayer together, the priests suggest us first to sprinkle dried cogon grass and confetti over our head, then to rub our body with a paper doll. (Please, do not do it as you are in a shower: just touching several parts of your body will be enough.) We then inspire our breath 3 times to the doll and enclose it in a packet that it came together.  The Norito prayer flyer is your souvenir. The priests will come to collect our packet with the doll that are ritually disposed in water to purify the sins we have committed … I guess these days no municipality allows any shrine to damp the large amount of paper garbage in river or sea … there must be some sort of modern solution … We then follow the escort to enter the gate of the sanctuary and visit the inner shrine. After this, shrine maidens will serve us a cup of fresh sake brewed this year, and distribute us “rakugan” cakes 落雁 in the shape of Imperial chrysanthemum emblem. It takes about 30 minutes for all. The tone of Norito prayer is meditative enough for soothing, the Shrine campus is completely cleaned to welcome the New Year, the size of the crowd is far smaller than for 8 hours later, and we can have good sake and sweets. Not a bad deal, don’t you think?

The gate of the inner shrine of Samukawa
Every year the congregation from Aomori Prefecture
 donates Nebuta paper sculpture to Samukawa Shrine,
which will be displayed at the gate.
We wait in line.
The priests come out from the office.
The Norito prayer flier
A paper doll for O-harae
To the inner shrine
The beau who serves fresh sake
The structures in the Samukawa Shrine campus is surrounded by lots of trees majority of which have place cards like “For the coronation anniversary of Emperor Heisei,” or “The donation from the congregation in Shizuoka Prefecture.” Actually, the main O-harae Ritual is done at Imperial Palace by the Emperor every 31st of December, and Ichino-miyas nation-wide are a kind of supporters of the Imperial prayer. When we have good sake, inside of the inner shrine the registered congregation of the Samukawa Shrine continues the annual ritual. Eventually, the priests call the names of each congregation for offering a branch of cleyera japonica that is a must-have as a sacred object in Shintoism. You’ll notice the people who hold the sacred branch includes members of Japanese Diet representing the Samukawa area, chiefs of municipal offices, local leaders of neighborhood associations, chambers of commerce, agricultural cooperative …

a place stone in Samukawa Shrine
for the national anthem

Telling you the truth, Samukawa Shrine has another secret that is a forest open only for those asking a personalized purification ritual (at the cost of at least JPY6000 or so). It’s one of the best modern Zen Gardens in Japan, called Kantake-yama Shinen 神獄山神苑. It was designed in 2009 by Shunmyo Masuno 枡野俊明, the Chief Priest for Kenkohjji-Temple 建功寺 in Yokohama, and an award-winning Zen garden designer. It is said that the garden is a conceptual forest where humans can meditate within a flow of open, and closed, nature …The garden is open during March - early December. If you have spiritual need to have a personalized Shintoism purification, please try and enjoy one of the most conceptualized forests in Japan. Oh, by the way, I have not experienced the personalized purification yet … $60 is always the hurdle for me, owing to lots of my klesha … sigh.

The Zen garden can be accessible
from the west of inner shrine.
Over there is supposed to be the place of meditation.

Samukawa Shrine 寒川神社
3916 Miyayama, Samukawa-cho, Koza-gun, Kanagawa, 253-0195
(Phone) 0467-75-0004

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas

Er, for this post I did a little bit of research in Yokohama if there is a large enough Christmas tree that I could show off … I cannot find any. Yeah, there are lots home-sized trees in shopping malls, but nothing spectacular as we can encounter in some other Euro-American world. The cultural difference, in the end.

A tree
This one was the largest I found,
and it was only a half tree.
Christmas wreaths made of something
from forest are popular, though
… They are functionally similar to
Japanese traditional decorations
for New Year (like these).

2016 Christmas “tree” in Nissan Global HDQ
… it’s not organic for sure.

The other day, I found a tree at the entrance of Ikebuchi Open Space of Niiharu which has an ideal size to be a Christmas tree. I just muttered “This tree is perfect for a Christmas tree ...” Then, come to think of it, my seniors of Lovers of Niiharu almost in unison laughed and replied, “Don’t be silly.” Oh yeah. The cultural difference, honestly.

… well, actually,
this one is stressed with yellowing leaves.
Yeah, using it for decoration is a silly thing.
We need to nurse it.

Anyway, I wish you a merry Christmas!

p.s. Granted it’s not only for Christmas, but,
for Japanese festive cakes should be like these:
sponges sandwiching thick whipped cream
and fresh strawberries (in perfect shape, of course).
Certainly, these days we can easily find in Yokohama
buche de noel, stollen, panettone, Christmas puddings, etc.
But for a proper Japanese Christmas feast,
these strawberries are the MUST.
There are several theories about our love for this cake.
I support one of the explanations:
the ubiquitous Fujiya Café, established in Yokohama in 1910,
pushed their addictively sweet version of such cake
for unsuspecting Japanese Christmas nationwide.
Anyway, this photo was taken
in Foundry for Sogo Yokohama. :)

Friday, December 16, 2016

In search for hay-fever-less trees in Japan

Because of historical and cultural reason, direct engagement in forest management is one item in the job description of all the prefectural governors in Japan. Anyway, it gives Dr. Hidetsugu Saitoh of Kanagawa Natural Environment Conservation Center 神奈川県自然環境保全センター a job to improve reproductive process of trees in Kanagawa. One urgent to do list for him is to establish supply system of seedlings for cedar and cypress that produce fewer or no pollen, since their pollens are major allergen of hay fever for the mass of people these days.

Using Mendel’s Law, the methodology of creating such cedars and cypresses is relatively straight-forward. ... I didn’t know using male sterility is a well-established way to create “higher utility” crops and veggies. The defining gene for pollen counts in cedar and cypress is like human genes about blood types. Let’s call “AA” the gene of cedar that creates lots of pollens. We can also find “aa” gene in another cedar that does not produce pollen at all (i.e. “male sterility”). From here, it’s a high-school biology class. If we can match over 2 “aA” trees, there is ¼ chance of producing “aa” tree that is pollen-less. i.e. Recessive Inheritance. Better still, when a mom has “aa”, the chances of “aa” baby coming out is 50%. (… We can never have an “aa” dad, OK?) It’s same for cypress. So, the challenge for Dr. Saitoh is to make the plan operational.

The experimental scion garden for few / no pollen cedars
in the Kanagawa Natural Environment Conservation Center

Although, say, in 2010 cedar afforestation was done only for 1ha in Kanagawa, people did not plant just one tree in 100m*100m field. Actually, 13,000 cedar babies from “fewer pollen” lineage was planted in that year, where many of them will be thinned eventually. Moreover, trees are long-living plants that are definitely different from Mendel’s peas whose reproduction cycle can be less than one year. The number of original fewer pollen family lines was 17 in Kanagawa. Sure, it could be a matter of opinion if the biodiversity is enough at the gene level with 17 families for 13,000 seedlings of slowly maturing species … Everybody agrees the more diverse, the better the sustainability. “We need more families of aA and aa mom-trees.”

The cedars in the experimental scion garden in the Center

In Japan, a person who first found aa cedar tree in 1992 was Dr. Hideaki Taira who is now the professor emeritus for Niigata University. Dr. Taira’s approach was a standard mass-mobilization of college kids. They were dispatched into the deep forests of Toyama Prefecture early spring, each armed with a high-twig shear. They tap a flowering cedar one by one. When a tree was looked like emitting fewer or no pollen, the kids collected male flowers from the high-above twigs and brought them back to the Professor’s labo to inspect each anther under electron microscopes. The result was, statistically speaking, one in 5,000 cedars in Toyama has male sterility. … I haven’t read Dr. Taira’s celebrated paper, but I guess for reaching to this conclusion the army of kids must have tapped tens of thousands of cedars, and carried tens of thousands of anthers for checking. Even under a luckier scenario, Dr. Saitoh has to tap 5,000 cedars to identify one “aa,” doesn’t he? Fortunately, along with this “go fishing” approach, Dr Saitoh could use 17 families of aA in Kanagawa. He checked 888 (yet!) seedlings in the scion garden and found one aa in 2004. As of October 2016, the prefectural scientists who found their local sterile males in cedar forests are in Toyama, Ishikawa, Shizuoka, Oamori, and Kanagawa, i.e. 5 prefectures out of 47 … hmmmm, it’s a difficult task. Dr. Saitoh has managed it and is still searching for more aa.

The young cedars and cypresses in the Center’s field.
They are still too young to be moved to the scion garden.

Finding a tree is one thing. Preparing for the replacement of allergen spewing forest is another. The next task for Team Saitoh is realizing the mass production of aa cedar seedlings. Dr. Saitoh paired the pistil of this aa with aA pollen in a secluded glass house for controlled fertilization. It takes one more year after pollination for cedars to produce a fruit. He harvested 92g (2007) and 37g (2008) of seeds eventually. The Team then sowed the seeds in the professional cedar seedling farm (who is under the strict national regulation; more to this in the later post J). Cedars take 2 years from seeds to seedlings for planting. In the 2nd year, the Team Saitoh manually collected the male flowers from all the 4,816 seedlings to see if any of them were sterile. In the end, there were 1130 male sterile seedlings (39% of total). Dr. Saitoh keeps producing cousins for the 39% from the first aa and the other newly found aA and aa to expand the DNA pool ... His quest for achieving theoretically expected value of 50% from aa –aA is continuing ...

The fruits of cedar harvested this October.
They are handpicked one-by-one
from the trees in the scion garden.
They then are dried for a while.
Like pine, with enough dryness
they start to open their cones to release the seeds ...
Like these.

Dr. Saitoh is also doing the same for cypress … painstakingly labor intensive tasks all over again. According to him, for cedars or cypresses, the entire process is sometimes difficult to be understood by his non-scientist peers. Going into forest to tap trees, coming back to shut yourself for microscopic study, fertilize tiny flowers one-by-one by hands in a quiet glass house, harvesting Ø1cm cones in fine October day, tending carefully the seedlings in the fresh-air garden … all sounds quite a fun for uninitiated office workers. Especially for cypress, the pollen season of theirs is short and overlaps with the transition period of Japanese fiscal years. His office being in bureaucracy, the people are very busy to wrap up previous year’s documentations when Dr. Saitoh says “I go to mountain for cypress.” An inevitable reaction, it seems to me, has been “WHAT!?” I myself did not know harvesting cedar and cypress cones make your hands bruised with lots of scabs and hard-to-remove tree resins ...

The lesson learned from Japanese hay fever and Dr. Saitoh’s struggle is, once we’ve messed up with the nature it can bring us unintended consequences that is difficult to modify. We patients can only treat symptoms from the attack of pollens … We forest volunteers may be able to do something more, I guess. The easiest thing I can think of now is, joining afforestation exercise with aa cedars, or broadleaved trees … Planting trees are not that simple, in the end.

Seeds are sown first in pods.

The contact address for Kanagawa Natural Environment Conservation Center 神奈川県自然環境保全センター is

657 Nanasawa, Atsugi City, 243-0121 2430121 厚木市七沢657
Phone: 046-248-0323

You can send an enquiry to them by clicking the bottom line of their homepage at

Friday, December 9, 2016

Hay Fever!

Ah, December, the season of festivity ... If winter comes, can spring be far behind? That is to say, the time of year for hay fever is approaching fast. According to the Q&A site of Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan, in Kanto Region the main culprits of our sneezing and itchy eyes are pollens of Cryptomeria japonica (cedar) and Japanese cypress. Cedars are used to cause troubles during February - April, and cypresses would do the same during April – May. Though, probably because of global warming, the beginning of the season could be even December and the amount of pollens is becoming larger with warmer climate. I don’t know if it’s true … the Ministry’s website says hay fever due to cedars is very very endemic in Japan. Their document diagnoses 70% of Japanese hay fever patients is due to cedars. Heck. I have to make a schedule to visit my otorhinolaryngologist for prescription … his office is always VERY congested during the hay fever months L.

OTC medications for hay fever are
year-round available these days.
I did not have problem like that before, but about 10 or so years ago the symptom suddenly attacked me. For some time I thought it was because I was not young enough anymore … my resignation was misplaced. It was because of the failure in Japanese economic policy 70 years ago! Immediately after the World War II, the government engaged in vigorous forestry promotion, which created vast artificial forests of cedars and cypresses. Now 18% (or 44% of artificial) forests in Japan is made of cedars, and 10% (or 25% of artificial) forests is of cypresses. The problem is, they were planted in quite a short period of time at once. Worse, in a forest they are often clones from cuttings. They grow in unison and have reached to maturity simultaneously. Around the turn of the century, lots of lots of cedars and cypresses in Japan started to puff out their pollens all together. The result? Seasonal weather forecast notifies us “Tomorrow, the amount of cedar pollens will reach to a critical amount. Please cover your nose and mouth with finely meshed masks. Never forget to take your medication …” TV news shows yellow mist covering the forest near you. Gosh.

… it’s a matter of perception …
the idyllic scenery of Okuyama
… the mass of pollen production site ...

Cedars start producing buds of female flowers in July. When July has fewer rain and lots of sunshine, the number of flower buds of cedars increases, which is a bad omen. During summer, they keep growing and maturing. In mid-October, the female flowers bloom and the male buds start to grow in the same tree. The guys keep maturing and begin spewing out Ø33 microns or so pollens in December or January. The cypresses also start in July the preparation for flowers of next year in a similar way, but they need cold spells to make their male flowers to mature. Dry and sunny July followed by freezing cold winter is ominous sign for sufferers of cypress pollens. In Kanagawa Prefecture, cypress males spurt out pollens of a bit smaller Ø30 microns during March to May. Cedar or cypress, the more vigorous the trees and the more numerous the flowers, the more pollens will be ejected. One saving grace might be when cedars produce lots of pollen early by warm winter, cypresses may not have enough cold weather for theirs. The overall hay fever season could be shorter, with intensive cedar pollens ... L  In the current environment in Yokohama, we have no choice other than confronting the problem with medication. S***!

In October, the cedars in scion gardens in
Kanagawa Natural Environment Conservation Center
are already having male and female buds
… They look innocently cute.

The life cycle of cedars and cypresses says we can at least know in the fall of 2016 the condition for 2017 hay fever. One of the perks as a trainee for Kanagawa Forest Volunteer is, we have rather quickly the latest research result done by the professional forest scientists. Dr. Hidetsugu Saitoh of Kanagawa Natural Environment Conservation Center 神奈川県自然環境保全センター is an expert in the reproduction of trees. Actually, he is the person responsible to the information about pollen counts in Kanagawa. In October 2016, he confidently notified us 2017 is better than 2016 in Kanto Region. i.e. The number of flower buds for cedar and cypress is fewer this year. Come to think of it, we had lots of rain and typhoon last July and August. A-ha.

Could you see an instrument shelter over there
at the bottom of this photo?
It’s one of pollen counting facilities in Kanagawa Prefecture.
During the season, the officials of
the Natural Environment Conservation Center
count once a day (normally in the morning)
how many pollens they can find
in 1cm2 of a board situated there.
In one October weekend morning this year,
Dr. Saitoh found one pollen already.
According to him,
one of those sites in the Center will be moved
to Hiratsuka City by the end of 2016
before the serious hay fever comes.
It’s in order to capture more accurately
the condition of residential area, he said.

As an expert, Dr. Saitoh did organize thinning and other forest husbandry to mitigate the clouds of yellow pollens for some time. In the end he reached to the consensus conclusion of forest scientists in Japan: it’s futile to treat adult trees to solve the problem except by massive deforestation. Meanwhile, in Kyushu Island where traditionally cedar and cypress forestry is mainly with propagation by cutting, the problem is smaller due to fewer pollens. So, the possible treatment would be the choice of individual trees that produce fewer or no pollens. The key here is to consider the importance of local gene in trees. Especially for cedars, the locality issue was known for generations. Actually, Japanese forestry policy made a serious blunder in the early 20th century due to ignorance to this fact. (More to this, in a post next year.) Among scientists, the most popular theory for strong localization in Japanese coniferous trees refers to the ecology during the last Glacial Period in the North East Asia. The variation in cedars due to the climate is obvious even for a complete amateur like me. Cedars in the area directly facing to the Sea of Japan / East Sea have very edgy shape as their boughs develop tight to the trunk. They’ve evolved for avoiding the damage caused by wet and heavy snow fall. (Do you know Sea of Japan side in Japan is recording the world heaviest snow falls?) The cedars in the Pacific side are of more easy-going DNA for their boughs spreading (comparatively) wide.

The front garden of
Kanagawa Natural Environment Conservation Center
has several species of coniferous trees
imported from all over the world.
They were expected to be useful for daily lives of Kanagawa,
but the majority of them failed to pass the utility test.
Take the pine trees from Europe shown here.
They came to Japan about 50 years ago
with hope to be pest-resilient shelterbelt
against sand along Shonan Beach.
It turned out they could not withstand strong winds
from the Pacific Ocean.
The beachside forest now is from seedlings of pinus thunbergii,
Japanese and Korean endemic species, found in Kanagawa.
The Europeans in the Center are the remnants of a failed project.

So, Japanese forest scientists of each prefecture are searching for suitable local lineage of less or no pollen trees. In 1996, the prefectural scientists in Chiba identified 13 pedigrees of cedar with fewer pollens. Kanagawa followed Chiba’s pioneering feat with 17 local family lines in 1998, and in 2000 established the scion garden of cedars with fewer pollens, which was the nation’s first. In 2004, all the supply of cedar seedlings in Kanagawa Prefecture was switched to the special scion gardens for fewer pollens. Why such a total control is possible is due to Japanese forestry policy. (I’ll tell you about that later.) Anyway, the quest for fewer or no pollen cedars and cypresses in Kanagawa is continuing for Dr. Saitoh. His story was very interesting. I’ll report his tale more in the next week’s post. J

The prefectural model scion garden for less or no pollen cedars.
Their growth point is cut off
to make them bushy for easier access to flowers = seeds.
Could you see they spread their boughs?

The contact address for Kanagawa Natural Environment Conservation Center 神奈川県自然環境保全センター is

657 Nanasawa, Atsugi City, 243-0121 2430121 厚木市七沢657
Phone: 046-248-0323

You can send an enquiry to them by clicking the bottom line of their homepage at