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Road Trip with tokyo grapher

A trip to the Fuji Five Lakes in the early spring vol.3

May, 26, 2016

前々から入ってみたかった森がある。青木ヶ原の樹海
溶岩流による荒々しい地肌を緑の苔が被い、その上に鬱蒼とした森が広がる。富士山の北西側にあり、ほぼ山手線に囲まれた面積ほどもある。
富士五湖の前身であった「せの海」という広大な湖が、今から1,100年前の864年に起こった富士山の「貞観大爆発」によって溶岩で埋め尽され、そこに生え育った苔が朽ちては生えを繰り返して出来た2cmほどの土壌に、樹木が育ったのだという。土壌が薄いことから、木々の根は地表を這うように広がり、独特の景観を成している。

There is a forest that I have longed to go in. It is called the Aokigahara Jukai forest, the sea of trees.
The rough surface, made by lava flows, of this field is covered with green moss, on which a dense and dark sea of trees spreads. This forest is located in the northwest of Mt. Fuji, having an area as the same as the inside of the Tokyo Loop Yamanote Line.
It is said that an extensive lake called “Senoumi,” which was the predecessor of the Fuji Five Lakes, was totally filled with lava due to a great eruption of Mt. Fuji in the Jogan era occurred 1,100 years ago, in 864. Then, trees started to grow on this soil bed with the thickness of about 2 cm formed by moss growing and dying over time. On its thin soil bed, the roots of trees spread as if they crawl on the land surface, while producing a unique landscape.


This mysterious sea of trees is somehow alike a deep sea


つい最近公開された、マシュー・マコノヒーと渡辺謙が主演の米映画『The Sea of Trees』(邦題:追憶の森)は、自殺をするためにやってきた2人が樹海で出会い、出口を求めて彷徨いながら自分を見つめ直すというストーリーだが、青木ヶ原の樹海を自殺の名所にしたのは、松本清張の小説『波の塔』だと言われているそうだ。
そういった先入観もあってか、確かにこの深い森に入って行くと、2度と出られないのではないかという不安な気持ちで心がざわめいてくる。だが実際に足を踏み込んで歩いてみると、延々と続く苔むした溶岩流と、そこに根を張る樹々が成す森の神秘的な風景に、どこか深い海の底を歩いているような不思議な気分が湧いてきた。

An American movie entitled “The Sea of Trees” has just been released, where Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe were starring. In this story, they came to this forest to commit suicide and met there each other. They started to wander in the forest trying to find the way out, while looking back and reflecting on their life. However, it is said that a novel written by Seicho Matsumoto, entitled “Nami no To” (Tower of Wave), was what made this Aokigahara Jukai forest a famous suicide place.
Perhaps having such preconceptions, when going in this deep forest, I felt butterflies in my stomach with a feeling of anxiety that I might never get out of this forest. But when actually stepping foot into and walking in the forest, the endless rough mossy surface of lava flows and a mysterious landscape produced by trees taking root gradually made me feel like I was walking on the bottom of a deep sea.




前日に少し遅い雪が降り、この日は苔の緑を縁取るようにうっすらと残雪が残っていた。
付近には何種類もの苔が生えているようだったが、中でも特に緑が鮮やかな「ヒノキゴケ」が、融けていく残雪の雫を貯えてきらきらと美しかった。この雫の一粒一粒が、土壌に浸透してやがてはあの美味しい富士の天然水になるのかなぁ?…と、さっき天然水を湧かして飲んだ珈琲を思い出す。
ヒノキゴケは、撫でてみるとふわふわと優しくて、手の平が気持ちよかった。

Because of snow fell on the previous day, a thin layer of lingering snow still remained as if it fringed with mossy edges.
It seemed that various kinds of moss grew around there. Among all of them, vividly green Rhizogonium dozyanum was beautifully ablaze with melting lingering snow. Every drop produced from this snow might infiltrate into the soil and eventually would become part of natural water of Mt. Fuji… Thinking such a thing, I just recalled the taste of the coffee made with natural water I had a few hours ago.
Rhizogonium dozyanum was soft, which gave be a comfortable feeling on my palm.


Gentleness and strength of sunshine filtering through trees


森の表情は光によって様変わりする。
実を言うと、私は雨の日の森が好きだ。太陽の強い光が影を強調する晴れの日よりも、緑がしっとりとして美しいトーンで撮ることができる。
ここで紹介している前半の写真は日射しのない曇天に撮ったもので、樹々や苔の緑がしっとりと写る。一方、後半は晴天となり、強い木漏れ日が樹々に地表にと、至る所に光を落としている。
それは、まるで照明を当てた舞台のセットのようにも見える。友人をスポットライトを受ける演者に見立てて、あれこれとポーズをとってもらった。

The forest’s expression alters with light.
Honestly speaking, I love a forest on a rainy day. It is because on such a rainy day, I can take nice photos of the forest with the color of firm green on a beautiful tone, when compared to a fine day with strong sunshine which emphasizes black shades.
In half of the photos I introduced here, the color of green of trees and moss shows up clearly because I took them on a cloudy day. But in the other half of the photos, strong sunshine filtering through trees make spots everywhere.
It looks just like an illuminated set of a stage. Using my friend as an actor standing in the spotlight, I had him make various poses in this mysterious forest.

To be continued

Text by Koichi Miyase / Photography by Koichi Miyase and Akihito Nagata
Photographic equipment / iPhone 6S + tokyo grapher, Canon EOS 5D Mark2