Introduction to Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest
Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest: Before it Opened to the Pubulic
The Nasu Imperial Villa dates back to 1926, it was constructed as a retreat for Emperor Showa to allow himself to relax and recuperate. It has since been used by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, Crown Prince and his family.
Between 1997 and 2001, a 5-year monitoring and research project was undertaken by the Tochigi Prefectural Museum at the Emperor’s suggestion to try to accurately survey the area’s flora and fauna. As a result of the survey, it became apparent that the forest of Nasu Imperial Villa is both a rich and diverse natural environment. It contains a large natural beech forest and is an important habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals including several rare species.
The Emperor felt that it was important to protect the area as well as to utilize it as a place for the public to foster their innate sense of connection with nature. On the 20th anniversary year of his enthronement, jurisdiction over half the area approximately 560 hectares (1,380 acres) was transferred from the Imperial Household Agency to the Ministry of the Environment. The Field Center and trails were built after the monitoring and research activities were completed, and Nikko National Park “Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest” was opened on May 22nd in 2011.
The Field Center and trails were built after the monitoring and research activities were completed, and Nikko National Park “Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest” was opened on May 22nd in 2011.
Ongoing Monitoring Research in Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest
Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest has been left untouched in recent years and kept in its natural state. The trees themselves are predominantly oak (Quercus crispula and Quercus serrata). The beautiful Yosasa and Shirato rivers flow through the valley and beech trees grow on the slopes. Various wild animals such as the Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus) have been sighted in the forest.
We do monitoring and research of the forest to preserve its abundant and diverse wildlife for future generations as well as for people to enjoy for years to come.
For example, we monitor which plants grow in the fores, whether non-native plants and animals are introduced, what condition distinctive plant colonies are in, what kind of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects inhabit the area, water quality at the Yosasa and Shirato Rivers, and so forth.
The beech forest on the slopes of the Yosasa River was selected as the site for “Monitoring-site 10000”, a program that has been conducted by the Ministry of the Environment to monitor and survey about 1,000 sites all over the country to observe long-term environmental changes.
Through continuous monitoring and research, we will begin to understand Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest’s natural environment and by analyzing the survey results, we can improve conservation and find better ways to utilize the area in future.
About Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest
Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest is comprised of two main areas. The “Forest Recreation Zone” is an area for exploring the forest freely and enjoying your own natural experiences. The “Forest Learning Zone” is a limited use area (for activities such as guided walks) in order to protect and preserve the forest environment as much as possible. The “Nasu Heisei-no-mori Field Center” is a core facility of Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest and a center for various activities such as a guided walks.
Forest Recreation Zone
The “Forest Recreation Zone” is for all visitors to enjoy walking and exploring the natural world freely within the forest. The Field Center is a core facility of this zone. There are wheelchair and pushchair accessible routes, several trails leading to the Komadome Waterfall Observation Deck and arbors for resting. Please note there is no charge for admission. A “Walking Map of Forest Recreation Zone” is available for download here.
Forest Learning Zone
The “Forest Learning Zone” is limited-access area for reserved guided walks, the purpose of which is to facilitate visitor interactions with nature and provide a more immersive learning experience. To keep an appropriate balance between utilization and conservation, we limit free entry to this area.