Wakayama University

Pioneer of Environmental Conservation

With the ocean, mountains, history, World Heritage sites and the international airport nearby…… Wakayama aspires to becoming a prefecture of tourism. A vision of tourism for the coming future should be a sustainable one, and not a type of real estate development that dramatically alters Nature.

Environmental conservation, thus, becomes the key.

Tenjinzaki and the National Trust Movement

Tenjinzaki is on the northern entrance of the Tanabe Bay, and its rocky shore is spread in front of the Cape (Hiyoriyama), a great treasure trove for living creatures. About thirty years ago, when Tenjinzaki was facing a development plan to build an exclusive vacation community, citizen volunteers took action to protect its natural environment. They started to buy the land in order to preserve the area's nature (the National Trust Movement). This movement inspired like-minded supporters and, today it is still carried on despite challenges. It attained prominence as a pioneer of the nature conservation movement in Japan.

Tenjinzaki and the National Trust Movement Tenjinzaki and the National Trust Movement

Tenjinzaki and the National Trust Movement

  • Minakata, Kumagusu Archive = walking distance from Tanabe Station
  • Minakata, Kumagusu Museum = the museum is in Shirahama and there are scenic spots nearby: Shirara Beach, Shirahama Hot Spring, Senjojiki, Sandanbeki, and Engetsuto.

Wakanoura: Preservation of Historic Sites and the Natural Environment

Wakanoura in Wakayama City is known for its scenic beauty, and was famously quoted in the classical Japanese poem, Man Yo Shu, the Anthology of Myriad Leaves. The main part of Wakanoura is a tideland spread over the mouth of the Wakagawa River. Although the natural environment and the scenery have become impaired by the development plan and concrete embankment, Wakanoura has been a historic site since the time of Man Yo Shu and also is the biggest tideland in the Kinki area that is a habitat for numerous rare species. (30 min. by bus from Wakayama City Station and JR Wakayama Station)

Wakanoura: Preservation of Historic Sites and the Natural Environment Wakanoura: Preservation of Historic Sites and the Natural Environment

Photo, left: Furokyo Stone Bridge, Wakaura
Photo, right: Tideland, a popular spot for sea-shell picking

Kashima: The Ecosystem that the Extraordinary Talent, Kumagusu, Protected

Near Tenjinzaki is a little uninhabited island on the Tanabe Bay, called Kashima. It is a paradise island for its ecosystem that has remained undamaged by humans and now is designated as a National Natural Treasure. A scientist credited with the preservation of the ecosystem of the island was Minakata, Kumagusu, an ethno-mycologist and ethno-botanist from Wakayama.

From his early childhood, he had an incredible memory and curiosity. After he came back from study abroad in England, he settled in Tanabe and spent his time looking for fungi and other microorganisms deep in the Kumano mountains, gathering information from local people, and reading and writing scientific papers. He contributed his research papers to British science journals one after the other. He was known as an eccentric genius with an extraordinarily wild, rebellious character, but was loved by people of his hometown.

He is said to have introduced the terminology “Ecology” for the first time in Japan. He is regarded as a pioneering environmentalist, for he waged an opposition campaign vehemently when shrines and their surrounding forests were being destroyed all over the country through the policy of the Meiji government.

Today, the Minakata, Kumagusu Archive is located next to his old house, which is near the Tanabe Station, and the Minakata, Kumagusu Museum is situated on a cape facing Kashima island, near Engetutou in Shirahama.

 Kashima The Ecosystem that the Extraordinary Talent, Kumagusu, Protected  Kashima The Ecosystem that the Extraordinary Talent, Kumagusu, Protected

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