Happy 400th Birthdays Sugi

Here is a story about the old Hakone Hachiri section of the Tokaido Road in the Mount Fuji Area, where I am trialling a new multi-day hike, and more in this link:



Four centuries ago exactly, the second Edo Period Shogun, Tokugawa Hidetada, ordered the planting of sugi (Japanese Cedar, Cryptomeria japonica) along both sides of Tokaido to shade travellers as they made their way around the shoreline of Lake Ashinoko towards Hakone Checkpoint. 420 of these magnificant specimens remain, towering straight, fat, and proud into the Hakone sky along Cedar Avenue.

Sugi is integral to Japanese life. 70% of Japan’s land area is forested, an astounding proportion for any country, let alone a smallish, highly industrialised nation with a massive population. Most of these forests are plantations established shortly after World War II. Sugi and Hinoki are the two main species planted, as both have been Japan’s main timber species for centuries.

Ceder Avenue, Hakone Ceder Avenue, Hakone

Unfortunately these sugi plantations get a lot of bad press, as the copius pollen they produce in spring is the cause of hay-fever grief to…

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