Mar 25, 2010

Sashimaki Mizubasho Colony

We heard the sign of spring has finally popped out in Sashimaki Mizubasho Colony.. so we went.

Mizubasho (Lysichiton camtschatcence), known as skunk cabbage in the Western countries, is a plant found in wet lands and swamps in cool mountain areas. How interesting North American species have yellow spathe, the hood-like bract which contains the flowers, and emit a distinct odor, while our Asian skunk cabbage blossom in white and does not smell bad at all!

Mizubahsho, the first one this year.

The wet land of Sashimaki. Still only a few of them are out. Soon the whole area will be covered with white flowers here..

Take the path--- watch out! It's slippery.

Nothing is more comforting than the sound of babbling stream...

Mizubasho has been mentioned in the literature for a few centuries as a plant found in land abundant in water (mizu), resembling Japanese fiber banana (basho). Although you may think it can be found anywhere in Japan for it is known for the richness and variety of water sources, Mizubasho is hardly found in warm and low-altitude land in which many of the urban cities are situated. It can be found only in places with a rare climate condition. That is why many people take a trip to see this precious plant.

Some early birds catching spring..

Still so much snow to melt.

The creek carrying a body of fresh snow-melted water. It was so clear and stinging cold!

Zazenso, Eastern Skunk Cabbage, is named after its resemblance of a monk in meditation (zazen).
You will see it pops out before too long..

Sashimaki Area is one of those few places in Japan where Mizubasho can be observed as in colony. The uniqueness of the Sashimaki Mizubasho Colony is that it spreads over just along the roadside of route 46, so you don’t have to go off the road to take a glimpse of the precious plant.

Obviously, we are not the only ones longing for the springtime. Asian black bears, also known as moon bears that inhibit in this area, are said to eat the flowers and leaves to discharge the body waste after the hibernation. It contains oxalicacid, toxic to human beings, but it is perhaps a favorite of the wild animals.
Mizubasho in Sashimaki are going to be in bloom as soon as the snow melts away just before the cherry blossoms. For many Japanese, cherry blossoms are the sign of Spring; but for us, Mizubasho is--- perhaps, it is a sign of the end of long cold winter.

 Festival  is held from April 17th- May 4th, 2010.

To access: 
   By car: Take route 46 in between Tazawako and Kakunodate Area.
                 (10 mins from Tazawako, 20 min. from Kakundate)
   By train: Take JR Sashimaki Station. 15mins. walk along the sidewalk.
   By bus: Take Ugokotsu Bus bound for Akita City (Kyuko Akita Line),
                  get off at “Sashimaki-eki-mae”, and take walk 15 mins.

Other findings: A little head of Fukinoto (butterbur sprout).

''The mountain straight ahead is Mount Akita Komagatake", Takkochan says in the yellow board.


lina said...

oooh.... I simply love looking at the photos here.
Wish I was there too. :)

Tazawako Tourism Association said...

Thank you as always! Spring is coming soon. We are excited!