【Kamuy landscapes】

The deep forests and coastlines inhabited by wildlife. Introducing Hokkaido’s natural scenery that changes with the seasons

Special feature

【Kamuy landscapes】 The ‘shape of the north’ – windswept forests created by the harsh winter winds

The windswept forest in which the branches cannot grow upwards but instead twist intricately

On my way back from Cape Nosappu in the city of Nemuro, I stopped off at the Hoppou Gensei Kaen (Northern Primeval Flower Garden). The north wind blowing from the strait stung my skin.

Beyond the windswept forest, where the wind is so strong the trees cannot grow tall, the horizon glows red in the west, colored by the setting sun. As the temperature drops, the air compresses and clears. A brightness remains in the sky, and the mizunara (Mongolian oak) that form the windswept forest appear as silhouettes.

The forest is lower on the northern side. This is because strong winds have prevented the trees from growing upwind. The branches twist intricately like capillaries, and the trunks lean to the south from their base. This is the ‘shape of the north,’ created over a long period of time by the harsh winter weather.

I was overwhelmed by the appearance of the mizunara, as if it had endured adversity throughout its entire life.

(Photo and words by Shigeru Tadanobu)

Location

Hoppou Gensei Kaen (Northern Primeval Flower Garden)

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