Saturday, December 1, 2012

Akiyoshidai: the biggest karst in Japan


Compared to some countries Japan does not have a great diversity of landscapes. The first place  I visited in Japan that struck me as unusual for Japan was Akiyoshidai in central Yamaguchi.


It is a karst, a limestone plateau, and is in fact the largest karst in Japan with an area of about 130 square kilometers.


Some 300 million years ago it was a large coral reef which rose above the sea and became limestone. Being soluble the limestone is easily eroded by water and has created the unusual  landscape of rolling hills with sinkholes and unusual protruding rocks. It also is home to hundreds of caves, including Akiyoshido, the largest in Japan.


Off in the distance the more usual Japanese landscape can be glimpsed.


The early Japanese eventually cut down the forest that stood over the plateau and replaced it with Susuki, Japanese Pampas Grass, which they used as fodder and thatch. To stop the forest from regrowing the plateau is burned every February.


There are numerous trails all over the plateau and it offers an unusual landscape in any season of the year.


  1. and the light!! do not forget about the light! :-)

  2. I went there two years ago, and I loved it.
    It looks very "unJapanese"