Areshima Island

A mystical island with a “miracle” forest

“A mystical island with a ‘miracle’ forest.”

There is a “miracle” forest in Minamisanriku. It lies in an area at the northern limit of the range of broad and glossy leaved evergreen trees. Although the Tohoku region is in a cold climate, this forest is thick and green all year round with evergreen trees of Tabunoki (Machilus thunbergii) and Mochinoki (lex integra), which are found in the southern area. In the undergrowth, small evergreen trees such as Japanese cleyera and camellia japonica, and evergreen shrubs such as spindletrees, and autumn ferns grow densely packed.

The uninhabited island of Tsubakishima in Shizugawa Bay is known for its more than 200 species with extremely rare vegetation of academic value, including the Tabunoki trees. It was designated as a National Natural Monument in 1966 and people cannot enter Tsubakishima Island without permission.

Areshima Island has vegetation that is extremely similar to Tsubakishima Island and you can get to the island by walking along the breakwater from Sodehama Beach. Tabunoki trees grow gregariously on the island. When you look up at a Tabunoki tree with its branches spread, you can clearly see the boundaries between trees as if the trees were carefully trimmed by woodcutters so that you could see the sky. It is a mystical scene.

Tabunoki trees spread their branches without overlapping over one another so that they appear to “raise” each other. Through the spaces between branches the sun comes in to nurture camellia japonica, ferns, and other understory plants. Keeping an exquisite balance, a variety of plants grow to a lush vivid green.

These plants that live strongly while sharing the sunlight teach us the importance of sharing with each other.

The people of Minamisanriku are proud of Areshima Island, a special place thought to be flowing with mystical energy.

Please do not…

  • go onto the island in large groups without prior notice to the Minamisanriku Tourism Association.
  • take any plants or other specimen from the island.
  • smoke or create a fire on the island.
  • go to the bathroom on the island. Go beforehand!
  • litter on the island, or litter anywhere for that matter. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in maintain the beauty and natural environment of our precious island.