TAMA RIVER HEADWATERS
The headwaters of the Tama River, which cuts across Tokyo-to(the Tokyo Metropolitan area), are located in Kosuge Village in Yamanashi Prefecture. The headwater area is called “Tama Genryu.” It forms a clear stream in a lush green valley surrounded by many mountains. The culture and scenery remain unchanged in Kosuge Village – certainly one of Japan’s classic settings.
KOSUGE VILLAGE’S NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
Kosuge is 14 kilometers across from East to West, and 7 kilometers from North to South. With a total land area of only 52.65 square kilometers, it is a small village. Yamanashi Prefecture’s North-East border is adjacent to Okutama town in Tokyo-to. However, it takes two hours to travel by train to Okutama from central Tokyo.
Kosuge River crosses Kosuge from West to East and flows into Lake Okutama at the village’s Eastern border. Downstream from Lake Okutama, the water turns into the Tama River and flows 135 kilometers through Tokyo before depositing into Tokyo Bay. The upstream section of Kosuge River in West Kosuge is designated as a water conservation forest maintained by Tokyo-to. From no less than 100 years ago the forest has been protected so the abundant untouched nature remains intact.
Kosuge Village is 95% forest composed of trees such as Mongolian Oak and Japanese Beech. Large scale wildlife such as black bear and deer; protected species such as the Japanese serow (goat-antelope) and the Japanese dormouse; wild birds such as crested kingfisher, and mountain hawk-eagle (also known as Hodgson’s hawk-eagle); and wildflowers like dogtooth violet and fireweed all inhabit the forest. The mountainside fields grow wild grass, and from season to season flowers give pleasure to the eye.
THE HEADWATERS RAISE DELICIOUS PRODUCE
Kosuge Village is situated in a mountain hollow. Therefore, there is little flat land and most farming fields are on steep hillsides. These plots of land are utilized for growing things such as konjac and buckwheat. And from olden times the mountain’s clear streams have vitalized wasabi cultivation. The knowledge of this classical technique for raising wasabi continues to be passed down, and Kosuge’s wasabi is known throughout the country for being of high quality.
FRIENDLY VILLAGERS & TRADITIONAL CULTURE
Kosuge Village’s inhabitants are warm and welcoming to outsiders. They may invite visitors to enjoy a home-grown home-cooked meal. One can feel a strong spirit of rapport exists among them.
Traditional entertainment of the village such as Shishimai(Lion Dance) and Kagura has been passed down from antiquity.
In Nagasaku district, national treasures are housed at Nagasaku Kannon (Buddhist Temple dedicated to Kannon, Bosatsu of mercy). And at no less than 200 years old, Japanese elm, spruce, and hemlock trees stand close together at Otaka Shrine.