Located in the middle of Yamaguchi Prefecture, Akiyoshidai is the largest karst in Japan, encompassing about 130 square kilometers.
A karst is the geological name for a limestone plateau, and 300 million years ago Akiyoshidai was a coral reef. In historical times it was forested just like almost all of the rest of Japan, but farmers gradually cut down the forest and replaced it with susuki, Japanese Pampas Grass, for thatch and animal feed.
Nowadays Akiyoshidai offers the visitor an unusual (for Japan) scenic view; rolling hills covered in Pampas Grass dotted with limestone boulders and outcroppings. In each of the seasons it is worth a visit.
In early February the dried grass is burnt back to ensure that the grass grows again, and the forest doesn't reclaim the land.
Driving along Route 23 (the Akiyoshi Skyline) is the best way to view Akiyoshidai. At the south end there is a large parking area with a viewing platform and a network of trails across the plateau.
Across the road from the parking lot is a free museum with exhibits explaining the geology of the area and giving information on the natural environment. Without a car, the plateau can be reached by bus from Hagi, Yamaguchi City, or Shin Yamaguchi station.
Akiyoshi International Art Village
Tel: 0837 63 0020
The Akiyoshi International Art Village in Shuho town is a well-equipped art space for both Japanese and overseas artists in the fields of music, art, dance, and theater. The center is located near to the limestone karst of the Akiyoshidai National Park.
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Akiyoshidai Yamaguchi Karst pampas grass
Monday, June 23, 2008