自然・風景・景色  アウトドア  まち未来づくり  

Learning & meeting people on the Gokasho Plateau, a tour of the rare plants and animal protection area

Takachiho has many famous sightseeing spots such as Takachiho Gorge and Takachiho Shrine, but there are still many other attractions such as nature, scenery, lifestyle and industries♪

While visiting Takachihos various sightseeing spots is a great way to enjoy a region, why not try something different and combine the visit with hands-on experience unique to the area while meeting the locals?

For those who want a unforgettable special trip to Takachiho, we recommend a experience tour where you together with locals learn about the Gokasho Plateaus protected rare plants and animal life, taking place on November 4th 2023.

What is the Gokasho Plateau?

The Gokasho Plateau in Takachiho is a highland area on the west side of Mount Sobo with an average altitude of 800 m. The area has excellent grassland with many valuable plants and insects that live and grow only here! Biodiversity has been protected by livestock farming, which is one of the industries in the area. The Sanshudai is a spectacular spot where Mount Sobo, Mount Aso and Mount Kusumi can be seen at the same time.

Biodiversity protected by a sustainable agroforestry system

The 4.7 ha of grassland has been maintained by the livestock farmers in the area through mowing and burning for the production of fodder. The grasslands, which have been maintained through these livestyles, are home to rare plants and animals such as the Lilium concolor (Currently endangered, Ministry of the Environment Red List), for which the Gokasho Plateau is the southern limit in Japan, as well as the Veronicastrum and the Scarce large blue butterfly ‘Goma shijimi’ and a butterfly from the Pieridae-family called ‘Himejiro’, all of which can only be found in the Aso region and on this plateau. In fact, throughout the whole world the Asotakarakou, can only be found in the Aso region and the Gokasho plateau.

  • Reason for the sites to be recognition as World Agricultural Heritage sites.
  • This highland area in an excellent grasslands with valuable plants and insects that live and grow only here.
  • Satoyama areas important for biodiversity conservation.
  • Transitional area for Mt Sobo,  Katamuki, Okue UNESCO Eco-Park

 

Guardian of the grasslands

  • The Gokasho Plateau is home to valuable flora and fauna, but in recent years the number of plants and animals living on the grasslands has declined for various reasons.

In particular,

  • The maintenance of the grassland cycle, which has been protected by livestock farming, is becoming more difficult due to the decline in the number of livestock farmers.
  • Damage to the area due to birds and animals feeding such as deers.

The members of the Gokasho Plateau Gomahime Grassland Protection Society are working to protect the grasslands and the rare flora and fauna that live here, in order to pass in on to future generations.

They are involved in grass-cutting work on behalf of the ageing livestock farmers in the region and work to prevent animal damage caused by deer and wild boar, as well as the UNESCO Eco Park environmental conservation activities.

What you will experience on this tour

1. Knowledge

Learn about the rare plants that have been protected with this special lifestyle of the region

  • The Gokasho Plateau Gomahime Grassland Preservation Society will share their stories of agriculture livelihoods on the Gokasho Plateau. The rare plants that have been protected due to this lifestyle in the UNESCO Eco-Park will be introduced in detail.

2. Experience

Experience the ‘Kariboshikiri’, a traditional way of farming for this region that protects the area.

Mowing is essential for maintaining the grasslands and the ecosystems of rare flora and fauna, but on this tour you can also experience the traditional farm work of ‘Kariboshikiri’.

What is Kariboshikiri?
Kariboshikiri is the process of cutting wild grass on mountain slopes and drying them in the sun for winter fodder for livestock. The cut grass is then piled in small piles on the spot and called ‘tobi’, which is transported when needed and stored in the barn to provide feed for livestock during the long winter.

University students experiencing the ‘Kariboshikiri’♪

3. Taste

Lunch includes buckwheat dumpling soup and millet rice with plenty of highland vegetables from Gokasho.

In Gokasho highland’s unique high-cool climate and special soil close to Mt Aso, vegetables and grains such as buckwheat and millet are also being produced.

 

New rice and highland vegetables from Gokasho will be presented♪

 

About the tour

  • Date and time: Saturday 4 November 2023, 9:00-14:00
  • Participation fee: 3,000 yen
  • Meeting place: Gokasho Plateau Himeyuri Centre, Gokasho Community Centre (1666-4 Gokasho, Takachiho-cho, Nishi-usuki-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture)

To apply, open the link in the square below:

For further information, please contact:

  • DHE Corporation, Sato
  • Phone:0982-72-5048 ※Takachiho Co-Creation Corporation’s number
  • Mail:takachihotour@dhe.co.jp

See the information leaflet for more details on the content.

 

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