Japan found – Shikoku and beyond
Posted on 27th Aug 2019 by Bob Heffill

In Chapter 2, IYA VALLEY In Praise of Shadows, in Alex Kerr’s book Lost Japan (Lonely Planet, 1996), Alex says ‘This brings me to the dark side of the fairy tale of Iya Valley. When I first entered Iya twenty-five years ago, Japan’s systematic environmental destruction was already becoming visible … When my friend asks me, where can you go to escape the billboards, electric wires, and concrete?”, I am at a loss for an answer.’

I understand where Alex was coming from. My extensive travels around Japan over the last 40 years have sometimes left me feeling there is indeed little hope for the environment in Japan.

However, the images on our website, pictures taken all over Japan over the last 18 years, suggest that the impact on the environment and landscapes from the dark forces of big business and uncaring government may not be quite as bleak as one might imagine.

There are many areas of outstanding natural beauty, and whilst they may be scattered, and not that obvious, there are signs of change. Here and there, moves to conserve and restore the countryside and mountains give me hope, as do the people who really care about the environment and sustainable development in Japan.

Following the present tourist boom, when the Rugby World Cup this year, and the Olympic Games next year, have come and gone, I hope to see an ongoing effort to improve the infrastructure in place for inbound tourism, and a doubling of the energy devoted to sustaining, restoring, and respecting the natural environment.

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