Japan is considered to have one of the closest, most intimate, and harmonious relationships between man and nature in the modern world. It is a well-rooted Japanese tradition to love nature unconditionally, take care of nature continuously, and pass this genuine affection to future generations responsibly.
Japan is fortunate to have many natural environments that are still mostly untouched by humans. Japan consists of over 6,000 islands along approximately 3,000 km, which results in natural diversity accompanied by four distinct seasonal changes. The climate also varies to a great extent from the north (with moderate summers) to the subtropical southern part of the country.
Located atop the edge of several tectonic plates, most of Japan's mountains are of volcanic origin. Japan is also one of the world's most heavily forested countries, and it has two ecosystems: deciduous forest and tropical rainforest. About 73% of Japan is covered by mountains from which the upper reaches of most of the Japanese rivers emerge. These rivers not only enable the Japanese to cultivate rice fields, but they also carry a measureless amount of nutrition to other parts of the country, which encourages local flora to flourish.
Seaweeds varieties like wakame contain an excellent combination of highly valuable nutrients that are carried from the Japanese mountains, through crystal-clear Japanese rivers, to the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean encompasses the seasonal mountain vegetables and the ocean botanicals that provide nutrition, hydration and feed the culture of Japan.
The most widely known Japanese plant is the cherry tree, the Sakura. Still, Japanese pine and cedar trees are also extremely popular and create spectacular scenery across the whole country, including the warm southern regions. People in Japan used to see symbols of the divine spirit in plants and trees, and pines are still considered to be holy trees.
Japanese nature is a powerful source of inspiration, imagination, and creativity for the Japanese people, who delight in celebrating their environment in its purity and authenticity. There are exquisite seasonal festivals organized around the country, such as cherry blossom-viewing, moon-viewing, and snow-viewing festivals, as an appreciation of everything Mother Nature is willing to share with them. Japanese people do not hold back their creativity when it comes to this act of celebration! There is also a practice of decorating the entrances of houses with pine branches at New Year's known as kadomatsu.
Behind each of these practices is more than just elegance and resourcefulness, there is a conscious presence of infinite love towards Mother Earth from which we can all learn and benefit. The rule of thumb: "What you plant now, you will harvest later," runs throughout the quality of our lives, sometimes even more than we're aware. Loving nature doesn't cost anything, and so much happiness lies in it.
Hydration is life!