The exhibit has pine specimens, a microscope, a pine instrument and other items related to Miho no Matsubara.
Aerial photograph of Miho
Direct your attention to the large aerial photograph. This photograph is an aerial view of the entire area of Miho no Matsubara. Nearly all of this view is what has been registered as a World Heritage Site.
Miho was formed by the ocean washing sand to its shore. Sadly, it's also a place where trash from the ocean easily collects on the coast line.
In order to keep Miho no Matsubara beautiful, local volunteers pick up trash along the coast and clear away pine needles below the pine groves.
To protect the beautiful scenery, Shizuoka city for many years enacted countermeasures for Pine Wilt Disease and in 2017 was able to reduce its harmful effects. In recent years efforts have been made to restore old growth trees and prevent falling trees.
In addition, there are people who want to promote and preserve cultural arts such as Noh performance about Miho no Matsubara along with court music and dance at Miho no Matsubara.
Exhibit Case (Living creatures of Matsubara)
Direct your attention to the insect specimens. This is an introduction to the living creatures that can be seen at Miho no Matsubara.
Long ago, the local people used fallen pine needles and branches as fuel for daily life. However, with the advent of electric and gas services, pine needles and rotting branches fell untended to and this "excess fuel" mixed with the land to make a very rich soil.
As a result, weeds and brush increased, which made it difficult for sunlight to pass through. This became a punishing environment for the pine trees to survive in.
Natural transitions would not move forward without the help of volunteers that preserve Matsubara by picking up fallen pine needles and branches. The grasses that can be seen at Matsubara, the insects and the varieties of mushrooms are all indicators of the conditions in the area.
Exhibit Case (Pine cones)
Look at all of the pine cones displayed here.
There are around 100 different varieties of pine trees, but did you know that with each variety comes a pine cone that is equally unique in shape, size and other qualities?
It is quite clear that the American Sato Pine and the Japanese Nanbu Red pine are very different in size. The pine cone from the Banks Pine tree, is normally in a curled form, but when a fire rages nearby, it uncurls and seeds are released. There are also many ways in which seeds from a pine cone are spread around. The seeds of a Black Pine are small, so with the help of wind, they are sent in different directions. The seeds of a Korean Pine are quite large, so it is the job of squirrels and birds to carry them about.
Which pine cone interests you? Next, head to the exhibition room that includes a microscope.
"A pine that people all over the world are familiar with"
"That living thing known as the pine"
This is the microscope corner. Here you will learn about the ecology of the pine tree.
The pine trees ever so close to us fulfill so many functions: they appear in children's tales; they are our World Heritage; they are the pine trees that produce those large pine cones. In the world there are around one hundred kinds in existence. In each environment, the shape and size change, and possessing individuality, they live in abundance.
One of the special characteristics of "That living thing known as the Pine" is that it lives in symbiosis with mushrooms called the Rhizopogon Roseolus, Matsutake and Mycorrhizal fungi.
The Mycorrhizal fungi wrap Mycelium around the roots of the pine to make Mycorrhizal, while providing water and nutrients to the pine.
In exchange, the fungi gets sugars that the pine produces in photosynthesis. Freely and carefully observe the specimens through the microscope.
A photograph of Miho sand at the microscopic level
A root specimen stripped from the soil
Look at actual pine roots in the glass case. Do you know what the difference between Pine roots and other tree's roots is? These thick roots grow long and vertically.
Underground water levels in Miho are quite deep, and as a result roots can stretch very far. Looking at the real thing, you can see how the pine does all it can to steadily grab the sand and firmly stretch out its roots.
Sadly though, this pine lost its life in a fight against another pine. Even with such wonderfully stretched out roots, it still was not enough to survive.
"Pine Wilt Disease Countermeasures"
Proceed to the space to the right of the root exhibit.
Here, a pine's enemy will be introduced. This is the pine nosai nematode. About one millimeter in length, this tiny creature invades the internal young branches of pines as they are being chewed on by a type of long-horned beetle called the mottled long horn pine beetle. These nematodes cause pines to wither away. The nematodes move within the branches using pine resin as pathways, causing a terrible reaction.
Due to their presence, water is unable to run freely between roots and leaves, thus causing blight. The abnormal response mechanism remains unknown.
In order to prevent this nematode disease, rotted out wood is thoroughly cleared away, and the nematode-carrying long horn beetles are exterminated.
In addition, new methods of prevention, such as introducing natural enemies of the long horn beetle to the environment, are currently being researched.
On the table you can see a few specimens. First, the long-horned pine beetle courier. Next the eggs, followed by the maturing larvae. Finally, the adult emerging and escaping from the branch. Take your time to observe these specimens.
Look at the upper right of this panel. In order to maintain Matsubara, a variety of things are being done to preserve it.
The pine is a tree which is able to grow in nutrient-impoverished wilderness areas. As pines mature they add much to the soil and so other trees and shrubs grow as well. Ironically, due to the increased growth of other plants, the number of pine trees decline because they do not receive enough sunlight.
This phenomenon of natural change known as "transition" must be halted to protect Matsubara.In the past, the soil never became rich because of the influence of typhoons and tsunami as well as the fact that locals collected pine needles and branches for fuel.
Pinewood nematode feeding scene etc…
Direct your attention to the image on the monitor.
This is an introduction to activities at Miho no Matsubara being done to protect the area and the pine tree's natural enemy, the pine nematode, shown at feeding time. It looks as if it were gulping down a tapioca drink, doesn't it? The nematode's courier, the long horn beetle, is on the terrace and the white shed. Between June and July it might be possible to see these in adult form. Also, the three bonsai by the terrace are representatives of three different species of pine. Notice their differences by observing and delicately touching them.
Heading up to the roof from the terrace, you can see much of Matsubara including the ocean and Mt Fuji.
"A special pine in Miho no Matsubara"
Proceed to the front of the stump. This is an introduction to the pines of Miho no Matsubara.
“The miracle pine” that survived the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake in Rikuzen Takata City, Iwate Prefecture, and in doing so has provided moral support to those people who also survived, is a nephew (The pine raised from a seedling collected from Takata Matsubara before the great earthquake) of the "Hagoromo Pine" whose wings were bestowed upon it by a celestial maiden.
The stump in the foreground is called "Ryu no Matsu" or Dragon Pine in English, and is the largest pine tree along the Kami no michi. The tree looked like a coiled up dragon, but unfortunately, with many tears it had to be cut down due to a crack in the trunk.
Despite this, the roots of the pine have not been consumed by insects or bacteria. This unusual state has allowed for ring age analysis, and so we now know that the tree has lived for more than 257 years. The tree is loved by so many people who walk along the Kami no michi.
A musical instrument made from pine
Direct your attention to the musical instruments in the central area. Here, open your ears to the music playing in the room.
This song is performed with instruments made of pines that had to be felled at Miho no Matsubara.
These instruments have not been tuned to a "do re me" scale. In addition, on a normal xylophone, low tones are heard from the left, but on this instrument, tones are ordered in reverse. Please enjoy this not simply as a tool to play music, but rather as the true or genuine sound of pine from Miho.
Why not try your hand at playing the instrument while soaking in its soft and warm vibrations?