Oze: A Mountain Marshland *RERUN
Ozegahara, at an altitude of 1,400m, is the largest and highest wetland on Japan's main island of Honshu. Located in a National Park, the rare ecosystem of Oze is also a Special Protection Area. Every year, around 300,000 hikers flock to Oze. The unique marshlands are home to around 300 species of grasses and flowering plants, including the white skunk cabbage. In Oze, spring, summer and autumn are compressed into the 5 months between mid-May and mid-October. During that brief period, plants bud, flower and bear fruit. We explore the beauty of Oze's four seasons.

A Mountain Marshland

Ozegahara is a high-altitude marshland. To protect the unique, local ecosystem, the marsh is crisscrossed by a network of wooden boardwalks 60km long. While hikers can enjoy much of Oze's beauty from these paths, we fly a miniature helicopter away from the paths to glimpse some of the beautiful scenery that often lies hidden from visitors.

Mizubasyo (Japanese Skunk Cabbage)

The flowers of the Mizubasyo (Japanese skunk cabbage), which herald the arrival of spring, are a symbol of Oze. As the temperature in Oze is low throughout the year, the local soil is composed of peat. Peat contains only a limited amount of nutrients and oxygen, making it a difficult environment for plants to spread their roots. Oze's Mizubasyo (Japanese skunk cabbages) are distinguished by the long roots which the plants use to obtain the oxygen it needs directly from the air.

The Wetlands' Riches

An elderly couple, who moved to the mountains decades ago as pioneers, live closer to Oze than anyone else. At first, the pioneers fought against the environment, but they were eventually saved by crops that grow only in the wetlands. The elderly couple now lives peacefully, in harmony with nature, in a small house that was only connected to the electricity grid 10 years ago.