Bijin Bayashi Forest
A ballroom of ladies veiled in the silhouettes of century-old beech trees.
? This location is in Niigata Prefecture — GaijinPot Travel’s No. 1 place to visit in 2018! ?
There is only one type of tree in Bijin Bayashi Forest, but a myriad of them turns the spot into a fairytale.
Extending across the Matsuguchi hills towards the west of Tokamachi City in southern Niigata Prefecture, Bijin Bayashi Forest houses a bizarre woodland of 90-year-old slender beech trees. These trees, which are the Japanese species of the beech, keep their posture by standing tall and gracefully like the silhouettes of beautiful women, or so it’s said. With the trees of all about the same height, it is not difficult to get lost in the “forest of beauties” — the literal translation of the Forest’s Japanese name.
Besides being a protected habitat for tens of species of wild birds, Bijin Bayashi Forest is a beloved photo point for photographers all over Japan, throughout the four seasons.
Different kind of beauty each season
During the first few months of the year when there is still snow lingering on the grounds of the forest, young leaf buds signal the coming of spring by emerging from below. As it warms up, the young buds extend and turn into a delightful green.
The forest is about 2℃ lower than the surrounding area even in summer, making it an excellent place to cool down after being swept by the Japanese humidity. As the leaves blonde and turn into a pile of yellow, orange and red, the forest becomes a tapestry of reddish brown beneath a golden canopy. Then is probably the peak season for photographers and visitors to the forest.
Very soon, the Niigata winter will dump blankets of snow, painting the tall beech ladies in white and transforming the forest into a winter wonderland. On fine days, snow sparkles in glossy silver under beams of sunlight.
From May to November, two vegetable stalls operate next to the Forest. Like a farmers’ market, the freshest vegetables of the season line up at the shopfront. Sometimes, you can even buy cheap handmade pottery from the stores. At any time of the year, Bijin Bayashi Forest is not to be missed as you tour around Tokamachi for its divine Mother Nature.