Another inhabitant of Ohta river worth special remarks is ''Ohsansho Uo'', or giant salamander. Growing to a meter in length, they are the largest, and one of the most ancient amphibians alive on the planet. Preserving the pristine environment for them is a duty and a privilege of us.
Broad-leaved trees hold water much better than coniferous ones. A 100 years old adult beech can store up to 1 ton of water in its roots. They also provide the wildlife with a means of subsistence while enriching the soil in a macro perspective. We can only regret having traded such valuable assets for transient commodities.

Trekking deeper into the valleys of Yoshiwa, we can still find age old 'dog beech' and other siblings. Although they grow nowhere near as grand as 'Buna' beech, they often form interesting contours to entertain the visitors.
Deep into the upper reach of sharp chiseled valley, in the cold, gin clear waters we find 'Iwana', a Japanese char. These char in the western part of Honshu carry characteristic white spots on their back.
Princess of stream is a courtesy title we dedicate to 'Amego', who greets and flirts with us so charmingly that we have to go back begging for their love day after day!

Interestingly, some genetic group of Amego trout descend down to the sea like Salmon. They typically spend half a year in the sea, before coming back as 'Satsukimasu', literally, 'May trout'. Their happies days have gone, but with the conservation effort of recent decades, they are making a modest come back.
The small streams join one another to form a river. And here on a bright sunny afternoon, she begins her 100km long journey down to the sea.

- Ohta river - middle section

105kms in length, Ohta originates in the mountains of 'Yoshiwa', north western corner of Hiroshima prefecture. The distance from the population center, albeit modest, kept streams here in the margins of relentless development - so far.

Green canopy of thick vegetation shelters the stream from the sky. Even the omnipresent jingling of cicadas echo in distance. Deep in the bottom of a valley, a mystic silence rules.
The official birth place of Ohta river is Kanmuriyama, the second tallest mountain of Hiroshima at 1,339m above sea. You can visit the monument proclaiming the nature reserve where re-forestation effort is starting to bear fruits.

In the post-war industrialization era, large portion of wild forest were cut down to produce charcoal. In their places they planted furs and pines, which grows faster and stands upright, therefore commercially more valuable. It took us years to realize the reduced productivity of the sea was attributed to the disappearance of Buna (beech) trees. Sobering to know the oyster fishermen nowadays are the major activists planting trees up in the mountains. None of us are irrelevant. We are part of it.
Once prosperous logging industry has all practically gone, those few people venturing thus far are either seasoned locals harvesting Wasabi herbs, or us the recreational visitors.

Even in a world that seems so detached, we occasionally come across to the footsteps of our ancestors - a rotten log bridge, or a stone wall buried in bush. Hands placed on those artifacts we close our eyes for a moment. And then, we sometimes hear those gentle voices greeting us . . .
In Chugoku range west of Japan, there are no alpine peaks to nurture great rivers. The coastline along the inland sea, Setonaikai as it's called, is one of our nation's major population center. The city of Hiroshima alone has over a million population, so the pressure we create on our lifeline is significant.

But there are rising public awareness also, for the future of our rivers, and that of our own. I for one would like to contribute to this worthy movement. With that as a preface, allow me to introduce you the provider of Hiroshima, Ohta river.
Ohta - upper section