Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar 2012
Colors of the Seasons: Japan’s Scenic Beauty
Japan is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty that changes from season to season. In the warmth of spring, flowers blooming and blossoming in myriad colors delight the eye, while refuge can be found from the strong rays of the summer sun in the refreshing air of verdant forests. By and by, autumn foliage takes on brilliant hues as clear streams flow through mountain ravines, and with the advent of winter, snows gradually cover the mountains from their peaks to their bases.
Our calendar for the year 2012 is again devoted to the scenic beauty of Japan and its seasons. All of the photographs herein were taken in Gunma Prefecture, which is home to Shin-Etsu Group plants that manufacture our major products and laboratories that are engaged in research and development.
Shin-Etsu Group places the prime importance on safety and the environment, and it is our sincere wish to help maintain and preserve the splendor of Japan’s natural beauty for the sake of future generations. Indeed, the colors of the seasons are symbols of hope for all our tomorrows.
January & February:
Shibutoge Pass / Gunma
Shibutoge Pass can be found in the northwestern part of Gunma Prefecture, on the boundary it shares with Nagano Prefecture. In the past, a great many people and contemporary commodities traversed back and forth along the road through the pass. At present, the pass serves as a vital link for sightseers traveling between Kusatsu and the Shiga Plateau. The pass is situated between Mt. Yokote and Mt. Shirane at a height of 2000 meters, affording a bird’s-eye view of Kusatsu and the Shiga Plateau, and in the far distance can be seen soaring mountains in both Gunma and Nagano. The sight of the soft sunlight spreading through the skies soothes the spirits.
March & April:
Yoshino Cherry Trees and Creeping Phlox Plants / Gunma
Said to have been created by crossbreeding Oshima cherry trees with Edohigan cherry trees, Yoshino cherry trees started gaining in popularity during the beginning of the Meiji Period and have since become one of the most well-known types of cherry tree. Densely blanketing the ground, perennial creeping phlox plants are known in Japanese as “grass cherry blossoms”, but are not actually related to cherry trees. Here, the phlox flowers painting the ground below seem to compete with the cherry blossoms tinting the skies above, creating a rapturous spring vision.
May & June:
Hocchi River / Gunma
Considered to be one of Gunma’s most beautiful rivers, the Hocchi River flows into the Usune River, a tributary of Japan’s second longest river, the Tone. Its waters provide the nutrients both for abundant fish that swim in its streams, and for the multicolored plants and trees that are found along its banks. Not only does it foster a wide variety of life, the river also provides impressive scenery as it winds its way through the landscape. In this refreshing scene, strikingly beautiful green leaves subtly harmonize with the river’s surface, which is cloud-like in appearance.
July & August:
Black Pine Forest / Gunma
Highly resistant to ocean breezes and drying out, sturdy Japanese black pines are evergreens which are often planted near ocean shores to serve as protection against the tides and landslides. It’s unusual to find them in inland locations, but in Gunma they have been planted over a wide area on the southern face of Mt. Akagi since the end of the Edo Period. The black pine trees stand out against the blue of the sky, and the crisp air of the silent forest is truly refreshing.
September & October:
Teriha Gorge / Gunma
Teriha Gorge is situated along one of the tributaries of the Tone River in the northern part of Gunma. The source of the Tone River can be found in this area, and eleven waterfalls named by the poet Shuoshi Mizuhara dot the landscape, including Iwana Falls, Echo Falls, Jade Falls, and Higurashi Falls. The gorge is called the Oirase Gorge of the Kanto Region. The vivid colors of the fall season are captivating, and the scenery created by the rapids, the falls, and the autumn leaves is truly lovely.
November & December:
Mount Myogi / Gunma
Located in the southwest part of Gunma, Mt. Myogi is, along with Mt. Akagi and Mt. Haruna, one of the three peaks that have been affectionately called the Jomo Mountains by the local populace since olden times. Because weirdly shaped rocks and boulders have formed here due to weathering and erosion, the area is ranked with Yaba Valley in Oita Prefecture and Kanka Valley in Kagawa Prefecture as one of Japan’s three strangest. Forms shaped by the strong forces of nature are lightly covered in snow, cheerfully signaling the arrival of the winter season.