Mount Odaigahara, Mount Omine and Osugidani

©UNESCO/Mount Odaigahara, Mount Omine and Osugidani Biosphere Reserve
Mount Odaigahara, Mount Omine and Osugidani Biosphere Reserve

The Mount Odaigahara, Mount Omine and Osugidani Biosphere Reserve is located 60 km from the southern tip of Kyushu Island. The area includes several mountain ridges and the peaks of Mount Odaigahara 1,695 metres above sea level and Mount Omine 1,719 metres. The Biosphere Reserve exhibits sub-tropical and temperate rainforests with evergreen, and coniferous forests, temperate deciduous broadleaf forest, sub alpine coniferous forest and conifer plantations.

Most species of large mammals found in Japan inhabit this area. The high population of Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata fuscata) is second only to Yakushima Island. The total human population of the biosphere reserve is 14,317 inhabitants.

Designation Date: 1980 (extended in 2016)
Administrative authorities: Ministry of the Environment, Forestry Agency, Council for the Promotion of Conservation and Utilization of Mount Odaigahara and Mount Omine BR.
Surface Area: 118,330.7 ha
Core area(s): 5,397.6 ha
Buffer zone(s): 32,428.2 ha
Transition area(s): 80,504.9 ha

Location
Latitude:
34°00'30"N - 34°27'35"N
Longitude: 135°44'34"E - 136°33'11"E
Central point: 34°14'13"N - 136°03'51"E

Ecological Characteristics

©UNESCO/Mount Odaigahara, Mount Omine and Osugidani Biosphere Reserve
Mount Odaigahara, Mount Omine and Osugidani Biosphere Reserve

The area includes several mountain ridges and the peaks of Mount Odaigahara 1,695 metres above sea level and Mount Omine 1,719 metres. Many of the valleys are deep, with waterfalls up to 200 metres caused by geological uplifty and rejuvenation of the rivers. There is a clear vertical zonation of vegetation from the warm-temperate zone to the sub-alpine zone. The Biosphere Reserve exhibits sub-tropical and temperate rainforests with evergreen, and coniferous forests, temperate deciduous broadleaf forest, sub alpine coniferous forest and conifer plantations.

Large mammals such as Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Japanese serrow (Capricornis crispus) and sika deer (Cervus nippon) have been recorded, as well as 102 bird species including red-flanked bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) and Arctic warbler (Phylloscopus borealis).

The Mount Omine range, which straddles the core area and the buffer zone, has been designated as a World Cultural Heritage “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” by UNESCO.

Socio-economic characteristics

©UNESCO/Mount Odaigahara, Mount Omine and Osugidani Biosphere Reserve
Tea picking

The total human population of the expanded biosphere reserve is 14,317, with a trend of decrease in the population of children and an increase in the population of elderly people.

Main economic activities include tourism and agriculture The area’s users for tourism purposes include worshipers and mountain climbers. Local residents generate income from the tourism industry.

Since the introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century, the Kii Mountain Range has been the site of mountain ascetic practices, including the rites of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. Shugendo, which was established around the mid-10th century to the 11th century, has considered this mountainous region—particularly the Mount Omine range—the central location of ascetic practices.

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Last updated in February 2017

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