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Post-2. Natural vegetations and Neogene fossil sites in and around Nara, western Japan

Aug. 31- Sep. 3

Organizer: Arata Momohara (Chiba University)

Co-organizers: Minoru Tsukagoshi (Osaka Museum of Natural History), Chiyomi Yamakawa (Lake Biwa Museum), and Atsushi Okubo (Osaka City University).


Aug. 31. meet at 14 pm in the Osaka Museum of Natural History, Nagai (Osaka).

stay at Nagai, Osaka.

Sep. 1. visit the Early Miocene and middle Pliocene fossil sites in Iga Ueno (West Mie).

stay at Nara City.

Sep. 2. hike in mixed conifer-broadleaved forest with Sciadopitys in Mt. Odaigahara (South Nara)

stay at Nara City,

Sep. 3. hike in evergreen broadleaved forest in Mt. Kasuga (Nara City)

finish at about 15 pm at JR Nara Station  


Central Kinki areas of western Japan are one of the areas where the Neogene and Quaternary paleobotany and stratigraphy in Japan have been most well-studied. Plant macrofossil collections in the Osaka Museum of Natural History including Professor Shigeru Miki’s collection give an overview of floral changes in Japan since the Neogene. The Middle Pliocene sediments of the Kobiwako Group in Iga Ueno reveals a paleo-ecosystem of the first stage of an ancient lake leading to modern Lake Biwa with plant and molluscan fossils and elephant footprints. We can see the Early Miocene marine sediments of the Awa Group yielding fossil whales, molluscs and leaf fossils. On the third day, we will visit a stand of Sciadopitys verticillata near the peak of Mt. Odaigagara (1,694 m) and see the modern habitat of the endemic tree. The mixed conifer-broadleaved forest along the hiking route is a cool temperate cloud forest dominated by Fagus crenata, Chamaecyparis obtusa, Abies homolepis, etc. Nara City is an ancient capital city established in AD 710 and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the historic monuments and a primeval forest of Mt. Kasuga. The primeval forest bordering Nara city is an evergreen broadleaved forest protected religiously for a long time. Here a climax forest dominated by Quercus subgen. Cyclobalanopsis, Castanopsis, and Lauraceae can be observed.

Expenses: 46,000 JPY; including hotels, rental bus charges, and meals; excluding transportation between Tokyo and Osaka 

Maximum Number of Participants: 20

Additional Information:

It is necessary to carry rainwear to avoid getting drenched from sudden shower during hiking (6 km) on Mt. Odaigahara (mean monthly precipitation in August is ca.700mm).

The bullet train is the most convenient transport between Tokyo and Osaka (ca. 4 hours from Tokyo to Nagai, 14,050JPY). Midnight highway buses are also available between Tokyo and Osaka (4,300 JPY).

Return way for Tokyo takes for 3.5 hours (14.050JPY) with the bullet train.

Airport Buses are available from Nara to Kansai International Airport (1.5 hours, 2.000JPY).

Sciadopitys verticillata in Mt. Odaigahara

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