The aquatic scenery of Wakayama may be nothing special to residents.
To everyone else, however, this world of water is by no means ordinary.
"The aqua blue that surrounds you underwater in Wakayama is visible because it is the finest water with a high degree of transparency. Wakayama is a rare area even in a world with countless pure rivers." These are the words of nature photographer Ryu Uchiyama. He has photographed the world's fresh water environments, including those in Japan, of course, and also Africa's Lake Tanganyika and Russia's Lake Baikal. Drawn by the overwhelming beauty of its water, Mr. Uchiyama moved to Wakayama from Tokyo 18 years ago. He was surprised at the clear streams that exist, gurgling nearby as a natural part of daily life, and he captured their beauty in these photographs.
"The reason the water is this clean is that the Kii Peninsula has healthy water circulation. The water that rains down on the mountains passes through the forests, becomes a river and then pours into the ocean. That seawater then evaporates and becomes clouds, and then falls again as rain. Partly because Wakayama has heavy rains and abundant forests, this kind of circulation has been well-sustained. Moreover, the mountains and oceans are close, so that cycle is compact. There is no other place where you can see such clear water here and there. Your spirit is cleansed just by gazing upon such pure water. And I think if you go to the upper streams and experience the best water, you will be moved even more deeply. You will be be able to experience unknown landscapes, sounds and textures."
- Born in Tokyo in 1962. He is a nature photographer who has focused on living creatures related to (mainly fresh) water and their environments. After encountering the beautiful water of Wakayama, he moved to Shirahama, Wakayama, in 1999.
Top: A water drop. Location: Shirahama Town, Nishimuro-gun
In the damp Kinan region where lots of rain falls, when you set foot inside the forest you can immediately see moss and ferns with water dripping from them.
Bottom : Playing in a river. Location : Tanabe City(the Yasu-kawa River).
The sound of water flowing and vibration that resound throughout your body the minute you put on goggles and dive under water in the river are impressive.
- Young ayu fish swimming upstream from the ocean head for the upper streams. For creatures that go back and forth between the ocean and rivers, it is important for both environments to be preserved.
- Underwater at Takinohai Waterfall in early summer. At the river bottom where plenty of sunlight shines through, it is unexpectedly bright. The degree of transparency that allows you to survey the opposite shore is surprising.
- Gazing at deep-red leaves from underwater. The lens is completely underwater. But because of the purity of the water, the scenery above the water is clearly visible.
- It's hanami from underwater with the cherry blossoms that bloom in the mountains. In a clear river, you can encounter, from underwater, scenery that conveys the season.