Takegashima Renewal Project
Protecting the Great Nature of the Beautiful Holy Takegashima
Takegashima Island is located within a national park that has a walking path called "Shikoku no Michi", or “Shikoku Road”, toward the top of the island. However, due to the aging and depopulation of the island, people no longer come to visit, maintenance started to fall to the wayside, and the entire island somehow turned into a jungle. The summit of the island is an ancient wolf smoke tower, which provided a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean for the islanders long ago. But now, trees and weed forests have covered the area around the summit over the years, making it impossible to see the ocean at all. In addition, fallen trees, dead trees, and falling rocks blocked Shikoku Road . Trees were also cut down without permission, and tree stumps were left everywhere, covered with weeds and vines, and became a home for insects and snakes. The island had become a far cry from the beautiful island it once was, and it should be a place that people could visit with peace of mind.
Tokushima Prefecture was supposed to be responsible for the maintenance of the island since Takegashima Island is located within a national park. However, the national park covers a large area, and Tokushima Prefecture does not have the budget or time to maintain an island that doesn’t bring in tourists. Therefore, in order to clean and beautify Takegashima, a five-year project to clean the island began in 2015 with the help of volunteers. As a result, Shikoku's roads have been cleaned and fallen trees were cleared away, making it safe to walk anywhere on the island. In addition, since the bamboo grove, the pride of Takegashima, was devastated by weeds and fallen cedar trees, the area around the grove was also renewed and the bamboo grove was restored to its original pristine state.
In order to protect the wild beauty of Takegashima and ensure that people can visit the island at any time without worry, it is necessary to have a person or team of people who regularly maintain and manage the island. Not only volunteers, but also with the understanding and cooperation of the government, we hope to preserve Takegashima in its natural state so that more people can experience the beauty of the island in the future. In order to realize the importance of this measure, it is important to first learn about the splendor of Takegashima and its venerable history.
Depopulation Caused by Aging Population and the Declining Birthrate
As a venerable ancient sacred site, Takegashima has been preserved to this day to house the rock formation that serves as the inner sanctuary of the Takegashima Shrine, and we hope that the island will forever radiate a glorious aura of nature overlooking the Pacific Ocean. However, there is a permanent shortage of manpower to maintain the island and a mountain of other problems.
The border between Tokushima and Kochi prefectures contains many towns that are facing a declining birthrate and an aging population. If this trend continues, the island's population may flatten to zero in 20 years. The number of tourists visiting Takegashima has already plummeted, and the number of visitors to the marine jam operated by Kaiyo Town has also declined. Nowadays, the number of tourists exploring Shikoku Road is no more than a few per month, and countermeasures are urgently needed.
To reverse this trend, it is important to continue to send a message about the beauty and mystique of Takegashima. From the unparalleled beauty of the bamboo forests, to the history of faith associated with the sacred rock, to the eight-tiered terrace built at the center of the island, Takegashima is filled with breathtaking beauty. We hope that as many people as possible will come to experience this wonderful island.