I grew up in the countryside. When I was 19 year old, I moved to the city, but at least once in a month I visited my home village. Right now, I live very far from the village I was raised in. And for many reasons I don’t have any necessity to return there anymore. Still every week I try to go to the countryside, at least for a day. Everything is different when you are far from the city. The sounds, the air, everything that is around you is not just about us, people, as it seems to be in a city - it is about something bigger and stronger, and yet - subtle and vulnerable - nature. If you want to make your own home coming and feel the power of nature in the most intensive way, you should visit lake Izunuma-Uchinuma.
Located in between Tome City and Kurihara City, lake Izunuma-Uchinuma is a home and a lodging to many species of birds and other animals. 236 different bird species are living there, or stopping over during their migration. Whooper swans, Greater White-fronted Geese and many more feel at home here, and usually don’t mind being watched by people (of course, from aside).
The lake is well-known for many beautiful flowers and plants as well. Indian lotuses, water snowflakes, fringed water-lilies and more are covering the lake, making it a real treat for the eyes. Colorful dragonflies and other insects fly around in warm seasons, and pretty little fish can be found in the shallow waters of the lake. No wonder that Izunuma-Uchinuma became the second site in japan to be registered under Ramsar Convention (the first one is Kushiro Wetlands in Hokkaido).
On the shore of the lake, there is a peculiar building, that reminds of a swan spreading its wings.
It is the Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma Sanctuary Center, where you can have a rest and see an impressive exposition presenting the biodiversity of the lake.
Or you can watch the lake through binoculars while staying inside the building.
But I strongly advise you to go outside just before the sunset. Multiple birds return to the lake from their daily activities. Loud greetings of the ones who have already returned are answered by those who are on the way. Swans are gracefully landing right on the surface of the lake. Geese are gathering together in small groups to find a place for a night. Many of them will soon fly hundreds of miles away, but today this is their home. And they are happy to return.
Maybe we should be more like the birds who treasure the place that offers them a home without being attached to it.