Since fiscal 2021, GS Yuasa has been cultivating "Futaba-aoi (Scientific name; Asarum caulescens)", a plant native to Japan that supports Kyoto's culture, on the plant's premises and dedicating them to Kamigamo Shrine. In the same green space on the premises, we are also cultivating and displaying plants such as "Hiwogi (Scientific name; Iris domestica)”, which is on the Kyoto Prefecture's revised Red List 2022.
For these efforts, GS Yuasa has been accredited by the “Kyoto Living Things and Culture Collaborative Regeneration Project Recognition System”.
"Futaba-aoi" growing on the premises
What is "Futaba-aoi"?
It is endemic to Japan and has the characteristic of having two heart-shaped leaves, as its name suggests. The Aoi Matsuri, one of the three major festivals in Kyoto, is also known as the Aoi Matsuri, since "Aoi Katsura" or "Kikkei", which is made of twigs of Katsura with leaves of “Futaba-aoi”, the divine crest of Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, are decorated on court cars, imperial envoys and attendants' robes and crowns, etc. The festival is also known as the "Aoi Matsuri" because of the "Aoi Katsura" (or "Kikkei") decorated with the leaves of the“Futaba-aoi”, which is the name of the festival.
Although the "Futaba-aoi" has such a long history, its numbers are declining to the point of threatened extinction in some areas, and the number of native habitats is decreasing year by year in Kyoto as well. We are contributing to the conservation of this rare plant by participating in the " Futaba-aoi cultivation program*" organized by the "General Incorporated Foundation Aoi Project" located in Kamigamo Shrine.
*Futaba-aoi cultivation program:
The cultivation of Futaba-aoi in the "Aoi forest" in Kamigamo Shrine alone poses a high risk of damage by deer, moles, and other vermin, and of being disturbed by abnormal weather, etc. Therefore, a program to cultivate “Futaba-aoi” by outside parties (individuals, companies, etc.) is being implemented.
Aoi Katsura decorated at the Aoi Matsuri
Dedication of grown "Futaba-aoi" to Kamigamo Shrine
The “Futaba-aoi” grown by GS Yuasa were continuously dedicated to Kamigamo Shrine in 2022 and 2023. Part of the dedicated “Futaba-aoi” was used as "Aoi Katsura" for the Aoi Matsuri, and the rest was replanted in the “Aoi forest” on the Kamigamo Shrine grounds.
In FY2023, we are further expanding the scale of growing Dipterocarpaceae and have begun planting them in the ground in gardens on our business site.
Futaba-aoi's homecoming - when it was dedicated to Kamigamo Shrine
Started growing plants such as "Hiwogi", which has strong ties to Kyoto
In the green space within the Kyoto Plant, this year we began growing plants associated with Kyoto, such as "Hiwogi ", a perennial plant of the iris family.
The name "hiwogi" comes from its dense, sword-like flat, pointed leaves, which resemble the hinoki fan, a fan made of hinoki cypress used in the court. In Kyoto, it has long been a custom to arrange “Hiwogi” in the tokonoma (alcove) or at the entrance of a house together with kyokio (a type of Japanese bellflower) as "festival flowers" for the Gion Festival, and is closely related to the festival.
Its "Hiwogi" is also listed as a species on the verge of extinction in the Kyoto Prefecture's revised Red List 2022, and we believe that cultivating it in the green space on the site is of great importance in preserving biodiversity.
Rare plant species growing in the site's green space
GS Yuasa will continue its efforts to conserve biodiversity through the cultivation of rare plants and contribute to the realization of a sustainable society.