Save Lake Kiba

Everyone knows that the Shinkansen is coming to Hokuriku. But do you know that the Shinkansen line as planned will destroy one of the last nature reserves on the coast line, the Lake Kiba (木場潟)? Imagine a beautiful lagoon, with walking path around it, playgrounds, no traffic, views onto Hakusan, lots of people enjoying, relaxing, breathing fresh air every day. And now, imagine just along the coast a Shinkansen track, concrete walls, noise, views lost. Imagine the construction works that will be needed. If you think this is a shame, and we should protect this area, read on.

(日本人はここここを見て下さい)

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The Lake Kiba, a lagoon, lies in the area of Komatsu city, between the hills starting to go up to Hakusan and the city center. You can appreciate its beauty by visiting it at any time of the year, or visit this blog for incredible photos. There are parks at all for ends, a hiking path all around the lake, with playgrounds, sakura trees, rest places, nature spots. All kind of animals gather around the lake, hardly disturbed by the recreation seeking guests. But how long will this remain? The Shinkansen line threatening this area was planned about 20, if not more, years ago. At a time when the population structure of Ishikawa was very different. When the JAIST was founded in 1990, the view from the buildings was onto wide flats of rise paddies. Imagine that in Nonoichi where nowadays shopping malls line up, at that time there were rice paddies. Same in Hakusan, Komatsu, most of Hokuriku. But this has changed. And instead of reevaluating the Shinkansen track, and worse, without even properly informing the general public about the tracks, the Shinkansen line is being build.

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The concrete walls have already arrived in Kanazawa, and works are underway to extended them via Matto and Komatsu to Fukui. Those living here in Hokuriku know well that the coast line is loosing nature reserves at high speed. New buildings pop up every day, rise paddies are disappearing, and with all the nature gone, also the animals, the bio-diversity. We are well aware that Hokuriku needs a good connection, but there are other options then destroying the Lake Kiba:

  • Move the Shinkansen line parallel to the current Hokuriku line, closer to the sea
  • stop the Shinkansen at Kanazawa, and instead use the huge amount of money to upgrade/improve the Hokuriku line to Fukui and Maibara: Why spending billions of Yen for a new train line with a time win between Kanazawa and Maibara of less than 30min (guess)? Why not improve the Hokuriku line to Maibara, from where one can change to the Shinkansen?

Imagine how the Lake Kiba and it surrounding will look like when the line is being build? Can you do it? Here are a few mock-up photos how it might look:

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Is this what we want to have? But there is hope – a small group of people are trying to make this ignorance and crazyness more public, to mobilize opposition, to rescue our Lake Kiba.

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Let us hope that we can still stop the Shinkansen – you can help – spread the word!

(Photos are courtesy of KIDA Tomoji)

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