Conservation at the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute
Nippon Shinyaku’s Yamashina Botanical Research Institute was first opened in 1934 as the Yamashina Pilot Farm. It has since cultivated and conserved over 3,000 plant species, including Seriphridium maritimum (Artemisia maritima, commonly known as “sea wormwood”), the active ingredient of Santonin, an ascaricide that has largely contributed to Nippon Shinyaku’s business development. The Research Institute has also cultivated and conserved herbal and useful plants collected from around the world and plants that are objects of global concern for their possible imminent extinction, such as Welwitschia mirabilis.
At the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute, we value research into cultivation from the perspective of biodiversity conservation. We participate in the local activities aimed at the preservation of rare plants native to Kyoto. For example, we are active in the protection and propagation of futaba aoi (Asarum caulescens Maxim.) and kikutani-giku (Chrysanthemum seticuspe).
Protection of endangered species
At the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute, we carry out activities designed to protect internationally recognized endangered plant species and those designated as endangered species by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. We organize guided tours at the Institute on themes related to these plants.
The plants conserved and cultivated at the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute include over 160 species that are the botanical origins of herbal medicines recorded in the Japanese Pharmacopoeia, numerous internationally recognized endangered species, such as Welwitschia mirabilis, and those recognized as being in danger of extinction by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.
We attach great importance to research into cultivation from the perspective of biodiversity conservation. We participate in the local activities for the preservation of rare plants native to Kyoto. For example, we are active in the protection and propagation of futaba aoi (Asarum caulescens Maxim.) and kikutani-giku (Chrysanthemum seticuspe).
Contribution to Biodiversity Contribution
Cultivation and dedication of futaba aoi (Asarum caulescens Maxim.)
Nippon Shinyaku participates in the Aoi Project, a campaign launched by a general incorporated association established to preserve futaba aoi (Asarum caulescens), which is used in the Aoi Festival, one of the three major traditional festivals of Kyoto. Nippon Shinyaku takes part in the cultivation and ritual dedication of the plant for the festival. The number of futaba aoi growing in Kyoto has been rapidly decreasing in recent years. In July 2020, we dedicated 150 pots of futaba aoi, which we had cultivated from seeds for three years.
* In 2009, the Aoi Project was registered under the umbrella of the “Heritage for the Future” movement of the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan.
Protection and cultivation of fuji bakama (Eupatorium japonicum)
Fuji bakama (Eupatorium japonicum) is an age-old volunteer plant native to Kyoto (original wild species) designated by Kyoto Prefecture as being in danger of extinction. At the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute, we protect and cultivate this rare species. We also use fuji bakama as an example in our awareness-raising program for visitors on the theme of botanical diversity.
Appreciation by External Parties
Aboc CULTA Award
In 2017, Nippon Shinyaku was honored with the Aboc CULTA Award by the Japan Association of Botanical Gardens for its achievement of popularizing the scientific names of some plants.
Kyoto City’s Kagayaki Award and Special Kagayaki Award
In 2019, the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute was nominated for commendation by Kyoto City for local companies that make outstanding achievements in specific categories. The company received the Kagayaki Award and Special Kagawaki Award.
The commendation system was instituted based on the Kyoto City Ordinance on the Promotion of Sustainable Development by Local Businesses established in April 2019. The awards are presented to local companies recognized as pursuing their business activities while nurturing deep ties with the local communities through contribution to general safety and security, activities leading to the preservation of cultural assets, natural environmental protection, and so forth.
With its collection of over 3,000 botanical species as its foundation, the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute regularly organizes tours, seminars, herb dyeing workshops for elementary school students, and other activities aimed at raising the general public’s awareness of the importance of biodiversity.
The Yamashina Botanical Research Institute is also active in the cultivation and propagation of rare plants that have been growing in Kyoto since the old days, such as futaba aoi (Asarum caulescens Maxim.) and kikutani-giku (Chrysanthemum seticuspe), as well as endangered species, thereby contributing to the preservation of cultural legacies and the natural environment in the region. The Research Institute also actively pursues community service programs, including, for example, the periodic cleanup of the Yamashina River to alleviate local water pollution.
Recognized as a Kyoto Biological & Cultural Regeneration Project
In 2019, the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute was officially recognized and registered as the executor of a Kyoto Biological & Cultural Regeneration Project. It is a voluntary project that an organization launches to preserve and regenerate any rare animals or plants that have a distinctive place in traditional Kyoto culture. Kyoto City screens applicant organizations and their projects based on the city’s original Biodiversity Conservation Plan for official recognition and registration.
In the Project, the Yamashina Botanical Research Institute promotes the preservation of plants, such as okera (Atractylodes ovata), fuji bakama (Eupatorium japonicum), and kikyo (Platycodon grandiflorus), which are inseparable from Kyoto’s traditional cultural landscape. In addition, the Research Institute actively promotes the preservation of endangered plants registered in Kyoto Prefecture’s Red Book and organizes related educational and awareness-raising activities.