Mount Kirishima is located in Kyushu, the third-largest island in Japan and home to some of Asia’s most active volcanoes. Saddled between the prefectures of Kagoshima and Miyazaki, the mountain range includes the peaks of Takachiho, which rise above an area steeped in legend and known for its natural beauty.
Hamaya Hiroshi took color photographs of the peaks in 1964. Previously, he had documented Japan’s rural “back coast” to compile a visual record of folk traditions and remote climates. For a brief period in the early 1960s, Hamaya covered the political upheaval in Tokyo and other urban areas. But he soon returned to the landscape and remained captivated by it throughout his life. His striking aerial photograph of Takachiho, a part of the country untouched by humanity and the encroaching environmental impact of modernization, is one example of his lifelong exploration of Japan’s natural world.