Marimo, literally “ball seaweed”, also known as Japanese Moss Ball, is a rare species of green algae, growing into large green balls with a velvety appearance and are found naturally in a number of lakes in the world. The round shape of the Marimo is maintained by gentle wave action. As a result of photosynthesis, they float or sink in the water in response to light, and actually roll around on the bottom of the lake.
They are compared to the Earth in being green and round and in their need to rotate in order to receive light on all sides.
In Japan at Lake Akan a great effort is spent on the conservation of the lake balls. In 1920 they were declared a Japanese Natural Treasure and in 1950 the first of the annual Marimo Festival was celebrated.
The growth rate of a Marimo is only about 5mm per year. It is said that they can live for up to 200 years, which makes them an ideal family heirloom.
The Japanese believe that Marimo will bring good luck and see it as a symbol of everlasting love. It is also said that taking excellent care of your pet Marimo will make all your wishes come true...