Tour the Village of Japan 7 Nosegawa Village, Nara Prefecture|電経新聞

Tour the Village of Japan 7 Nosegawa Village, Nara Prefecture

平家の里(Heike no Sato)

Nosakogawa Village, located in the southern part of Nara Prefecture, is the least populated municipality in Japan, excluding remote islands. The current population is 334 people. The aging rate is 52%.
I headed to Nosakawa Village in a rental car from JR Shin-Osaka Station. About 3 hours by car. After driving along a mountain road for about 30 minutes after crossing Mt. Koya, I came across a small village where 97% of the area was covered by forest.
The village is home to the Gojo Mine, and once flourished as a copper mine. At that time, more than 3,000 people were living there. Koya tofu (frozen tofu) is also famous, and about 130 factories were once in operation.
Nosakogawa Village has a tourist spot called “Heike no Sato” (official name: Taira no Koremori Historical Village). I had some time before my interview with village mayor Yoshii Yoshii, so I headed to Heike no Sato by car. After about 30 minutes of walking along a narrow mountain path next to a cliff, I started to wonder if there really was a village, when a small village spread out in front of me. This village is said to be the place where the Heike family lived in hiding after being defeated in the Genpei War, and it is also said to be the place where Taira no Koremori met his end.
When I saw this scene, I felt as if I had traveled back in time to the Heian period.
“Is this what elegance means?” As I slowly walked through the empty village, I was struck by its beauty. There is a saying that it is a place of scenic beauty in the world, and this village is also a place of scenic beauty in the world. It is a hidden scenic spot of the world that is hidden from the public.
”Actually, at the end of July every year in Heike no Sato, about 3,000 fireworks are set off for ”Taira no Koremori Grand Festival”. This is the village’s biggest event, and visitors come from as far away as Osaka and Wakayama.This summer is also a great success. Between 1,700 and 1,800 people attended, and the venue was packed”.
When I told him my impressions of Heike no Sato, Mayor Yoshii told me the following story. He then stated, ”Although it is a small village with a small population, we would like to revitalize the area while increasing the number of people visiting from outside the village through tourist content such as Taira no Koremori Grand Festival.”
Nosakogawa Village is also an area rich in tourist attractions. ”Kumano Pilgrimage Route Kohechi,” which was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 as “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountains,” runs through it.
It takes 6 hours to walk from Mt. Koya to Nosakawa Village. Tourists who want to relieve their fatigue often spend the night in Nosakawa Village. Then I headed to the neighboring village of Totsukawa.”Overseas inbound tourists are returning, and the current situation of hotels operated in the village is stable,” said Village Mayor Yoshii.
The sea of clouds is also famous. Surrounded by steep mountains with an average altitude of 700 meters, the village is dotted with spots where a sea of clouds is likely to appear throughout the year. The sea of clouds in Nosakogawa Village is below the road, so you can drive through and see the sea of clouds spreading out all over you.
Currently, a live camera has been installed at the Sea of Clouds scenic spot, allowing anyone to check the situation online.
Village Mayor Yoshii says, “In the past, many tourists contacted the government office to inquire about the status of the sea of clouds.By live-streaming the scenic spots, tourists will be able to check online, which will help reduce the burden on the government office”.
As demand for tourism has increased and the number of people interacting with each other has increased, the awareness of villagers has also changed. It is said that they are now operating farmhouses and old folk houses.
”I am very happy that the villagers are working on their own.The village would like to consider initiatives such as renovating abandoned vacant houses and renting them out as guest houses.In addition, we would like to consider initiatives such as renovating abandoned vacant houses and renting out the whole building as a guest house. I want to connect them”. (Mayor Yoshii)
The village operates ”Buna no Mori” a facility to promote migration and settlement in a renovated former elementary school. It can also be used for workdays.
In terms of the exchange population, we will also place emphasis on Yamamura parents and their children studying abroad. As the number of children in the village is decreasing due to population decline, the school accepts children from outside the village, from first graders of elementary school to second graders of junior high school and their parents.
Nosakawa Village’s main industry is primary industry, but agriculture is not very active due to the small area. Mechanization of the forestry industry has not progressed due to the steep terrain. As a result, the thinned trees were left alone. Since that would be such a waste, they are currently embarking on a business that utilizes wood as energy. They are also considering small-scale hydroelectric power generation that takes advantage of the steep terrain.
Mayor Yoshii says, ”n terms of forestry, we will use drones to monitor forests and transport seedlings.We plan to introduce large drones in the future.”
Drones are also being considered for use in times of disaster. When a village becomes isolated due to a typhoon or heavy rain, it is envisioned that relief supplies will be transported using drones.
Regarding fishing, freshwater fish farming is popular. There is a farm for amago, known as the queen of mountain streams, and it is one of the largest in western Japan.
In the future, the company plans to focus on automating fish farms.
”There are some difficulties regarding DX due to the large number of elderly people, but we are putting effort into popularizing My Number Cards.The staff at the town hall explains the significance of My Number Cards to all villagers and provides support for card applications”, says Mayor Yoshii.
On the other hand, the number one issue for DX is that there are more mobile communication dead zones compared to other municipalities. If there are areas where smartphones cannot be used, it will be inconvenient and hinder usage, and DX will not be as good. There are many villagers and tourists who are worried about not being able to contact them even if they have an accident.
“We understand that it is difficult for mobile operators to build antennas in Nosakogawa Village, where usage rates are low, but we would like to ask for your cooperation in eliminating the dead zone.At least until satellite communications become widespread. I want something done,” Mayor Yoshii appeals.
There are no supermarkets or convenience stores in Nosakokawa Village. Villagers use home delivery sales and mobile supermarkets, but many complain that there are few product options. For this reason, the village runs a free shopping bus to the supermarket in Gojo City twice a month. It takes about an hour each way, but it is said to be popular, especially among elderly villagers.
Village Mayor Yoshii says, ”I’m also interested in unmanned buses, which are currently undergoing demonstration experiments.If unmanned buses can be operated in Nosakogawa Village, I would like to consider introducing them.”