What is SATOYAMA?
“Satoyama” is an environment in which nature and people coexist for a long time on the border of “sato” where people live and natural “yama” which means a mountain. It consists of communities, forests taken care of by people, farm lands and so on. Japanese people lived in satoyama for a long time, became a part of the ecosystem and realized what is now called a sustainable life style.
We cultivated rice fields and, using postharvest rice straws, made things necessary for our life such as straw raincoats, straw sandals and thatched roofs. Also, after used as tools, they were given to livestock as feeds or returned to the earth as fertilizer. As it shows, the cycle of resources naturally existed. Within each community, its society and culture were being formed in association with that way of living. It can be said that satoyama was an important environment because it was a habitat and growing environment for particular organisms and provided natural resources such as food and lumber and beautiful landscapes.
However, such areas rapidly decreased because of postwar changes of Japanese life style and industrial structure. Many woods are desolated, people who know the satoyama culture are aging and the succession of the culture is in danger.
On the other hand, it is often heard that a clue to pursue a much-needed sustainable society is in satoyama. In an area which is blessed with essential affluence, lots of inherited wisdom of life exists. Now it is time to rethink about current satoyama to create our future society.
SATOYAMA EXPERIENCE is a website to connect satoyama culture, which Japanese people are proud of, with the world and to provide experiences of activities on the field. Essential way of living can be experienced in satoyama. So, first we started Hida Satoyama Cycling in 2010 to provide guided tours in which such a way of living can be experienced. Since then, we have shown daily lives in Hida to guests from all over the world. In newly reborn SATOYAMA EXPERIENCE, we have many programs in which you can experience the culture and history inherited in satoyama. Please enjoy the special time you can have only here through the tours connecting daily lives of local people with your travel.