What is a SATOYAMA?
A Satoyama is an environment where people have co-existed with nature over time, living near the border of the Sato, where people live, and Yama, which means mountain. They consist of communities, where people manage both forests and farmlands. Living in Satoyama, Japanese people have become part of the ecosystem, realizing what is now called a sustainable lifestyle.
Rice fields were cultivated and necessities, such as raincoats, sandals and thatched roofs, were then made using the post-harvest straw. Highlighting how a sustainable cycle of resources existed, any remaining straw could be given to livestock as feed or returned to the earth as fertilizer. Each community’s society and culture emerged from the local way of life. Satoyama were important environments that provided organisms with habitats and also natural resources, such as food, lumber and beautiful landscapes.
Many woods were desolated as Satoyama became rapidly rarer with Japan’s postwar changes in lifestyle and industry, however. Those that understand Satoyama culture are aging and cultural succession is in danger of disappearing.
Contrastingly, Satoyama are often held up as much needed examples of sustainable society. In areas blessed with such natural wealth, there also exists the wealth of inherited wisdom. Now is time to reconsider existing Satoyama and create a new future for society.
The SATOYAMA EXPERIENCE website aims to connect the Satoyama culture that Japanese people are so proud of with the rest of the world, and to provide the experience of activities in the field. A fundamental way of life can be experienced in Satoyama. Accordingly, we first started Hida Satoyama Cycling in 2010 to provide guided tours that open a window on such a way of life. Since then, we have shared the daily lives of Hida residents with guests from all over the world. In the recently reborn SATOYAMA EXPERIENCE, we have many programs that introduce inherited Satoyama history and culture. We would like to ask that you enjoy your time with spent on our tours, connecting with the daily lives of locals.