SATOYAMA - Japanese countryside. What's so good about it?
This is a video clip from a "trial tour" in Minami-Ichihara, the southern part of City of Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
Minami-Ichihara is very close to the downtown Tokyo as well as the airports, but is full of nature and agricultural fields.
A monitor tour was held here in March to discover the charms of the Japanese countryside, or Satoyama, from the views of foreign visitors to Japan.
It's amazing how the things most locals think are "boring" about their village are exactly what appeals to the tourists:
"having nothing" is "peaceful and relaxing"
"just mountains and fields" is "serene scenery and fresh air"...
With the fresh vegetables right from the farm and warm friendly people, the guests found "home" in a foreign land.
For inquiries about this video and the tour:
Japan System Integration Research (JSIR)
For inquiries about City of Ichihara:
Ichihara City Tourism Association
Have you ever heard of Minami Ichihara, an area in Chiba Prefecture, Japan?
It is as if the time has stopped just there, an area surrounded by some nostalgic scenery.
We held a trial tour in this area for foreigners in March 2017.
SATOYAMA Tour in Minami-Ichihara
In early spring, mustard flowers and cherry blossoms were starting to bloom.
Kominato Railway, turning 100 years old this year, runs through Ichihara. This journey started with the special "Torokko train."
We were greeted with a warm welcome from the local people.
Along the railroad are famous mustard flower fields, attracting a great number of photographers.
For our muslim guests, all the food provided was halal, including this bento box lunch.
After the train ride, we went to a traditional house in the mountains, full of nature and fun activities with the locals.
Finished off the day with BBQ with fresh local vegetables and halal meat!
We stayed at a traditional ryokan hotel and spent a relaxing morning making origami.
The second day started with walking around a temple that holds a beautiful, culturally important gate.
The main event of the day was a rice-cake making party with the locals at a thatched house - which has become very rare.
Eating fresh homemade rice cake with friendly locals - like when you're at a close relatives' house. The best activity in this tour!
Now you know a little bit about Ichihara...
But where is Ichihara?
Around here! (Central Chiba)
1 hour from Narita Airport,
1 hour from downtown Tokyo,
1 hour from Haneda Airport.
Ichihara is so close!
We don't have much here... But sometimes that's exactly what we need. Get away from the city and come to Minami-Ichihara!
Comments from those who attended the tour:
- Really appreciate this opportunity to know/ experience living in SATOYAMA. Looking forward to the tour with hiking and more nature experience. (Female, Indonesian)
- Glad to be able to learn about the lives of people in the Japanese countryside. Also learned a lot about agriculture. All the food was Impressive and delicious! (Female, Korean)
- Perhaps giving us opportunity or time to explore the local area/ local products and to purchase some prominent souveniors would be better. (Female, Indonesian)
- The tour was great, we really liked it, and the kids enjoyed it as well. We want to try it again. The lunch was great, and we enjoyed talking with Matsumoto-san and the neighboring families. (Male, Moroccan)
- I would suggest the tour should happen when all the fields are filled with greenery. The journey along the Kominato Line will be even more beautiful during that time. (Male, Indian)
Special Thanks to
Ichihara City Tourism Association
(Quoted from the website. https://youtu.be/D0g5Bt5FMnY)