Yatsugatake walk vol.7

a perfect guide of Yatsugatake area for tourists

Enjoy! Community (P.62)

Living in the region, Enjoying the region, Making a living in the region


Both, the people who for various reasons were attracted to the charm of the Yatsugatake and Southern Alps region and came to live here, and those who were born and raised locally and decided to stay, all are putting their pride into the area.
Regions where people do there best with an attitude of, “We want to make it even better”, will surely into wonderful places.


Blue Gate
Raising children in the region through rice farming


Blue Gate is an organization that runs “Mukawa Kome-kome Festival” at Mukawa-town in Hokuto-city. It was established in 2015 for the purpose of reviving Kome-kome Festival, whose tradition had long been lost. Two months after their formation, they organized the first Mukawa Kome-kome Festival. There are 28 members at the moment with their ages ranging from 19 to 51; they have various occupations, which include farming.
Upon their 5th anniversary, Mr. Norihito Kashiwagi, the representative of Blue Gate, said,“I think that we now have stronger connections with local people not only at our events but also on a daily basis. I feel that the best way to revitalize the region is to let children see adults making various efforts for their hometown.”


Kome-kome Festival
Promote “Mukawa Rice”, delicious and special local product!
In addition to direct-sale stands of rice and vegetables produced by local farmers, there were festival stalls selling curries and sweets made with locally produced vegetables and fruits, which were popular among festival attendees! Furthermore, rice balls made with new rice were offered at a special price, and a lottery was held with as price a sack of new rice (Approx. 27 kg) for the winners; they were well-received, and the number of attendees was as many as 5,000 last year! One of the purposes of this festival is to develop successors of farming.“If children in this town grow up watching many people come to their hometown in pursuit of locally-produced rice, and see them smile with happiness, I guess some of those children will be proud of this region and eventually have an interest in rice farming,” he said hopefully.


Rice farming with elementary school children
Another central-initiative of Blue Gate is to cultivate rice with children. As part of comprehensive learning lessons at Mukawa elementary school, the organization has taught the 5th-grade students how to cultivate rice with the cooperation of a local agricultural corporation since 2016.
They engage with the students throughout the year, teaching how to prepare rice seedlings, plant rice, calibrate the amount of water in a paddy field, remove weeds, make scarecrows, harvest rice, and sell them at the Kome-kome Festival.
“Actually, some members of Blue Gate experience rice farming for the first time. Together with the children, we feel the preciousness of every single grain of rice.”In Mukawa, there is a place where both adults and children view nature from the same point of view.

Mukawa Morning Market
In response to people’s expectations towards the Kome-kome Festival, a morning market is held regularly. About 10 shops set up stalls every time, including a pizza shop and direct-sale stands for rice and vegetables.


Kai-no-kuni Koiki
Members aged between 4 and 70 years enjoy activities in this group

We all work up a good sweat, participating in various events and festivals as well as showing our dance performance at day-care centers. Won't you dance with us? Please feel free to come and visit us.

Nirasaki Nira-no-kai
Revitalizing the city with its local gourmet “Nira-man”


With “Revitalize Nirasaki!” as our slogan, we introduce to various parts of Japan “Nira-man”, which uses Chinese chives (Nira), the origin of the place name “Nirasaki”! As we set up stalls at various events in the prefecture as well as local festivals, please try to find us.