After a long, fruitless search for a new business base, entrepreneur Tetsu Sumita found himself lured by the unique appeal of a little-known remote town in western Japan nearly two years ago.

And it did not take much time for him to launch a venture in Kamiyama — a rural community that has set out on a quest to nurture information technology startups in a mountainous area dotted with terraced rice paddies.

"Their approach is different from others," Sumita said, explaining why he chose the town in Tokushima Prefecture among rival bids from other places pursuing the dream of building an IT business cluster complex — a Silicon Valley in Japan.