Tag - rural-life



Held April 19 to 21 and organized by the nonprofit organization Kominka Japan, the Minka Summit bridges architectural tradition with contemporary possibilities.
LIFE / Style & Design
Apr 16, 2024
Minka Summit returns for third year of home design, talks and more
The Minka Summit showcases Japan's traditional homes amid modern crises and a steady build in interest.
Masafumi Kurisaka shows off a box of luxury Sakura Momo Ichigo strawberries, which can fetch a hefty price at auction.
Apr 15, 2024
Masafumi Kurisaka: 'The fewer the flowers, the bigger the strawberry'
Masafumi Kurisaka turned his back on a corporate job to go into the family business: luxury strawberries that fetch a hefty price.
In 2017, chef Shinsaku Suzuki moved to the Yatsugatake region of Yamanashi Prefecture with his wife, Emi Ishida, after locating the perfect premises: a splendid 170-year-old traditional Japanese house.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Apr 6, 2024
Ai to Ibukuro: Terroir of Yamanashi's uplands
With a name that translates to “Love and Stomach,” this rural restaurant not far from Tokyo delivers with flying colors on both counts.
Members of the Community-Reactivating Cooperator Squad living in Tokushima Prefecture meet in the city of Yoshinogawa in the prefecture in December 2022 to learn from each other's experiences.
JAPAN / Society
Apr 5, 2024
Record 7,200 served as 'community reactivators' in FY 2023
The government aims to increase the number of community cooperators to 10,000 by fiscal 2026.
Wildlife researcher Amelia Hiorns says Japan's bears feel the pressure of human presence and have learned that encountering us is not worth their time.
Mar 30, 2024
Amelia Hiorns: 'Guiding and introducing people to Japan's nature has been rewarding'
Wildlife researcher Amelia Hiorns shares how separate interests in Japan and in bears culminated in conservation work in the mountains of Nagano.
Trucks at a logistics center in the city of Fukuoka in December. Nomura Research Institute estimates that a shortage of truck drivers will lead to 35% of goods not being transported around the country in 2030, with the ratio seen to be higher in more remote regions.
BUSINESS / Companies
Mar 29, 2024
'2024 problem' seen hitting regional logistics sectors hard
Overtime caps for truck drivers coupled with soaring fuel prices could put transport companies out of business, unless consignors agree to higher fees.
Hiroaki Wada (left), the director of Shimane Cinema Onozawa, and his wife, Sarasa, stand in an area selling snacks.
Mar 26, 2024
Couple fills a void in rural Shimane by opening a cinema
Now one of only three movie theaters in the prefecture, Shimane Cinema Onozawa hopes to offer the joy of the big screen to residents of Masuda.
High-end tourism is becoming more about the kinds of experiences that Japan's lesser-known places can provide.
LIFE / Travel / Longform
Mar 25, 2024
Can Japan lure the jet-set class off the beaten path?
High-end travelers are looking for sustainability, wellness and adventure when they head abroad. Japan hopes to deliver in places other than Tokyo.
Ichibata Department Store, located in Matsue, capital of Shimane Prefecture, was the last remaining department store in the prefecture but ended its 65-year history on Jan. 14.
BUSINESS / Economy
Mar 21, 2024
More prefectures losing department stores even amid pandemic recovery
In 17 prefectures there is currently only one department store and there are none in three, set to rise to four in July.
Travel agents from Thailand make matcha tea in the town of Wazuka, Kyoto Prefecture, on Feb. 27, during a tourism promotion program organized by the Kansai Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Mar 20, 2024
Japan hoping wealthy Asians will visit rural areas near 2025 expo
While Japan sees the expo as a chance to attract foreign tourists, the event has yet to gain recognition.
"Tsushima: Fukushima Speaks Part 2" is directed by freelance journalist Toshikuni Doi, featuring the testimonies of people seeking the return of their hometown, which has been deemed uninhabitable for a century after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown.
JAPAN / Society
Mar 12, 2024
Film poses moral questions about 2011 Fukushima disaster displacement
The 187-minute documentary focuses on the impact the accident had on the daily lives of people who are unable to return to their hometown.
Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
ENVIRONMENT / Climate change / Longform
Feb 24, 2024
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves
Rural communities are considering collective relocation as a means to deal with worsening climate disasters.
The Japan Tourism Agency plans to offer subsidies to develop travel products combining culinary and traditional cultural experiences in rural areas.
Feb 18, 2024
Japan tourism agency to promote gastronomy tourism
As foreign tourists numbers spike post-pandemic, culinary travel has grown increasingly popular, especially among wealthy travelers.
Foreign tourists in the city of Tottori in November
JAPAN / Society
Feb 10, 2024
Most Japanese outside major urban areas say they do not engage with foreign nationals
Of the people who gave valid responses, 83.8% said they do not have regular exchanges with the foreign nationals who live alongside them.
Sensoji Temple, a popular tourist location, in Tokyo on Jan. 18
JAPAN / Society
Jan 26, 2024
Japan aims to direct Asian tourists to places less traveled
The tourism body is attempting to direct visitors to places outside Tokyo in order to prevent over-tourism, specifically by appealing to “light repeaters.”
A wild bear spotted in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture, in October 2022
Jan 15, 2024
Japan to bolster measures against bears waking up from hibernation
Each prefecture will be given ¥3 million to ¥5 million in financial resources to help with the measures.
A hamburger using boar meat
Jan 7, 2024
Japanese ministry promotes game meat consumption
The amount of game meat used at restaurants in Japan rose by 1.6-fold to 2,085 tons in fiscal 2022 from six years earlier.
Shiv Kumar (left) and Nirmal Singh say they are learning a lot about living and thriving in Japan while taking part in the Technical Intern Trainee Program. Their case, however, seems to be an exception to the norm.
COMMUNITY / Issues / The Foreign Element
Dec 18, 2023
Beating the odds on Japan's controversial foreign trainee program
Nirmal Singh and Shiv Kumar beat the odds on the Technical Intern Training Program, but luck shouldn't play such a key role in a government initiative.
Mika and Jesse say their landlady prefers a hands-off style of property management, leaving all matters, including maintenence and repairs, to the renting couple.
LIFE / Lifestyle
Nov 18, 2023
Renting akiya: A backdoor into Japan's abandoned homes
“If the choice is between leaving (an akiya) empty or renting it out, please rent it out.”
If you spot a wild animal in the city, it's likely lost. Still, alert authorities immediately to prevent any unpleasantness.
ENVIRONMENT / Wildlife / Longform
Nov 13, 2023
The concrete forest: Bears, boars and more head to the cities
Warmer winters, less food and an aging society all play a part in why wild animals are increasingly venturing into human-populated areas.


Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on