Located by the sea about an hour’s drive from central Okayama city, Mokake is a community with a population of around 2,200.
The name of the city originates from a legend according to which Kobo-Daishi (also known as Kukai) put his clothing (an ancient skirt known in Japanese as ‘mo‘) on a stone to dry at a cove close to the community (one way of saying ‘to put on top of something’ (usually cloth) in Japanese is ‘kakeru’, which resulted in the name ‘Mokake’).
The area has since ancient times been famous for its picturesque scenery. Indeed, the morning sun climbing up from the Seto Inland Sea caused even the Tadamori, the father of Taira no Kiyomori, to compose a verse in the Gyokuyo Wakashu (Jewelled Leaves Collection, a collection of Japanese waka poetry) that reads, ”Seeing the Seto sunrise at Mushiage, I almost forget about the capital…”. A place of scenic beauty, it has been chosen among Japan’s top 100 places to see the sunrise.
Above is a scenic Seto sunrise viewing spot that was even visited by Taira no Tadamori [link: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/735 ].
Not only does the area have beautiful scenery, it is also steeped in history, and recently it has been prospering due to oyster and pione grape cultivation, which makes it a region aplenty with superb ingredients, as well.
Currently, Mokake village is garnering the attention of people thinking of moving to the area. In 2015, four different families with a total of 10 people moved into the small community.
What kind of work do you think goes into all these people moving to the community?
Working at the center of receiving new migrants to Mokake village is the Mokakemura Revitalization Project. The main parts of the project are played by locals, and together with region revitalization members, they support new migrants both from an internal and external perspective.
Part of the village revitalization project involves project members guiding potential migrants around the community while introducing vacant houses that they could move into. For those who wish to stay over for the night, the project offers accommodation, as well as a place to interact with locals at dinner parties.
If the visitors decide to move to the village, all the project members come together to help clean the vacant house. They also introduce the new migrants to other community members, which supports the new villagers’ in adapting to their new region. And if new villagers wish to take up farming, the project will also help them find farmland, as well as cultivate a market.
So different from the city, country life has plenty of offer. However, no matter how many charms rural life may have, for new inhabitants it’s an unknown quantity. As there are an innumerable number of things that people worry about, from living to working and interacting with locals, Mokakemura Revitalization Project members listen together with regional officials to help solve them.
Every now and then there are also chances to meet members from the Mokakemura Revitalization Project even without going all the way to Mokake.
The project attends ‘moving’ fairs in the Tokyo metropolitan area (for example), to actively promote interaction even outside the region. If you visit their booth at a fair like this, you can actually talk with people from the community while enjoying Mokake specialties. If you are interested in living in Mokake, why not drop by?
Mokakemura Revitalization Project
HP: http://www.mokake.com/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers: Katsutoshi Asai / Asami Asai (Kokohore Japan)
Katsutoshi Asai Producer and member of the Setouchi Regional Revitalization Association. Born in Yokohama in 1974, Katsutoshi is married and has a young son. Although he started his career with an advertising agency, he went to join the Tower Records team. Katsutoshi was involved with brand management, sales campaigns, collaboration work, and live events. Through his career, he experienced being the Sales Promotion Manager, and the Manager of the Live Entertainment Department. However, in 2012, Katsuyoshi retired from Tower Records and moved to Seto city, Okayama prefecture - a place where he had no prior friends, connections or relatives. Soon after moving, he joined the Setouchi Regional Revitalization Association, and in July 2013 founded Kokohore Japan and began a number of projects to re-task old traditional buildings, invent new specialty products, and work on regional branding. Website: Kokohore Japan http://kkhr.jp/ Asami Asai Editor & Writer I mainly write about social news, music, and lifestyles. I was born and raised in Tokyo, but in 2012 I decided on a whim to move to Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture. I contribute to magazines such as Liniere, Inakagurashi no Hon, and ku:nel. I publish books for my 'interesting' friends, too, and direct and write for programs at FM Okayama. Everyday I write about people and things for both readers and listeners. Website: Kokohore Japan http://kkhr.jp/
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