Nishiawakura village is found at the northeast tip of Okayama prefecture surrounded by a 100-year old forest. A place where the inhabitants interact with nature, the village is so comfortable it makes people shine. Since 2008, the village has been putting a great deal of effort into their Hundred Year Forest Plan restoration operations.
They say it takes 50 years for a newly planted tree to grow into shippable timber. Without forgetting the forest planted 50 years ago, they are again working to leave a beautiful forest behind 50 years in the future. This is the Hundred Year Forest Plan.
Nishiawakura & Mori no Gakko is taking the central role in the Plan. The main duty of Mori no Gakko is the manufacture and sales of wooden products, as well as the sales, marketing & planning of locally created products. In other words, they put added value on the timber that is the main resource of the village, and distribute Nishiawakura wood nationwide.
After renovating the village’s abandoned school, Mori no Gakko located its offices there. A showroom and a shop can also be found in the building, so anyone can visit and purchase Mori no Gakko products.
In addition, they hold various events, so please check their website and other sources in advance.
These yukahari tiles are a flooring product made of timber that has been harvested by thinning Nishiawakura forest. It’s an innovative product that allows a solid floor to be laid with tiles. As returning the floor to its original condition is very simple, these tiles can even be used in rental apartments to make solid flooring. Yukahari tiles are known all over Japan as a product of superior quality, the purchase of which has the added bonus of helping to protect Nishiawakura forest.
This is the hitotema kit (‘hitotema’ = small effort).
People who buy the kit can finish roughly hewn cutlery into whatever is easiest for them to use. It allows you to buy both the product and the small amount of effort that is the time investment for making the object precious.
Protecting the forest connects with business. Making the village more active will attract more people, as well. This small village with a population of 1500 chose not to merge during the great mergers of the Heisei era (1989~) and is attracting attention from other parts of the world as a model for regional restoration. The driving force behind that restoration is Nishiawakura & Mori no Gakko.
Bringing out the added value of the 100-year forest is the most important mission of Mori no Gakko. As they allows visitors to experience the beauty of the forest, we recommend joining one of the forest walking tours held every season by Mori no Gakko.
How about experiencing the latest winds in regional vitalization while getting in touch with the beautiful Okayama forest?
Nishiawakura & Mori no Gakko
Address: 895 Kageishi, Nishiawakura village, Aida district, Okayama prefecture
Redirects to the online shop: http://www.nishihour.jp/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers: Asami Asai / Katsutoshi 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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