Japan is an incredibly mountainous island country, which has contributed towards a variety of unique lifestyles. Due to the abundance of mountainous areas, many Japanese people have set up life on the foothills of mountains. These areas are called satoyama.
The Senshu region of Japan is unique because it is abundant in mountains but also very close to the sea. Within this region, lifestyles of both those living by the sea and living in satoyama can be witnessed. Highly sustainable lifestyles were developed to help preserve the abundant ecosystems of satoyama. Fields of rice—one of Japan’s staple foods—are easy to set up and manage, and high quality crops are frequently produced in these areas. Rice straw is also a versatile material, which could be used to produce items of clothing such as sandals, and also provide shelter as part of thatched roofs.
Japan’s ageing population has led to the disappearance of satoyama, as younger generations head toward larger cities to search for career prospects. However, recent years have seen a movement to encourage younger generations to revitalize satoyama, including various projects aimed to support the viability of these unique communities.