Message Greetings from
the Director

Your experience
will be much like
a folk tale, a legend,
a song, a ritual,
or a fable.

Yoshihiro Yabe

General Producer and Director
19th generation head of Narayama village


Greetings from
the Director

Nature gives us an abundance of blessings, but it also presents many perils.

Working as a landscape architect, I always wondered how humans could form a sustainable relationship with the earth. After taking some time to deeply reflect, I made the decision to move to the rural village of my ancestors. Now, living in the village, I rediscover the wisdom of their teachings every single day.

“The Tales of the Land and Culture of Narayama” is an art performance, a theater piece, a spiritual retreat, a cultural heritage trail, and an immersive tour experience. It is a carefully crafted, once-in-a-lifetime journey, evoking life in a traditional rural village. You may feel like you are traveling in time, experiencing a rich culture that has existed for hundreds of years.

The tour also provides an intimate glimpse into the glorious traditions of a people who live in unison with nature. In my life at the village, I often feel the harmony that exists in the Awai (in between) of nature and humans; the Awai is not visible to the eye, but it exists as surely as the air we breathe.

Your experience will be much like a folk tale, a legend, a song, a ritual, or a fable. The journey lies in the sacred forest, the remains, the mountains, and the hearts of the people.

Our ancestors passed down their profound knowledge of nature and its blessings. They did so in many ways, often without using words. At first glance, many customs and practices can seem inefficient or unnecessary. However, upon a closer look, it is clear that the customs developed over time to become long-followed sustainable practices of the village. For example, the traditional New Year's festival actually functioned as a practical lesson about the environment, emulating the coming year's agricultural activities.

Unfortunately, these lessons are gradually being lost with time. Now more than ever, it is important to renew our connection with the earth and learn about how we can live harmoniously with nature.

Japanese culture is founded upon variou vernacular traditions and landscapes. I strongly believe in the power and importance of this culture, and many artists who have experienced it share my belief in its value.

We believe that behind the many wonderful cultures and innovations in our country, there is the power of Awai; it is the intertwining of nature and humans that we have felt, perhaps unconsciously, since childhood.

“The Tales of the Land and Culture of Narayama” is a journey of renewal and reflection. You will discover various Awai during the three-day and two-night stay, and surely pass it on to future generations.

We hope that on your journey, you will rediscover the power of the land and acquire a new perspective to share with the world.

Yoshihiro Yabe, 19th generation chief of Narayama village


Yoshihiro Yabe

General Producer and Director
19th generation head of Narayama village

Landscape architect. He is also the president of BOOT, a general incorporated association, and the director of Nishi-Aizu International Art Village. After studying at Yoshiko Kamiyama Landscape Design Institute, Inc. in Canada and Shanghai, he returned to Nishi-Aizu after the Great East Japan Earthquake. He is the 19th generation to inherit Narayama village, which has been in existence for about 360 years, and studies sustainable regional development based on his knowledge and experience as a landscape architect. While analyzing the wisdom of Japanese culture that he feels in his daily life in the mountains, he has been exploring and practicing new ways of living, new social organizations and systems, and sustainable local economic ecosystems under the theme of “the late but new future” as the director of “NIPPONIA Narayama Village” and “NextCommonsLab Nishi-Aizu”. He is also involved in the development of a sustainable regional economic ecosystem.

<一般社団法人BOOT >


・Narayama Planetary Village

A Tale of a Journey to a Foreign Land