“Satoyama” of Iriya Mountainside

Traditional Japanese green landscape in the world of Zen.

“Traditional Japanese green landscape in the world of Zen.”

Just five minutes drive from the coastal town of Minamisanriku and you will find yourself amidst a beautiful green landscape of terraced rice fields. This is the Iriya district of Minamisanriku. This beautiful hillside area is another side of Minamisanriku boasting a rich history – it once flourished thanks to a goldmine and was vital to the reign of Fujiwara family in Hiraizumi.


A comfortable breeze blows through a former school inn.

A quiet afternoon at the traditional Japanese garden, listening to the voice of cicada, brings you to the world of zen.

A cool breeze caresses wild flowers by the stream.

You can savour the local delicacies in a tranquil setting, be amazed by the giant stone objects of worship, and be overwhelmed by the stunning panorama from atop Mt. Tatsugane.

Feeling the summer breeze, rejuvenate yourself with the beauty, history and hospitality of Minamisanriku.



What is Satoyama?

“Satoyama” − literally meaning village (sato) and mountain (yama) − is a place where people and nature coexist, and also points to such traditional Japanese landscape shaped by communities practicing agriculture and forestry to live; growing rice in paddies, logging woodlands for charcoal, and gathering animal feed and fertilizers from grasslands.


For a long time, Japanese people lived in such a homeland and growing environment for organisms and a natural cycle through which people could sustainably derive their food, water and shelter. However, as much as satoyama had been sustaining millions of people for thousands of years, the changes in lifestyle due to modernisation and urbanisation over the last century in Japan has led to these traditional ecosystems being abandoned and forgotten.


Today, it is widely believed that the knowledge and ecological resilience existing in satoyama can help us pursue a sustainable, or regenerative society to live in – helping us meet our challenges such as biodiversity conservation, emissions reduction and energy and food security. Not only agricultural techniques, but the concepts consist of socio-ecological systems as a whole.
We would like you to visit this wonderful satoyama of Minamisanriku − reconnect with the traditional lifestyle, rejuvenate in the breathtaking sceneries and realize the holistic view of nature and society − and reimagine to create our future. We hope that you will be inspired.

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