Where is the most beautiful village in Japan?

With the modernization that began in the early 1900s, people have gained convenience and affluence, but they have also lost many important things.

Japan is no exception.

In fact, it may be one of the most rapidly changing countries.

In this context, the population is concentrated in urban areas, rural villages are in decline, and are currently in a state of crisis.

In the countryside, where the population is aging and shrinking, industries and buildings are disappearing rapidly.

In Japan, many landscapes and lifestyles have been lost.

Once something old is lost, it is very difficult to restore it to its original state.

The"Union of the Most Beautiful Villages in Japan"was established to stop this as much as possible.

It is an organization modeled after the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" movement that took place in France.

There are strict criteria for selection, and a municipality can join the "Union of the Most Beautiful Villages in Japan" only if it meets these criteria.

The criteria are as follows

1.The population at the most recent census is generally less than 10,000.

2.The village must have two or more of the following local resources
  Landscape (refers to the landscape created by the activities of daily life)
  Environment (refers to the environment of the town or village that makes the most of rich nature and natural features)
  Culture (refers to traditional festivals, local culture, architecture, etc.)

3.There must be activities that make use of local resources as evaluated by the 3RENGO.
  The community must be developed in consideration of beautiful scenery.
  The community must be engaged in ingenious community activities by residents.
  The community must be stubbornly preserving local handicrafts and lifestyles.

The criteria forthe "Most Beautiful Villages" in France, which served as a model, are as follows

1.The population must not exceed 2,000.

2.At least two heritage sites (in terms of landscape, art, science, or history) and a land use plan with policies for their protection.

3.The commune council must have given its consent.

Under the "Beautiful Villages" alliance, the need to protect the landscape restricts development and makes economic development more difficult.

But even with that, only those municipalities that have made the decision to protect what must be protected are members here.

Travelers are encouraged to check out these "Beautiful Villages of Japan" and then visit them.

You can find a map here on the official website.

Along with beautiful scenery, the "Beautiful Villages" have landscapes that are etched in the souls of all Japanese people.

Yoshino Town, where I live, is also a member of the "Union of the Most Beautiful Villages in Japan.

Your time in one of these "beautiful villages" will be one of the best experiences you will ever have while visiting Japan.