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​A trip to experience a rich life with the theme of "food" in the scenic Akiyamago

AKIYAMAGO Nagano/Niigata

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Akiyama-go, located on the border between Nagano and Niigata prefectures, has long been a closed area due to heavy snowfall, and has lived with abundant spring water due to the blessings of nature and food preservation at the foot of Mt. Naeba. They lived a rich life thanks to their skill at hunting called matagi and the food that was unique to the snowy region, but in the past there were villages that disappeared due to lack of food due to famine caused by bad weather. What was it like to be in a situation where there was not enough food before the approaching winter? Why not go on a journey to discover the true richness by learning from traveling through the past and comparing it with the present?.


​Enjoy the spectacular views and unexplored food at the foot of Mt. Naeba!Gastronomy tour to learn the importance of food from an abandoned village



A ``stunning view'' in a closed area called an ``unexplored region''meet

newApproximately 1 hour drive from Echigo Yuzawa Station in Kata Prefecture. Arriving at Tsunan Town, which is also the entrance to Akiyamago, and heading towards Mt. Naeba, you will arrive at Akiyamago. Akiyama-go is an area that straddles Niigata and Nagano prefectures, and refers to the foothills of Mt. Naeba, one of Japan's 100 Famous Mountains. Mt. Naeba, which is also known for its alpine wetlands and has an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level, and the area at its base is one of the world's heaviest snowfall areas, with more than 3 meters of snow accumulating in winter. A lifestyle that has been built in the harsh environment of nature, which is closed off by heavy snow in winter.​,A food culture centered on preservation has been passed down. Abundant spring water from melting snow irrigates vast broad-leaved forests, making the land of the snowy country strong and fertile.


The Nakatsu River flows through the center of the earth, which was formed by the eruption of Mt. Naeba and Mt. Torikabutoyama, both of which are 2,000 meters above sea level. A large amount of snowmelt water is stored in the lava earth and flows into abundant spring water, moistening the fields. Winter low pressure systems that absorb moisture from the Sea of Japan bring large amounts of snowfall at the foot of Mt. Naeba, which then flows back into rivers into the Sea of Japan.


A treasure trove of food. Enjoy the fertile land thanks to the blessings of snow


The earth where the natural snow room matures

There is a world here where snow falls on the ground from December to April, and you spend five months surrounded by snow. Due to the area being closed off by heavy snowfall, there is a food culture that has been passed down, and a way of life that preserves the bounty of nature harvested from spring to autumn and stores food to survive the winter has taken root.​.This is the place where we had dinner at Demoku Deguchiya on this tour.We welcome travelers with unique food. Almost everything on the table is harvested, preserved, and prepared locally. Daily meals are possible without relying on ingredients from outsideWisdom and life are here.

Also designated as the Naeba Foothills Geopark, this area is symbolic of the richness of nature and the blessings of water, and you can experience the abundance of spring water just by walking around the village. From behind the exit shop​Large amountWe use the spring water to grow ``Shinano Yukimasu'' and provide it for the hospitality of our guests. The abundant spring water, which is far from water shortage or drought, has a constant temperature and is used to erase snow during the winter, and to soothe the throat during the summer.It is also used as water to moisturize food and to refrigerate foodstuffs. How pure and delicious are the ingredients that are grown by nourishing the earth with such water? Continuouslyhas been inheritedTechniqueThe taste is more nutritious and delicious than the depth of the snow.


At Deguchi-ya, a popular guesthouse for Matagi, you can also enjoy wild game dishes that the host, who is a Matagi, has caught and prepared himself. Careful use of late spring wild vegetables picked in the mountainsThe taste and food have been passed down through generations, including tempura of Matatabi, a medicinal herb, amber-colored nozawana, Akiyama tofu, and bamboo shoot soup. At night, we have a lively conversation about the Matagi spirit that has been passed down from our ancestors, making us realize once again the importance of ``Tadaki''.


Learning the importance of food from past famines

A local guide explains the story of Akiyamago


During the 1700s, when tectonic activity was active, large-scale eruptions continued around the world. Japan was no exception, with the Tenmei famine caused by the eruption of Mt. Asama, and the Tenpo famine caused by unseasonable weather and cold damage. Even the people of Akiyamago, who were once self-sufficient due to several years of bad weather, were unable to harvest crops, but some villages were unable to overcome the natural disasters that continued for several years and were abandoned. The ethnic resource room ``Tonenbo'' contains information on famine.Documents related to the dragon have been preserved, allowing you to look back on what it was like back then.
Once upon a time food
If there is no garbageThere is a lifestyle that is directly connected to life, and nowNowadays, food can be obtained at convenience stores and supermarkets at any time.I can't hide my surprise as to why they were unable to share food with their children.


​The ``Old Amazake Village'' and ``Old Oakiyama Village'', which were abandoned due to food famine, are still protected by the residents, and anyone can help. It is arranged as follows. Chestnuts are rare to eat these days, but they were so valuable and prized that there was a set date for harvesting them.The ethnic resource room ``Tonenbo'' displays materials that tell the story of the famine at the time, as well as the Matagi culture related to Akiyamago and the way of life at the time.


Enjoy food at outdoor dining!

Enjoy the food created in Akiyama with the sounds of nature


Everyday meals are born from the blessings of nature, and are luxurious moments in which we can enjoy these blessings in the midst of nature. The everyday ingredients that appear on our dinner tables sprout from the soil, are nurtured by the wind and sun, and then reach our mouths. Enjoying food like this in harmony with the natural atmosphere reminds us of a part of our original lives that we tend to forget.


Connect to the future

To the Future

anytimewhereBut food is availableIn a rationalized society where safety and security are accelerating and waste is eliminated, appearance and form are prioritized, and if a product does not meet a certain standard, it is deemed non-standard and the deadline expires.Naturally, it was discarded. If we look back to the past, the spirit and meaning of drinking rice from a bowl with hot water or tea, appreciating each grain of rice, and clasping our hands together to say "itadakimasu" may be disappearing from us. Is it?

Akiyama-go is famous as a scenic spot for autumn leaves, and many people come here for a day drive and enjoy the scenic spots. Once you step into the area, you will be able to understand the original charm of the area, and by listening and interacting with the people who live there, you will be able to make your trip even more deeply engraved in your heart. I'm sure it's hidden in the answers to nature, gratitude, and abundance that we're forgetting. I would like to visit again with the utmost respect for the people who live here.

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​Mirai Co., Ltd.

MIRAI company

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​This project utilizes the 2022 "Nagano Prefecture Local Energy Development Support Fund".

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