Takamori-machi, located in the easternmost of Kumamoto Prefecture at the center of Kyushu, is a region of about 22km from the east to the west, about 17km from the north to the south, with a total area of 175.06K㎡. It's connected to Miyazaki Prefecture in the south and Oita Prefecture in the east.
And the region features distinctive terrains with the Takamori-Shikimi district where a relatively gentle slopes with altitudes of 500-600m that break open within the Aso caldera and the Kusabe-Nojiri district of outer somma with wavy, steep slope with elevation of 500-800m.
It is also a cool highland area with majestic landscapes and the average August temperature of about 25 ℃.
Blessed with such natural environment. Takamori has sake and soy-sauce breweries that utilize the lush greenery and the pristine water sources among the historical shops and buildings.
Takamori-machi has a quite a few sights that need to be preserved.
Takamori-machi has many issues such as aging population, lack of successors in agriculture and commercel, population decline, etc. Yet, encouraging factors include the world's agricultural heritage registration, World Geopark certification, and community development expected from population exchanges. This is an organization, which was launched to transfer the town planning from the government bureaucracy to a private sector, taking advantage of the local strengths and the small population.
In addition to the town planning, the organization gives consultation and provides necessary information to the migration-settlement seekers that are on increase in recent years.
The "TAKAraMORI" office, located in front of the Takamori station, was designed by the Iki, Honma and Onishi Lab, Faculty of Engineering at Kumamoto University's and opened through renovation of a vacant store with the help of students. A variety of uses can be expected to create a bustle of town in front of the station.
The Manufacturing Lab develops and manufactures a variety of products using crops that have only been harvested in Takamori-machi.
They include a wide range of products from food such as croquettes using potato vines slowly grown in the low temperature and pickles using Higomurasaki to Nangouhi essential oil and coasters.
We will continue to develop good products, using the crops that were slowly grown in the rich, natural environment and clean water, .
TAKAraMORI is an organization launched to convert from community development administered by public administration to one administered by nongovernmental power with strengths of conditions on local uniqueness and less population by cooperating in various aspects inside and outside of town.
ASO Yoshimi Shrine Club
The Southern Kusakabe District is also suffering depopulation.
Volunteers who are concerned with the future started the activities in attempt to boost the area.
Aiming to "create a community for a happy, cheerful life," they launched the "ASO Yoshimi Shrine Club" which has been offering a course to visit shrines and temples, a photo walk with a photography course and a quirky scarecrow festival.
Unique human resources such as a scarecrow master, bamboo expert, pickles and sweet-bun masters have been excavated from this activity,
and creating a community which utilizes such "exchange" in everyday life has been also debated.
Area in spirit
In Kawara district (Ichino-o, Kamidamarai regions) which is located in the eastern mountain area of Takamori-machi, floriculture, organic farming and livestock are the main industries that are rare in Takamori-machi. This region has many successors with no abandoned land. The entire region works hard to promote their signature products to spread around the world.
This is a group of successors and the like who are engaged in the tourism industry along Takamori-machi's Route 265. They are active in order to make the regional tourism unique and attractive and keep the local children wanting to stay in town into adulthood, taking such a measure of Nekodake mountain's cat legend.
Aso Folk School
The wooden schoolhouse where Aso Folk School is based was built in 1951. As the old Kamishikimi Elementary School was closed down in 2003, local graduates, craftsmen and writers gathered to launch "NPO Aso Folk School" in preserving the wooden school building with the original, old-fashioned look into the posterity. Folk school means "people's school." It derived from the study of traditional cultures and crafts Folk High School (Folkeh? jskole) that began in Denmark. Aso Folk School also aims to provide an opportunity to learn our predecessors' wisdom and culture in life.
Aso Takamori Vacant House Renovation in Town Development Lab
As the local children want to remain in the area, and for people abroad to "want to live here," we promote town development by facilitating the use of a vacant house or a vacant store in a shopping mall, etc., located in the central town and aim for a vibrant town as a tourist destination.
The Northern Kusakabe District Friendship Club
Efforts to "encourage a happy life" which started in the Northern Kusakabe District where depopulation advances have led to activities such as maintenance of the specialty-products processing factory which utilizes a part of Takamori Nature School and planting around the school through a workshop of "scenario making for tomorrow"over one year.
Meanwhile, we employ Seiei-zan mountain trekking (Takamori time) and power walking of Takamori Sports Club and are gaining the fans of the Northern Kusakabe through the heartwarming "hospitality."
Also, visitors from different areas of the prefecture are on the rise seeking longevity water for the resident efforts with the Nakamura water source.
In the "Takaono Autumn Leaves Festival" which began last year, you can taste the countryside dengaku handmade by local residents under a large ginkgo tree.
Agricultural Association Corporation "Oku Aso Kusakabe"
"Agricultural Association corporation Oku Aso Kusakabe" stood up in December 2015 in the mountain eastern part and the grass district of Takamori Town.
It is made up of seven farmers who stood up to protect agricultural lands of the grass section which is not able to make rice due to aging and other factors.
In order to leave attractive agriculture to children and grandchildren, we are walking towards a dream step by step.
It is a comprehensive area sports club of Takamori Town which began in 2012.
In "TAKA-SPO", we will work together with local residents to help fellowship making through sports and culture, to share wisdom to enjoy daily life by incorporating sports etc, and to try to foster children's health It is aimed at.
By doing so, we established the philosophy of creating a community of "Lively, healthy, takamori" that is healthy, bright and gentle to people, and to realize an environment in which it can be continued.
The Minami Aso Visitor Center is a facility to introduce the charm of the Aso Kuju National Park in an easy-to-understand manner using dioramas, panels, images, etc. and to provide opportunities to enjoy the contact with nature.If you visit Aso, please stop by and stop by all means. If you use the visitor center well, the time spent in the national park will surely be richer than now!
Shimogiri Nature-loving society town
Shitagiri is a small village of 11 households and 23 people in the southern part of Kusabe.
Young people have gone out to the city, and the villages are aging. The sense of crisis as a "marginal village" is becoming more serious every day.
Meanwhile, in November 2014, local volunteers launched the "Shimogiri Nature Lovers Association" with the desire to escape from the marginal villages and revitalize the region.
Currently, we hold events such as the "Takana Festival" in the spring and the "Harvest Festival" in the fall to promote exchanges with people outside the area and promote the appeal of the Shimogiri village.