Deep in the countryside, the sun rises over a land enshrined by verdant mountains and clear rivers. Here, farmers work together in rice fields and citrus orchards, preparing their bounty from sunrise to sunset.
This is our home, Sanagochi, a village nearing 1000 years of history.
For the past 1000 years, the people have planted seeds and cultivated the land, and through the ages the methods of cultivation have shifted, little by little.
For the past 1000 years, the people have talked with their neighbours and laughed with their families. Throughout times of discontent and dissatisfaction, they have altered their practices, forging them into the ways of life we know and understand now.
As natural as the flow of the rivers, what ought to change gradually comes to change. Yet, as firm as the will of the mountains, the true essence of the people remains unchanged.
We remember the importance of always giving thanks for the blessings of the land; of sharing our bountiful harvests, of lending a hand to help, and of giving favours, one after another. Here, all of these things live on, as confident and resolute as the peace and contentment instilled into each of our minds. As one villager says, “We’ve been blessed to be able to live within nature, to be raised in this community.”
A thousand years of life shapes our history, making this place what it is now; our place.
The enduring village, Sanagochi.
Flower of the Village: Shakunage
Bird of the Village: Uguisu
Tree of the village: Sudachi
Sanagochi’s rivers are clear and beautiful in any season. In the spring, fireflies cluster along the riverbanks, and in the summer, children enjoy playing and fishing in the pure waters.
Visitors can tour mountaintop Okawara Heights and see green farmland, large windmills and beautiful views of the distant cities. In June and July, the hills of hydrangeas draw many visitors.
Sanagochi is also known for its seasonal fruits, from sweet strawberries in winter to spring, and a bounty of delicious citrus in fall and winter. These all can be purchased at the local markets.
The village’s shrines and temples are rich in history and nature, such as Tokuenji Temple, where you can see gorgeous shakunage flowers blooming in the spring.
Tokushima prefecture was originally divided into two regions: Awa no Kuni, and Naga no Kuni, where Sanagochi village was located. Approximately 1800 years ago, during the time of the Emperor Seimu, the regional administrator of Naga no Kuni recognized the village as an important north-south contact point and settled there. He advanced agricultural venues in the area, planted rice fields, and enshrined his ancestors in the village. Between the years 1021 and 1024, the village was christened “Sanagochi”. Sanagochi was one of many villages and towns located in the district of Myodo, along with Tokushima city (the capital of the prefecture). Now, many of these towns have merged with Tokushima city and left Myodo district, but Sanagochi remains the sole village in the prefecture.
In Sanagochi, each neighbourhood has its own regular meeting groups. These groups number 47 in total. It is said that these groups were inspired by the five-man units from the ancient days of the Han system. These members would take on the role of self-governing the domains, including the payment of taxes, and other important matters. In present times, regular meetings are held once a month to discuss administrative, agricultural and regional affairs, and to inform about activities in the community. Decisions are made by consensus by the people living in each neighbourhood, and are essential in opening venues of communication and bringing the community together.