Towns created by people and the forest

One large river flows north and another flows south. The Teshiogawa and Ishikarigawa. There are two unique towns in the upper river basins of these two giant water systems that form Hokkaido. Both are relatively unknown in most of Japan, and are called Shimokawa and Kamikawa towns.


Kamikawa, a Town of "Hospitality"

Dreams Brewed by a Small Sake Brewery

Kamikawa Town in Hokkaido is known for its famous tourist spot, Sounkyo. This small town is surrounded by nature and located at the gateway of “Daisetsuzan National Park”, the largest mountain park in Japan. Listen to the voice of the Town, and see its grand dreams emerge.


The master sake brewer Sake Brewer Moves to Kamikawa

Kawabata Shinji. The chief brewer famous in Hokkaido. When he first resigned his previous brewery, a signature collecting campaign seeking his return was launched.


Gazing over Asahigaoka

Every town has a treasure, but sometimes the residents don’t notice it. We asked about the beautiful background working towards Kamikawa Town as a “town of hospitality,” and the “Asahigaoka Project.”


Flowers in Bloom in Asahigaoka

“Daisetsu Mori-no Garden” in the Asahigaoka with its view of Daisetsuzan Mountains. The vast garden changes its appearance with each season, like a space where the attractiveness of Hokkaido has been condensed. KAI visited the garden in its fifth year.


Scenery to be savored

Mikuni Kiyomi of Mashike, Hokkaido, is a world-famous French-cuisine chef. Mikuni and the town of Kamikawa had no connection to each other, but they got together for the sake of Hokkaido.


Kami Ranger is here!

“Kamikki” the mascot of Kamikawa Town, is a loving character and shares happiness with all the people in the town. But he is shy, so the “Town Development Kami Rangers” give him support.


Shimokawa, a Town of the Forest

A walk through the forest under the light of the full moon

About 90% of the incorporated area of the town of Shimokawa, Hokkaido consists of forests. Interacting with the forests is part of the local lifestyle. Here we met a number of people who are deeply related with the forests. Our first story is about our meeting with a forest guide.


Like a flowing river — the many jobs related to the forest create a community

The town of Shimokawa began proactively converting land for commercial foresting when it purchased 1,221 hectares of national forest from the government in 1953. That was the beginning of its recycling type forest management in which it afforests 50 hectares of land every year and deforests them over the course of 60 years.


The 'Mori to Ie' Project — No. 1

One house made using lots of Shimokawa-produced wood was completed in Shimokawa in winter 2012. It came to be because of the Mori to Ie Project. What kind of people do you suppose made it, and what were thinking when they did?


A sense of crisis and excitement

The Mori to Ie Project that began in Shimokawa originated from a sense of crisis on the part of local construction companies. They feared that if things kept going the way they were the local economy would dwindle. But the construction companies' craftsmanship and hopes for new encounters also helped the project.


Things that link those that move to the town from elsewhere

The activities of some of those who have moved to the town of Shimokawa from elsewhere are conspicuous: one who has been enchanted by the scent of the forest; one who has been attracted by the place where people’s lives are fun. KAI spoke to two people who have become an irreplaceable part of Shimokawa.


Shiitake Mushrooms and Italian Food at “Ichinohashi Bio Village”

In the small community of the Ichinohashi District located in the eastern part of Shimokawa Town, an attempt to bear the future has begun. Ichinohashi Bio Village continues to forge ahead.


The Yamakawas Living in Ichinohashi

Mr. And Mrs. Yamakawa living in Ichinohashi Biovillage. They speak about their hope to continue living here,


Side stories

Shiokari Pass – the story of separating two great rivers – 1

Many of Hokkaido's major inland transportation networks are based on routes that were used by the Ainu. Shiokari Pass, located in the watersheds of both the Teshio River and the Ishikari River, is a perfect location to considering that meaning.


Shiokari Pass – the story of separating two great rivers – 2

In the town of Wassamu near JR Shiokari Station is an accommodation facility known to avid travelers. It is here, at this youth hostel – which has only been open for five years – that talk of the railway begins with those visiting Shiokari Pass.


Shiokari Pass – the story of separating two great rivers – 3

The period when the forefront of Hokkaido’s development continued northward, advancing over Shiokari Pass. This was also the period that brought about great changes in Northeast Asia. Let’s consider this pass in terms of a greater perspective.


Shiokari Pass – the story of separating two great rivers - 4

When Shiokari Pass is mentioned, many people think of Miura Ayako’s novel. Shiokari Pass, which forms the core of Shiokari Pass, is featured in the final part of the series.