The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Yamamura Shuuraku Saisei Juku

A steady supply of reeds for use in thatching of houses in the Mizuhiki settlement, the preparation of reed fields, and the creation of the Yamazakana no Mori (mountain cherry forest)

Activity grant

Project Description

There is a group of 7 thatched houses at the Mizuhiki settlement in Minami Aizu-machi in Fukushima Prefecture; however there is presently no public funding available for their upkeep. If this situation continues, it will become difficult to maintain these houses and the scene of these kinds of houses in mountain villages, which is a valuable component of Japan's social heritage, will be lost. This project involves the preparation of reed fields to supply the reeds used in re-thatching roofs and the setting up of a sustainable system for reed harvesting, as well as the planting of yamazakura cherry trees in abandoned rice fields. This work will be carried out through collaboration between local people and urban residents. The project is intended to preserve the topsoil in the green areas around settlements to enable the sustainability of these hamlets.

Preservation of surface soil and forests
Grant year
FY2011 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
April 2012 - March 2015
Grant amount
3,930,000 yen
Activity region
Mizuhiki Shuuraku, Minami Aizu-machi, Minami Aizu-gun, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
Reed gathering through cooperation between local people and urban residents

Overview of the Organization

Yoshiaki Fujiki, Director
Yoshiaki Fujiki, Director
Establishment Purpose
Mountain village settlements all over Japan are faced with a range of problems. The fall in population is excessive, the average age of residents is rising and there are concerns over medical care, welfare and other issues associated with living in these communities. Local regions are losing their unique traditional culture, and fields and forestry sites are being abandoned. Surviving thatched farm houses, of which there are only a small number across Japan, are facing a crisis. This project was set up so that local people and urban residents can work together to revive them. This will be achieved through actions that include a mutual assistance system to help maintain thatched houses, the preparation of reed fields, and the training of groups of artisans (chiefly thatchers).
Main areas of project activity
Minami Aizu-machi, Minami Aizu-gun, Fukushima-ken
2 part-time members, 17 full members
Annual operating budget
13.93 million yen in 2009, 2.56 million yen in 2010, 6.35 million yen in 2011
Recent activities
In the settlement of Mizuhiki, in Minami Aizu-machi, Minami Aizu-gun, Fukushima Prefecture there is a group of 7 thatched houses that people still live in that are the focus of this project. Nevertheless, without some form of public support, it is predicted that the maintenance of these houses will be extremely difficult in the future. The project will focus on: the full-scale repair of 1 thatched-roof house that is in danger of collapse;
  • (1) the establishment of a system for thatchers to maintain thatched roofs
  • (2) ensuring there are roofers, carpenters and plasterers available
  • (3) ensuring a steady supply of reeds
  • (4) ensuring exchanges between local people and urban residents