The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Kamiechigo Yamazato Fun Club

Linking cities and farming villages to create new places - the "Terraced Rice Field school"

Activity grant

Project Description

It is becoming more difficult for local farmers alone to maintain the small terraced rice fields in mountainous regions due to depopulation and an aging population, in addition to the difficulty of bringing in the necessary machinery into these areas. The decline of the farming industry not only leads to the loss of paddy-field ecosystems, but also directly results in the destruction of mountains and forests that play vital roles of recharging water sources and preserving the soil system, thereby threatening the existence of town areas. Kamiechigo Yamazato Fun Club runs the Terraced Rice Field School to teach people traditional techniques and knowledge through rice cultivation of terraced rice fields, and the social functions provided by terraced rice fields. Its main activities, in order to create new links between urban areas and farming communities and encourage the participation of people from urban areas in the maintenance of terraced rice fields and regional promotion, are
(1)the maintenance and management of regional terraced rice fields by graduates of the Terraced Rice Field School,
(2)the digitization of traditional techniques and knowledge,
(3)and the collection of data to understand the current situation of terraced rice fields.

Marine resources/foodPreservation of surface soil and forestsPreservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2008 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
April 2009 - March 2012
Grant amount
3,244,000 yen
Activity region
Nakanomata district, Jōetsu city
Border coating of terraced rice fields

Overview of the Organization

Senji Waseda, President
Senji Waseda, President
Establishment Purpose
The protection, support, and creation of areas for nature, landscapes, and culture for mountain villages
Main areas of activity
Kuwadori, Nakanomata, and Jōzenji districts, Jōetsu city
8 full-time staff members
Annual operating budget
46.3 million yen in 2006, 44.62 million yen in 2007, 35.11 million yen in 2008
Main activities
This NPO fosters the development of a rich regional culture through the protection, support, and creation of areas for nature, landscapes, culture, and the region's agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries in the mountainous areas of eastern Jōetsu, Niigata prefecture. It seeks to protect traditional culture, events, and techniques centered around repairs to private thatched roof houses and the restoration of koshōgatsu ("Little New Year") events, and coordinates and supports various local action groups. In addition, the organization is entrusted by Jōetsu city with the management and administration of environmental education facilities and public forests. It utilizes its unique network to in conducting efforts to link mountainous regions with cities.