It has been two years since I moved to Ayabe in northern Kyoto Prefecture. Due to the covid-19 , there are many works from home, and all you can see from the window of your house is the mountains. As I looked at the mountain, I wanted to climb it, so I unfolded the map and found that more than 90% of the city limits of Ayabe City pass through the mountain ridge. So I decided to spend 10 days walking around the city limits.
What left the biggest impression on me was the former terraced rice fields tucked away in a deep valley deep in the mountains. The landscape was created by the fact that the terraced rice fields in the mountains that were cleared from the Edo period to the modern era were abandoned because they became inefficient arable land due to the mechanisation of agriculture, and cedar trees were planted at the urging of postwar forestry policies. The forestry industry has also declined with the passage of time, so cedar forests are sometimes desolate and abandoned.
Before the economic growth, there were more people living in the countryside than there are today. When the former terraced rice fields were still terraced rice fields, what kind of scenery did they spread? How did people live and work? It records the scene that emerged while touring the former terraced rice fields with dancer Tadashi Shimada. In the 2023 “Forest Exhibition Room”, images recorded in the pavilion on the side of the cedar forest were exhibited. You can watch the full version of the exhibit online: