Live music, handicrafts and cows!

Steve Jarvis introduces a different kind of countryside fair in eastern Hiroshima prefecture.

UPDATE: This event has been canceled ue to the approach of Typhoon 18

Does kicking back on the grass listening to live music while the kids occupy themselves making fresh butter sound like a good weekend? Or maybe you are more attracted to the challenge of making a wooden stool while the children are working off their energy on the Stryder course? No? Then you must have come for the camping and stargazing. Regardless, of your preference the Satoyama Future Exhibition and Autumn Festival being held in Jinseki Kougen’s Tiergarten between September 16th and 18th will have something to keep you happy.

Far from its namesake located in central Berlin, Hiroshima’s version of Teirgarten (literally ‘Animal Garden’) is nestled amongst lush green mountains in the East of the prefecture within shouting distance of neighboring Okayama. Year round visitors can enjoy interacting with animals, having farm and craft experiences, letting off steam in the rolling green hills and playgrounds, and spending their nights around campfires. For 2017, the annual Autumn highlight of a three-day local music festival [ja], will be jointly held with the Satoyama Futures Exhibition, part of the Satoyama Futures Expo [2017 Hiroshima Satoyama Mirai Haku :: ひろしま里山未来博2017] [ja] being run by the Hiroshima prefectural government to promote the pleasures and benefits of spending more time in the countryside.

For many Japanese ‘Satoyama’, the border area between human world and wild nature, is an evocative word harking back to a time when people lived in harmony with nature sharing the available space in a sustainable way. If ever there was a concept in need of re-popularization, this is it! Breaking from the traditional model of an Expo, this year-long event has no pavilions nor even a single location, rather people are encouraged to visit any of the 350 community events taking place in the mountains, fields and towns of Hiroshima’s countryside. As the Expo’s main event, the Satoyama Futures
Exhibition brings together wide selection of these small-scale events and activities into one place, allowing visitors to get a concentrated taste of the best Hiroshima’s countryside has to offer.

Highlights for the three day events include two stages with an 88 key weighted keyboard music performance and guest speakers, multiple children’s playgrounds, craft workshops to hone your skills with wood, leather and clay, photographic and soundscape exhibitions and tutorials, and a wide range of stalls selling local foods and produce. The night program features a campfire, stargazing, candle art and more. Limited numbers of rental tents are available, but if possible, bring your own tent to stay on site.

For those wanting to branch out, there are nature walks, rental bikes for nearby trails, and Tiergarten also serves as the base for daily tours uncovering many of Jinseki Kougen’s hidden attractions.

Less than an hour from Hiroshima’s second city Fukuyama, easiest access is by car although public bus, shuttle bus and taxi combinations are also available. For information and tent rental contact Tiergarten or check the Satoyama Future Expo website or the Facebook Page [ja] for the latest updates.