“The Entire Kisoji is in the Mountains”
Preserving the Mountains, Living Alongside the Mountains
As the Warring States period came to an end, a town-building boom saw rapid growth in lumber demand, leading to destructive lumbering throughout the country. The early Edo period saw a growing crisis concerning forest resources, which had supported the local economy, in Kiso. The Owari Domain, which had jurisdiction over the Kiso Valley, issued a forest conservation policy that mainly prevented logging. Kiso people found different ways of making a living in new local industries.
In the late Edo period, improvements were made to the road and a growing number of people visited Mt. Ontake. They made local specialties, such as Kiso lacquerware from the post towns, popular nationwide. The Kisouma (Kiso horses), Kiso-hinoki cypress, and traditional crafts, such as Kiso lacquerware, that made Kiso known throughout the country in the Edo Period are still part of the Kiso Valley and synonymous with Kiso.
What is Japan Heritage?
A heritage is a connection to our past: a legacy of our cultural and natural history, and an invaluable source of inspiration to pass on to future generations. The Agency for Cultural Affairs’ Japan Heritage aims to promote our unique cultural traditions, encourage use of our national cultural properties, and revitalize regional economies. Japan's tangible and intangible cultural properties have been preserved through narratives based on unique regional histories and traditions.
By recognizing these stories as Japan Heritages, the Agency plans to promote these historical legacies and to provide comprehensive support so that the heritages may be effectively preserved and maintained.
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Kiso recognized as a Japan Heritage
The Agency for Cultural Affairs recognized the story that introduces the cultural heritages of the Kiso area (Nagiso Town, Okuwa Village, Agematsu Town, Kiso Town , Kiso Village, Otaki Village, and Shiojiri City), “The Entire Kisoji is in the Mountains - Preserving the Mountains, Living Alongside the Mountains,” as a Japan Heritage on April 25, 2016. This is the first Japan Heritage within Nagano Prefecture.
A ceremony was held in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture on July 1, 2016, and a certificate was presented by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.