Nozawa’s traditional lifestyle is supported by Japan’s last remaining ‘Sou’ community
Nozawa Onsen Village is known for its beautiful hot spring baths, attracting over 750,000 visitors each year. It is often described as a village with a rich cultural heritage protected for over 700 years by a local farmers' community called 'Sou'. While similar organizations disappeared throughout Japan in the 19th century, Nozawa's became the 'Nozawa-gumi' and continues to manage hot spring sources and take villagers' requests.
The ﬁnest crafts and unsurpassed techniques of master craftsmen
Many craftsmen and artisans gather in the rich, natural environment of Nagano. In each region, unique traditional crafts have been born of the communities of craftsmen and their relationship with nature.
Iiyama Butsudan is a traditional Buddhist altar, made by master craftsmen in Iiyama city. Butsudan-dori (Buddhist Altar Street), which is rare even in Japan, has more than 10 Buddhist altar shops in Iiyama.
Uchiyama Paper is Japanese craft paper of the highest quality made from all-natural mulberry tree ﬁbers, developed and passed down for more than 300 years. It is particularly known for its natural durability, retention, and difficultly of discoloration.
Shinshu Takezaiku is the traditional technique of making baskets and sieves from minimally processed green bamboo growing around the city. These handmade baskets make the best use of their natural beauty and, the more they are used, the more tasteful and exquisite they become with the passage of time.