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HOME > Special Feature - Explore the Satoyama(里山)

Special Feature - Explore the Satoyama(里山)

Explore the « Satoyama »

Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto... These are the destinations that tourists prefer when they visit Japan. But this country is full of gorgeous places to visit, other than big cities. The Japanese countryside also offers a lot of surprises if you want to venture in “the heart” of the country.

HIDA SATOYAMA CYCLING and SATOYAMA EXPERIENCE, two projects located in Gifu Prefecture, will give you the opportunity to discover what it is called here the "Satoyama".


Inside the Japanese Alps, the region of Hida-Takayama gives many wonderful views to anyone who wants to go elsewhere than big cities in Japan. The use of the term Japanese Alps, in this region, is due to the fact that it consists largely of mountains and some of them peak at over 3000 meters. This includes Mount Norikura, which rises to 3026m and is one of the most famous mountains in Japan.

The region is made up of more than 90% mountains. However, towns and villages are still present and the atmosphere, there, seems so peaceful. Above all, you will find many different fields like rice fields, onion fields, tomato fields, or barley fields for example. The most representative are rice fields…


From this, it is easier to understand what the word “Satoyama” means. SATOYAMA is the combination of two words: Sato「里」which means an inhabited place, and Yama「山」which means mountain. Therefore satoyama means an area that lies between the mountains and farmland but it may also mean, more generally, the Japanese countryside.

In this region, Takayama and Shirakawa-Go are the most famous cities. Most tourists don’t really have time to explore other cities except those cities.


For tourists who have the possibility to discover something else than those two cities, beautiful villages await you inside this countryside. One of them, Hida Furukawa, offers you good possibilities to discover the area and to see some local events. This village is not so far from Takayama (about 15 minutes by train; 40 minutes by bus) and if you have the Japan Rail Pass, you can easily come to this village.

One of the big events they have is FURUKAWA MATSURI, a legendary festival held annually on April 19th and 20th and a designated Important Cultural Property of Japan. For visitors who come to the Hida region, this festival is a cultural phenomenon you cannot miss.


Thus, a company decided to offer you the possibility to discover all the elements of Satoyama thanks to a good efficient means of transport: the bike. HIDA SATOYAMA CYCLING will guide you into the “Real” Japanese countryside through many beautiful landscapes like rice fields or waterfalls.

In order to achieve this, the founders of this company give you several options:You can rent a bike and discover places on your own, or, you can choose among the different tours and you will be guided along it. Each tour has its own difficulty level ranging from the easiest to the most difficult one. The fact is that each circuit has its own treasure.


Moreover, if you don’t have the possibility to join one of these tours, you can enjoy all the elements which make the Satoyama thanks to SATOYAMA EXPERIENCE. You can find many articles relative to local life like culinary specialties, events or places to see for example.

Satoyama Experience will offer you the opportunity to be emerged into the local culture by renting a traditional house. This is done in order to allow you to enjoy a maximum your stay in Hida. It is up to you now to choose what you want to do here.

If you are interested in this discovery by bike, here are the links:

If you are interested in the region and its culture, here are the links:

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