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Satoyama & Satoumi of Noto Peninsula

From September 17th to 19th, students and faculties of the cultural resource studies program went to Noto town, which is located in northern peninsula of Ishikawa prefecture. This excursion’s aim was to learn the natural and cultural resources management there. The town has plenty of natural resource, and traditional local knowledge connected with sustainable living. We visited and saw the terrace paddy fields, traditional salt-making, morning market, Urushi lacquer ware, and so on. We also heard about unique Ama-san (海女: female diver who collects such as shellfish).


Noto peninsula was designated as a GIAHS (Globally Important Agriculture Heritage System) site because of its Satoyama-Satoumi aspect. Satoyama and Satoumi is a socio-ecological production system/landscape. There is also Shunran-no-sato: an eco-tourism community that provides eco-friendly activities with warm hospitality, so that the young generation becomes aware of the healthy relation between human and nature. The community is made of 47 households: all of them used be farmers, and they turned their each house into “guesthouse.”


Among alternative tourism, “ecotourism” is an attempt to resolve the effects from resource overuse among rural areas because of the development and tourism in previous times. In 1990, the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defined the term ecotourism as “[r]esponsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. Shunran-no-sato in Noto town is an attempt to manage ecotourism in order to sustain in biodiversity and their better quality of life.  


There are some non-Japanese, besides Japanese local residents, who have settled in Noto town for many years. They do many significant activities to support and propagate ecotourism such as homestay and eco-guidance because they regard and are fascinated by the beauty of Noto. This case illustrates the various aspects of ecotourism management in current diverse social situations, which local people need more action and expression to show their sense of belonging and allocate to their own homeland. 




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