Shiiba Village Japan

Overview

Shiiba Village

Adventures in Shiiba

Schools and Government Offices

Shiiba Village
(Japanese)

Official Homepage
for Shiiba Village
(Japanese)

Folklore Museum


Links

Japanese Workbook

Japanese Events and Holidays

Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET)
Programme


Background

Resume & Bio
Erik Kassebaum


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Introduction

Shiiba Village is located in the middle of the Japanese island of Kyushu. The landscape of Shiiba is dominated by tall forested mountains that average 1000 meters in height. Shiiba Village is in Miyazaki-ken and has a population of 2800 people. Shiiba is about 75 kilometers from the port city of Hyuga. Shiiba's landmass is 536.20 square kilometers.

By bus, it takes about two and a half hours to reach the nearest train station (Hyuga JR). By car, the trip takes a little less than two hours. Kumamoto and Miyazaki are both about 3-4 hours away by car. Most of the roads in Shiiba are very narrow and very twisty.

The "Miyazaki Forest" is part of the Kyushu University Forest. It is located in the Okawachi District of Shiiba Village. The forest has a total area of 2,915ha and is in a very remote part of Shiiba Village. From the Shiiba Village Government Office, it takes about 45 minutes by car to get to the Kyushu University Forest Department's Main Office.
 
 
 
The economy of Shiiba is based upon agriculture. Sugi, a type of Cedar tree; Shiitake, a type of mushroom that is an important part of Japanese cooking; and Soba, a type of buckwheat used to make soba noodles are Shiiba's primary agricultural products. Traditional agricultural practices such as small-scale "slash and burn" (yakihata) for soba, and the pounding of plugs impregnated with mushroom spores (komauchi) into logs are still popular. Tourism is becoming a more important part of Shiiba's economy.

The modern political entity known as Shiiba Village is about 100 years old. Shiiba Village is comprised of a number of smaller sub-villages. Each of the sub-villages has a unique set of cultural practices. Linguistically, Shiiba Village is a very interesting place due to the number of local dialects that are still used.

The people of Shiiba regard folklore as a very important part of life. The Heike Matsuri is Shiiba's most important annual festival. It is held during the second weekend in November and celebrates a tragic love affair that took place many centuries ago. Princess Tsurutomi Hime and General Daihachiro Nasu are the main characters in this drama. To learn more you will need to come to the festival.

Shiiba is famous for its Kagura Dances, Hietsukibushi (a very important Japanese folk song) and the Heike Matsuri. The remoteness of Shiiba adds to its mystique. Shiiba has one of Japan's first museums to specialize in the study and preservation of Folk Art and Folk Performance. Those who venture into Shiiba find themselves in a place very different from the rest of Japan. The people of Shiiba are as warm and friendly as the landscape is beautiful.