Schools and Government
for Shiiba Village
Japanese Events and
and Teaching (JET)
- 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
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.