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Iya Valley Road-Trip - Day 4 Part 5 Scarecrow Village

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

When I describe this village to others, it creeps them out a little.

Stop (for a short while) @ Nagoro a.k.a. Scarecrow village


Tokushima, Miyoshi, Higashiiyasugeoi, 191 [Google map link]

Arrived 5:40pm - Departed 5:50pm

The draw of moving to a metropolitan city is great, especially to young minds where future there seems bright. As a result, numerous rural villages in Japan suffers from depopulation. Nagoro of Iya Valley is no exception. Tsukimi Ayano, a creative mind who once lived in Nagoro during her younger days, returned to her hometown to care for her dad when he was ill. As agriculture is part of their livelihood, it is helpful to keep the birds away. One day, she made a life-sized doll, in the image of her father, to be used as a scarecrow. The neighbours mistook the doll for him and spoke to the doll. Things kind of rolled from there. Today, there are hundreds of such dolls made by Ayano.  Some of them are made in the image of those who have left, and others are made-up characters. They are placed at bus stops, the school, farms, riverside and many other locations. They fill the place, to give it life. At least keeps the 30 odd people who remain in Nagoro company. When the last two children graduated from school, they made dolls to take their seats.

Many find this concept interesting. Others experience chills down their spine when they face the dolls. Personally, I feel that the dolls give the place character, though it saddens me to see a number of buildings closed - I suspect, permanently. It always breaks my heart to come across other similarly abandoned buildings during my road trips. At some point in time, the whole of Nagoro will experience a similar fate. Only time will tell.

Onwards we go. Night is about to fall. There is no street lamps. We need to hurry. Back to Hotel Kazurabashi, for our dinner and last night there.

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