Shikoku: More dolls than people!? The Scarecrow Village of Nagoro - Vikingess Voyages

Monday, August 21, 2017

Shikoku: More dolls than people!? The Scarecrow Village of Nagoro

Tokushima Prefecture is situated on the Shikoku island, and as many rural areas in Japan the small prefecture is struggling with a decreasing number of people who can sustain the local community. I recently had the pleasure to travel around Tokushima (you can also check out my post about my visit to the Iya Valley or an abandoned school made cafe) and in this post I'll introduce the village of Nagoro, a place where the vast majority of the inhabitants are dolls.
A doll greeting visitors with a "slow down" traffic sign
It is thus no wonder that the village of Nagoro has become informally known both in Japan and abroad as "Kakashi no Sato" - the Scarecrow Village. This little landlocked village has around 220 inhabitants. Or more precisely; 20 human beings and 200 dolls. The first thing that greets you when you arrive in the village is the sight of these dolls, as they are sitting around quietly waiting for visitors to come.
A couple of dolls waiting for visitors outside one of the village houses.
Dolls enjoying a pack of sigaretts
A doll family by the roadside
When you see what appears to be people sleeping.. It is probably just dolls..
Apparently there is a local villager who has been making these dolls all by herself. Ms. Tsukimi was tired of seeing the number of villagers steadily decreasing, and wanted to do something in order to get more company. That's when she started making the dolls from old newspapers. She likes to keep herself updated on recent trends, and during our visit to the village we could for instance see the scarecrow version of President Trump (perhaps you can spot him in the first picture of this post?)

A picture of the doll maker, Ms. Tsukimi, holding a doll wedding

Although the dolls without a doubt bring tourists to the village from near and far (there are for instance some guestbooks at the bus stop with greetings from tourists from all over the world) it is uncertain whether this helps in bringing more business opportunities to the village. The lady that makes the dolls also has her own ceramic oven where she makes items displayed for sale, but the vendors of the store don't seem too eager to sell (probably because they're all dolls)

Either way, another unique destination for those who want to experience rural Japan in all its glory! If you're lucky you might be able to bump into Ms. Tsukimi Ayano and have a chat about her many doll friends.

 Basic Info
  • ・Nagoro - Kakashi-no-Sato
  • ・Address:
  • Nagoro Higashiiyasugeoi
  • Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima-ken 778-0201
  • ・Access: Bus from Oboke station (大歩危駅), Koboke (小歩危駅), Awa-Kawaguchi (川口駅) or Awa-Ikeda (池田駅前) to Kubo (久保)

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Sunriver Oboke Hotel
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Seaside Hotel Taimaru Kaigetsu
Hotel Obokekyo Mannaka
Hotel Obokekyo Mannaka
Chiiori Lodge

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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