A small town in Nonoku (Nono District) north of Okayama City in Okayama Prefecture, nestled in the top third of the Nonogawa River Valley. The community is very close knit - with the benefit of everyone helping each other, but the disadvantage of a lack of privacy. It's on the Tsuyama Line between Okayama City and Tsuyama, so there should always be reliable train service as long as they can demonstrate a need to keep the station open.
Rice Harvest Festival to Inari (last weekend of October), Obon Festival (mid July1), Cherry Blossom Festival (First weekend in April)
farming, logging, a few restaurants, shops, 1 super market style grocery store, several mom and pop grocery stalls, 1 drug store, hospitality/tourism (emerging)
slowing, but not as fast as neighboring towns
(town south of Nonogawa merged districts and sends their kids here) 1 elementary, 1 middle school, 1 high school, college satellite from Okayama
Shion was reported to live near the banks of the town. But there hasn't been a sighting in over a hundred years. Some blame the downturn in production and shrinking of the town on his disappearance.
Like most small towns in Japan, Nonogawa's population continues to shrink as the better paying jobs in the big cities entice the youth. Most residents are of Japanese descent and are from families that were born and raised in Nonogawa for generations. Though some have come back from the big cities, wanting to get back to the slower life style.
1% Korean descent - intermarrying into the local population
1 Chinese foreign exchange high school student (first ever)Occasional tourists visit for farm stays, relax at the town's ryokan, or pass through on their way to Okayama or Tsuyama. The town council is working on a campaign to promote the village as a great place to live and raise kids and to visit for hiking, fishing, hunting, and honeymoons. The local potter, who specializes in Raku ware just advertised for an apprentice. Rumor has it that he received applications from around the world. So time will tell who else comes to the town.
Nonogawa River, national forest land
1 - Obon is usually celebrated mid August in most of the country. But in some areas it's celebrated in July. This discrepancy is due to the old Japanese calendar being lunar based. While it's traditionally celebrated in the 7th month, the lunar calendar 7th month matches better with August.
Map of NonogawaThe small town of Nonogawa* in Okayama Prefecture.(* fictional town. Map lines from Watabou, colored by Amy Winters-Voss)
野々川, Wild River