Nonogawa Community Center

You haven't visited the community center yet and you've been here over two months, already? No wonder the town thinks you're not going to stay!

  It's the heart of small-town Nonogawa. The village owes much of its increasing population to the center, despite its location in a rural valley. Japanese society is built on strengthening relationships, and it's the foundation of the community center.   Any group may meet at the community center. In turn, they must give something back to the community via a free group sponsored activity.  


To keep Nonogawa's population from shrinking, the city invested in creating a community center that would serve as the center for most community activities—a place where the townsfolk could develop deeper relationships.  


The community center staff members (both paid and volunteer) work hard to anticipate and listen to the needs of the community. They provide all they can locally and bring in digital options for areas the town can't provide. The center caters to all age groups from youth to seniors. Below is a sample the center's offerings.  
Community classes
by Freepik
Art, cooking, crafts, writing, foreign language, computer and technology, traditional games like Go or Shogi, music, and other lessons, can be found on the rotating schedule and digital classes shared with Shimosaki, Kyuunan, Okayama, and Kyoto.
Poetry contests, book readings, movie nights, video and board game nights, puppet shows, etc.
by surang
Photography groups who host contests and displays, bird watching groups who host hiking tours, a ping pong league that hosts a tournament open to all, a First Lego League that teaches kids how to build and program robots, and more.
A well stocked library
The library does its best to keep up with the current trends and has an excellent inter-library loan program for books they don't have yet. Every year, they have a city wide book and bake sale to help generate funds for new books.
Art gallery
by ultimatearm
The walls of the library and meeting rooms serve as spaces for local artisans to display their work. For 3D pieces such as sculptures and pottery, there are hallway alcoves.
Small and large meeting rooms
Individuals, businesses, or clubs may reserve a space up to 3 months a head of time. There are separate spaces for meetings and celebrations, as most Nonogawans don't consider their homes large enough for events such as birthday parties and the like.
Tourism information
by denimao
The center posts a physical and digital calendar of all events happening through out the Nonogawa River Valley. Local temple and shrine keepers work with the community center to arrange festivals and volunteer help.

A Refuge for Nonogawans

Townsfolk seek out the community center as a way to deal with many small-town problems.  
Summer heat and winter cold
Residences in the historic sections of town don't have central air conditioning or central heat. But the community center does.
Loneliness and boredom
Classes, events, and activities provide multiple opportunities for social gathering and entertainment.
Work in Progress

This article will be expanded in the future.


This article will be expanded in the future.


This article stub serves as a simple definition.


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Nonogawa Community Center Logo by small.smiles

The small town of Nonogawa in Okayama Prefecture.
Founding Date
Common area
Parent Location


In the early 1990s, Nonogawa saw the same depopulation as other rural communities and they formed a committee to research ideas that would help the area stabilize and grow. Festivals were a big draw for tourism, but not enough to keep the town going. They needed a central hub that villagers could rely on as a place to gather.   Finally, after seeing the popularity of community centers in larger cities, Nonogawa's city council decided to invest in a similar but more expansive concept. They broke ground in 2001 and the community center opened in 2003.  

Architecture and Sensory Experience

The center needed to fit into the small-town, traditional atmosphere, yet feel modern enough to meet today's needs. So, the first floor has many windows and an open, welcoming feel. The top floors give the building a traditional look that fits in with the neighborhood.

Nonogawa Library by Leo Okuyama on Unsplash

Cover image: Nonogawa Community Center by AWV + MJ


Author's Notes

Inspired by the delightful book, "What you are looking for is at the library" by Michiko Aoyama.

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Jul 8, 2024 12:20 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Aww, I love this. And I really love the book it was inspired by. <3

Jul 8, 2024 18:39 by Amy Winters-Voss

Aww thank you! So you read "What you are looking for is at the library", too?

Author of the Liminal Chronicles urban fantasy series | Author Website
Jul 8, 2024 18:57 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Yes, last month! :D <3

Jul 8, 2024 22:59 by Amy Winters-Voss


Author of the Liminal Chronicles urban fantasy series | Author Website
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