The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan
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The Association of The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan (「日本で最も美しい村」連合 Nihon de mottomo utsukushii mura rengō) is a Japanese nonprofit organization of some of the most beautiful villages and towns in Japan. The association is active on enhancement and protection of Japanese rural heritage, cultural fairs & branding and promotion of regional, national and international cooperation of its member villages and towns.
Established in 2005, the Association of The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan (titled as, the most beautiful villages in Japan) is an important player in the enhancement and conservation of Japanese rural heritage. In line with the other members such as France, Italy, Belgium, of the federation of the Most Beautiful Villages on Earth, Japan has common interests: authenticity, quality and presentation of the heritage as a source of sustainable development and life. Activities of the association include managing the rights of the use of the title name "the most beautiful villages in Japan" and its branding, providing common research and study platform to the member towns and villages for development and cooperation, conducting rural crafts show and food fairs for tourism development, annual photo contests and advocating social awareness about the supreme importance of the rural cultural and natural heritage for its conservation for the future generations.
- 2005 October - The mayor of Biei town of Hokkaido prefecture in Japan initiates association, 7 towns joined the initiative.
- 2006 February - Registered to Non-Profit Organization in Japan.
- 2006 October - Kiso town of Nagano Prefecture and Takaharu town of Miyazaki Prefecture join the association.
- 2007 October - Shibetsu town of Hokkaido prefecture and Gero city of Gifu Prefecture join the association.
- 2008 October - Tsurui village, Kyōgoku town of Hokkaido prefecture, Iide town of Yamagata Prefecture, Nakagawa village, Nagiso town of Nagano Prefecture,
- 2009 October - With new additions of 15 members of towns and villages the total members of the association touches to 33.
- 2010 August - The Association of The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan joins the international federation called - The Most Beautiful Villages on Earth.
- 2010 September - 6 more towns and villages joins the association. This touches the members to 39.
- 2011 October - 5 more towns and villages joins the association. This touches the members to 44.
- 2012 October - 5 more towns and villages joins the association. This touches the members to 49.
List of member villages and towns
- Biei town Hokkaido prefecture
- Akaigawa village Hokkaido prefecture
- Shibetsu town Hokkaido prefecture
- Tsurui village Hokkaido prefecture
- Kyōgoku town Hokkaido prefecture
- Kosaka town Akita Prefecture
- Higashinaruse village Akita Prefecture
- Ōkura village Yamagata Prefecture
- Iide town Yamagata Prefecture
- Iitate village Fukushima Prefecture
- Kitashiobara village Fukushima Prefecture
- Shōwa village of Gunma Prefecture
- Isama, Nakanojo town Gunma Prefecture
- Kuni, Nakanojo town Gunma Prefecture
- Hayakawa town Yamanashi Prefecture
- Ōshika village Nagano Prefecture
- Kiso town Nagano Prefecture
- Nagiso town Nagano Prefecture
- Nakagawa village Nagano Prefecture
- Ogawa village Nagano Prefecture
- Takayama village Nagano Prefecture
- Maze, Gero city Gifu Prefecture
- Shirakawa village Gifu Prefecture
- Ine town Kyoto Prefecture
- Ojiro, Kami town Hyōgo Prefecture
- Soni village Nara Prefecture
- Totsukawa village Nara Prefecture
- Shinjō village Okayama Prefecture
- Chizu town Tottori Prefecture
- Kamikatsu town Tokushima Prefecture
- Kamijima town Ehime Prefecture
- Umaji village Kōchi Prefecture
- Hoshino, Yame city Fukuoka Prefecture
- Tōhō village Fukuoka Prefecture
- Ojika town Nagasaki Prefecture
- Minamioguni town Kumamoto Prefecture
- Tsukahara, Yufu city Ōita Prefecture
- Takaharu town Miyazaki Prefecture
- Aya town Miyazaki Prefecture
- Kikai town Kagoshima Prefecture
- Tarama village Okinawa Prefecture
(as of October 2012)
Some criteria for membership
- About less than 10,000 population.
- Requires two or more local resources to be classified i.e., landscape, environment and culture.
- Having regional sustainable resources.
- Efforts must be taken for sustainable use of local resources.
- Local resources must be already protected by public means, such as Ordinance.