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The 14th National Grasslands Summit Symposium in Otari will be held.

The 14th National Grasslands Summit Symposium in Otari will be held. *Otari village*
Press release: July 5, 2024
The 14th National Grasslands Summit Symposium in Otari will be held. *Held at Hakuba Alps Hotel in Otari Village, Nagano Prefecture from October 4th to 5th, 2024. *
14th National Grassland Summit Symposium in Otari Tournament Event Overview People involved in grasslands gather to promote the value and existence of grasslands that have become rare throughout the country, share natural and cultural knowledge and techniques, and deepen discussions about the current status and issues of conservation and succession activities across the country. However, the event will be held with the aim of working together to preserve grasslands for the future.
If you are interested in grasslands, nature, and thatched roofs, please take this opportunity to participate in the Grassland Summit Symposium.

Date: 2024.10.4 (Friday) – 2024.10.5 (Sat)
Venue: Hakuba Alps Hotel, Hakuba Norikura, Otari Village, Nagano Prefecture Contents: 4th: “100 Grassland Villages to Preserve for the Future” certificate award ceremony, national grassland symposium, exchange event
     5th: Field tour, National Grassland Summit
Capacity: 150 people *Reception will end as soon as the capacity is reached. Application period 2024.6.17 (Monday) to 2024.7.24 (Wednesday) Application address:
Purpose of the event
Semi-natural grasslands and wetlands that were maintained through burning, grazing, and weeding have drastically decreased in value due to the fuel revolution after World War II, and preserved grasslands are now rare. Grasslands, which occupied 20% of the country during the Meiji period, have now decreased to 1%.

Municipalities with these rare grasslands and all the people involved with them will gather together to promote the value and significance of grasslands throughout the country, as well as share their natural environment, historical and cultural knowledge and techniques. The purpose of holding the National Grassland Summit/Symposium is to deepen discussion on the current status and issues of conservation and succession activities being undertaken across the country, and to work together to maintain grasslands.
Past events and content
The Grassland Summit Symposium has been held 13 times in the past in municipalities with grasslands that belong to the National Grassland Village Municipal Liaison Council (see Document 1). The Liaison Council is made up of 29 municipalities and holds summits and symposiums on a rotating basis. The content structure of each conference is almost the same, and the symposium consists of keynote lectures by researchers who will raise the issues of the conference, breakout sessions (3 to 4 topics) to deepen the issues together with the participants, and We are conducting on-site tours to confirm the current situation. At the summit, the heads of municipalities that are members of the National Prairie Village Liaison Council gather at the conference venue, discuss issues, and adopt the results as the conference’s “Summit Declaration.”
Significance of the Otari (Otari) Tournament
On the west side of Otari Village are the “Maki-no-iri-hayaba” where “wildfire” (yama-yaki) is held every year, and the locally managed “Ame-shoku-no-hayaba” where “wildfire” is also held. It has spread to Both of these grass fields have been certified as “Hometown Cultural Property Forests” by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and are producing areas for Japanese kaya, which is used as a material for thatched roofs. Approximately 10,000 bushes are expected to be harvested, and it has been used as roofing thatch for many important cultural properties.

In 2020, “Traditional architectural craftsmanship: Traditional techniques for passing down wooden structures” was registered as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, and the technique of “gathering thatch” is included in this, and it is practiced in Otari village. The traditional methods of cutting thatch and standing thatch have come into the limelight.

We want to spread the word about the existence of rare grasslands where carefully maintained grasslands are utilized, and work with people involved with grasslands to pass on the natural environment of grasslands and knowledge and techniques for grassland maintenance to the next generation. We would like to use this as an opportunity to think about the issues facing the world.
At the symposium on the 4th, keynote speeches were given by Kunihiro Ando, ​​a professor emeritus at the University of Tsukuba who studies kayaba, and Takao Matsuzawa, a thatch roofer in Otari village who is active as a “modern master craftsman,” as well as Hideyuki Ida, a professor at Shinshu University. Research reports will be given by the professor, and breakout sessions will be held on four themes. There is also a breakout session in which third-year students from Kotani Junior High School serve as presenters.
On the 5th, there will be an on-site tour of the grass fields designated as the “Furusato Cultural Properties Forest” by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the “Old Senkoku-ke Residence (Ushikata-juku),” a thatched-roof private house designated as a Nagano Prefectural Treasure.
In addition, the heads of local governments with grasslands from all over the country will gather to hold the “Grasslands Summit.” The event will conclude with a discussion of the current situation and issues related to grasslands, and the adoption of the “Otani Conference Declaration.”
Grassland of Otari Village
Otari Village has a vast grassland of grassland at the foot of the Northern Alps. Even today, local people maintain the fire by burning the area, which is called “wildfire”, and in autumn, it becomes beautifully covered with thatch called Kariyasu. It is said that only 1% of the country remains with grasslands like this, making them extremely valuable.

There is a thatch craftsman in Otari Village, and at the end of October, the “thatching” of thatch is carried out to be used for repairing the roofs of buildings designated as cultural properties. Thatch cutting is also designated as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The sight of countless thatch stands spreading out to dry thatch is said to be the original scenery of a grassland.
Otari Village, Nagano Prefecture
Otari Village is located in the northwest corner of Nagano Prefecture, bordering Niigata Prefecture. The Hakuba Mountain Range of the Northern Alps rises to the west, and the Otari Mountains, including Mt. Amakashi, one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains, extend to the east, and the Hime River flows through the center, forming a valley that empties into the Sea of ​​Japan. It belongs to two national parks, Chubu-Sangaku National Park and Myoko-Togakushi National Park, and its mountains and valleys create a magnificent natural landscape. There are also 11 hot springs in the village, including Otari Onsen, which has been around since the Edo period.
There is a lot of snowfall during the winter months, and the Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort, Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Resort, and Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort are located at the foot of the Northern Alps, and are visited by skiers and snowboarders from all over the country and overseas. In the summer, the area is crowded with climbers to Hakuba Oike and Fubuki Oike in the Hakuba Mountain Range, and Mt. Amakashi in the Myoko-Togakushi Mountain Range. Many tourists visit throughout the season in search of nature and hot springs, and tourism is the village’s main industry.
Otari Village has developed as a strategic point on the Chikoku Kaido Road, which connects the Sea of ​​Japan region and inland Shinshu. During the Edo period, the Senkoku Bansho of the Matsumoto clan was located here, and marine products such as salt were brought in from the Sea of ​​Japan. There are many traces of the old road remaining in the village, and on May 3rd, the Salt Road Festival is held to remember the past, and there are many participants every year. people are walking on this road.
Contact information
14th National Grasslands Summit Symposium in Otari Executive Committee Secretariat
Telephone: Otari Village Board of Education 0261-82-2587
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