Kosuge Village

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Located deep in the mountains of northeastern Yamanashi, on the western border of Greater Tokyo, the village of Kosuge has a population of around 700 and a total land area of just 52.65 square kilometers.

Ninety-five percent of the municipality is swathed in verdant forest, of which 30 percent is designated as protected watershed forest within the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, as the headwaters of Kosuge supply much of Tokyo’s drinking water. The Kosuge River flows eastward through the village, feeding into Lake Okutamako and onward to the Tama River downstream across 135 kilometers, out into the waters of Tokyo Bay.

Both the river and forest are rich sources of food for local residents. The Kosuge River yields yamame, known in English as freshwater cherry trout. This sibling fish of salmon is considered one of Kosuge’s local specialties, along with konjac, buckwheat, and freshly foraged vegetables. Most farm produce here is grown for private consumption. Notable exceptions include crops like wasabi root and buckwheat, both of which require clear, clean water and suitable temperatures to grow and as such thrive in the village’s mountainous climate. A few local hunters capture some 50 to 60 deer each year, which are then turned into venison patties.

The village’s lush natural environs are a significant draw for Tokyoites. Some companies organize regular CSR activities for employees here, helping to clean up the forest or plant trees. Many urbanites also visit for outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, and hiking.

Additionally, in a bid to combat the housing shortage in the village and attract more young, single residents, Kosuge has spearheaded the innovative TinyHouse Project. The village authorities have built a number of modern tiny houses ideal for younger remote workers drawn to a low-cost, low-impact lifestyle in rural Japan.


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