About Nishi-Awa

Nishi-Awa Tourism Area

Within the embrace of lofty mountains, time stands still.
Nishi-Awa is a pure land of unchanging patterns and human warmth.
When you arrive here, you’re struck by a sense of unexplored seclusion. It’s a place where one valley leads into another, disappearing into the mist. Little hamlets with patches of farmland cling to the steep mountainsides. There’s nowhere else in Japan like it.

Pathways wind their way right beside the farmhouses of these close-knit communities, where total isolation and limited resources have fostered indissoluble bonds and a spirit of cooperation. From the Heian period, the people of Nishi-Awa have welcomed strangers warmly, accepting them as hospitably as one of their own.
The unique culture that arose on these high mountain slopes fascinated scholar of eastern culture Alex Kerr, who saw the valleys of Iya as a Japanese Shangri-La. Today, many visitors from around the world come to experience its peaceful charm.