Nanmoku (南牧村, Nanmoku-mura) is a village located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of February 2015, the town had an estimated population of 2,025, and a population density of 17 persons per km2. Its total area is 118.83 km2. Nanmoku, like many rural areas in Japan, is seeing a significant amount of population decline; in 1955 there were more than 10,000 inhabitants. The majority of the remaining villagers are over 60 years in age (57.1% in 2012), with a median age of 62.5 for the total population – the oldest in Japan.

Nanmoku

南牧村
Nanmoku village office
Nanmoku village office
Flag of Nanmoku
Flag
Official seal of Nanmoku
Seal
Location of Nanmoku in Gunma Prefecture
Location of Nanmoku in Gunma Prefecture
Nanmoku is located in Japan
Nanmoku
Nanmoku
 
Coordinates: 36°9′30.6″N 138°42′41.2″E / 36.158500°N 138.711444°E / 36.158500; 138.711444Coordinates: 36°9′30.6″N 138°42′41.2″E / 36.158500°N 138.711444°E / 36.158500; 138.711444
CountryJapan
RegionKantō
PrefectureGunma Prefecture
DistrictKanra
Area
 • Total118.83 km2 (45.88 sq mi)
Population
 (February 2015)
 • Total2,025
 • Density17/km2 (40/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
Symbols 
• TreeCryptomeria
• BirdJapanese bush-warbler
Phone number0274-87-2111
Address1089 Ōaza Dainichimukai, Namoku-mura, Kanra-gun, Gunma-ken 370-2601
Websitehttp://www.nanmoku.ne.jp/

GeographyEdit

Nanmoku is located in southwestern Gunma Prefecture bordering on Nagano Prefecture to the west. Part of the town is within the borders of the Myōgi-Arafune-Saku Kōgen Quasi-National Park.

  • Mountains:
    • Mount Arafune (1423 m)
    • Mount Hikage (1407 m)
    • Mount Ōya (1081 m)
    • Eboshidake (1182 m)
    • Mount Kurotaki (870 m)
    • Mount Yotsumata (900 m)
    • Tateiwa (1265 m)
  • Rivers:
    • Nanmoku River
    • Ōshiozawa River
    • Kumakura River
    • Ōnita River

Surrounding municipalitiesEdit

HistoryEdit

During the Edo period, the area of present-day Shimonita was largely part of the tenryō territory held directly by Tokugawa shogunate within Kōzuke Province. The village of Nanmoku was created on March 15, 1955 by the merger of the villages of Iwado, Tsukigata and Ozawa.

EconomyEdit

The economy of Nanmoku is heavily dependent on agriculture.

EducationEdit

Namoku has no schools at present.[citation needed]

TransportationEdit

RailwayEdit

Nanmoku is not served by any rail network at present. The nearest train station is Shimonita Station in the neighboring town of Shimonita.

HighwayEdit

Nanmoku is not served by any national highways at present.

Local attractionsEdit

Nanmoku is popular locally for its scenery.[citation needed] The village is located in the valley of a small mountain range, where there are excellent hiking opportunities. One of the mountains, Mt. Arahune, is home to a park with a campsite, including a large multipurpose recreational area that has tennis, water sports, and fishing facilities. There is also an astronomy center located on the grounds. Nanmoku also has a museum that documents local culture and history.

HitoboshiEdit

 
Nanmoku's fire-spinning festival, hitoboshi.

The village is particularly famous for hitoboshi (火とぼし), the two-day local fire festival, the largest in the prefecture.[1] Many people who have moved away but still have family in the village return for this festival, and it is popular with tourists as well. Though such fire festivals were once popular, few remain. Nanmoku's version falls on August 14 and 15, and coincides with Obon, a festival honoring ancestors. However, Hitoboshi itself commemorates the village's victorious alliance with the Takeda clan during the Sengoku period.[2] During the festival, villagers take turns standing on a bridge and twirling burning bales of hay over the edge.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ [1] Gunma Prefecture official home page
  2. ^ [2] Nanmoku home page

External linksEdit

  Media related to Nanmoku, Gunma at Wikimedia Commons