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Tomoko Kobayashi

Odaka Town

"I want to preserve Odaka for future generations, my sweet and beautiful town."

“People used to like to come to Odaka and spend time here. They’d really get to know us and our history,” says Tomoko. “Now they just drive past as if we were never here.”

Odaka, however, does have a history. A rich and ancient one. Odaka is home to the Nomaoi festival, one of the oldest equestrian festivals in the world that has been handed down through the generations for the past 1,000 years. Preserved in its countryside are ancient cave sculptures that were carved by Buddhist monks in the 14th century and delicately maintained forests.

When the hydrogen explosions erupted at Daiichi, thousands of years of our collective humanity was instantly at risk of disappearing. With only a handful of people still living in the region, the preservation of this heritage is uncertain.