The village of Nagoro, hidden in the Shikoku valley, has more than 350 dolls of all shapes and ages and in houses and routes with no people.
The declining birth rate and aging population in Japan are the reasons why rural villages are becoming less populated. Young people dragged each other to major cities to work, leaving the remaining villages old and very few children.
The village of Nagaro in the Shikoku valley had only 37 people left. The population in Nagaro village is increasing, but it’s not people but dolls. With all shapes and ages, the number of dolls in the village has reached 350, arranged in houses and on roads.
A doll in Nagaro village. Photo: Unusual Places.
All dolls here are made by Ayano Tsukimi, a villager. The idea of doing the job goes back 11 years, when Tsukini wanted to reduce her loneliness when she returned to the village. She started making dolls for her deceased father until villagers had left or died.
Dolls appear everywhere, based on the characteristics of people who have lived in the village before. Photo: AsiaOne.
Ms. Tsukimi said, this job came very randomly. At first she planted a tree to forget her sadness, but the seed cannot grow. Then she decided to make a dummy to resemble her deceased father, since then it has been more than 10 years. The dolls here are made from cloth, straw and old clothes.
Ayano Tsukini beside the dummies she created. Photo: Kusuyama.
To attract visitors here, the author also arranged a number of dolls outdoors and on the streets. The village was accidentally discovered by Google’s streetview application when saving images of almost life-sized dolls appearing all over the street. Nagaro Village has attracted curious people and visitors.