As more time passed, the more beautiful nature appeared but at the same time there were a lot of winding road and I was hoping to arrive there soon. Just then a lovely sign announcing Umajimura appeared and we entered the village where some buildings and houses surrounded by a beauties of nature.
Arriving to Umaji village office, a big object made of Yanase cedar caught my eye. Mr. Kiyooka, our guide, asked us how much we thought it was worth. I didn’t expect it to be more than 1,000,000 yen! Yanasesugi (Yanase cedar) is quite valuable.
Umajimura is famous in Kochi as the village that produces Yuzu. Especially Gokkun which is a drink made from Yuzu. But Yanasesugi is famous as well and it is representative of Kochi as tree. So each year they hold a unique festival to promote this resource, and the festival is called “Yamashi tatsujin sensyuken”.
This festival started in 1992 and it has been going for 19 years now. It is kind of sports festival where participants compete doing the work of yamashi (lumber dealers). The festival has two programs, one using machines, and one without. For example, climbing cedars and cutting them, a relay race with a cedar having a competitor each of the event.
On the other hand, there are some events use a machine. And almost all the participant are people who work in the forest.
By the way, why did they start this festival or what for? I wondered.
Kiyooka san answered to my question and he said that we want to connect with selling timber through this festival ultimately. But above all, the most thing he or Umajimura people would like to tell us is that let people to know about a wood more closely or Yanasesugi or senbonyama is in Umazimura and they have living with trees which is a culture for them. And they hope this festival lead people to come to Umajimura which has mountain or woods. So they decided to do about forestry as item in this festival. And people who live in different area come to Umaji for the festival sometimes now.
This festival cannot exist without trees and forestry is one of the representative of Kochi. And their (people who live in Umaji) aim is not just sightseeing but want people to feel something when people come to Umagi. So I think they are doing this festival which we can join not just seeing. And people who afe working in the forest are many in Umajimura still now. So Umajimura people want us to know about that, to visit Umagi and join the festival which can experience feel wood.
In this festival, Foreigner who came to this festival is very few. And participant is almost people who is working in a forest as I mentioned above. Some women come to this festival recently but the item in this festival is quite hard for beginner to do. So this is a chance to show your talent. Finally, Yamashi tatujin sensyuken held at the beginning of November. You should go there!