Tono city, Iwate Prefecture, 1999 ongoing
Landscape Architect: Michio Tase (Plamtago)
Architect: Kentaro Ataka
Entrepeneur: Takashi Imai (Annex)
Change: living and working with ‘slow’ social and ecological processes in a rural community
An abandoned property has been transformed by a group of like-minded professionals into a living experiment that explores a more sustainable and meaningful lifestyle amidst Japan's declining rural areas. Located in a region known for its strong horse culture, the project seeks to establish new relationships between humans and horses. Queen’s Meadow Country House attracts a steady stream of visitors who come to experience an alternative to their urban lifestyles. Visiting requires active participation, with guests working on projects which respond to the specific values of the place. Over time the mono-culture pine forest slopes have been transformed with native plant communities. Organic and no-till farming produce food for consumption, while the charismatic Haflinger horses roam freely around the property. Queen’s Meadow Country House offers guidance for revitalising Japan’s many abandoned rural places, looking to new projects such as natural burial and camping. Through cultural workshops, a younger generation of Japanese are encouraged to visit and become more empowered and resilient.