Tochikubo has a beautiful scenery looking down entire Minamiuonuma area over its own terraced rice paddies.
Opposite side of the valley from Shimizu, over 60 families are living in this mountainous village.
At this elementary school, only 10 children are being taught by 7 teachers. This place is also covered by over 4 meter of snow.
Next to the village, there are skying slopes and close to the town, many villagers commute to their work place. Rice paddies are continuously spreading along the slope of the hills and people use snow-free season fully for rice growing.
Beech forest are covering the mountains and mountain goats and endangered butterflies are easily observed. Salamanders are found in fresh streams.
Number of children is decreasing and aging of the community is proceeding, so villagers are wondering about the future of their community.
Shimizu is the last village to the mount Makihata which is acclaimed one of the best 100 mountains in Japan.
At shimizu, Less than 20 households are living calmly surrounded by beautiful forest.
There was a pass way connecting Echigo and Kanto area through Shimizu village and this village saw some tycoons and their samurais moving toward Kanto area for their battle.
Elevation is around 600 meters and in the winter season easily over 4 meter of snow covers the village.
The blanch school had closed 20 years ago and very limited number of children are living here.
Aged 20 families are just staying here. Slopes are steep so that rice paddies are not easy to set.
Lumbering business is dying away pressed by cheap imported materials. Maintenance work for high voltage power lines which had been supporting the village economy is shrinking hard because of advancement of remote monitoring technology. The future of the village is really on the edge.
On the other hand, nature of the mountain is still health. Mountain goats, monkeys and bears are walking around the village. Villagers keep their own way of life collecting mountain vegetables in the spring and variety of mushrooms in the fall.