A trip to discover the faith and culture of Suwa, which developed through communication between people and nature in the area known as Jomon Ginza, which once thrived over 10,000 years ago
Through guided tours and dedicated performances by people who have passed their culture down through generations, this program allows visitors to experience the unique spirituality of the region that has long communicated with nature.
Located in the middle of Nagano Prefecture, the Suwa/Chino area is easily accessible from the Tokyo metropolitan area as well as Nagoya. This area is said to have been the most populated in Japan during the Jomon period (10,000–300 BCE), and Jomon culture thrived here. The Suwa faith has since taken root in the area, originating from Suwa Taisha Shrine, and the culture and lifestyle of respecting and coexisting with nature are very much alive in the area today. Captivated by the power of this place, many keep coming back to it, and many continue to live here. Two programs will be held to allow visitors to take time to reflect on themselves through an encounter with magnificent nature and interactions with local residents.
One program focuses on special cultural content that allows visitors to experience the spirituality of the Suwa faith. Suwa taiko drum is a cultural performing art that evolved from kagura (Shinto music) dedicated to Suwa Taisha Shrine and serves as the origin of the modern kumidaiko style of drumming. Makoto Yamamoto, who is the successor of this tradition, will give a tour of Suwa Taisha Shrine. Afterwards, visitors will head to Buppo Shoryu-ji Temple, which has deep ties to Suwa Taisha Shrine, to experience the worldview of the Shinto-Buddhism syncretism and its story of overcoming the political storms. At the end of the tour, visitors will have a special opportunity to observe an up-close performance of the Suwa taiko drum dedication to the Shinto god of the Upper Shrine, Suwa Daimyojin (original Buddhist deity Fugen Bodhisattva).
The other program allows visitors to discover the history of the Suwa region. The tour will specially reserve Honjin Iwanami House at Shimosuwa-juku, which was considered an important hub along the highway during the Edo period (1603–1867). Participants will tour the buildings, scenery, and treasures that remain today under the guidance of the 28th head of the family. There will be an opportunity to enjoy a Koto performance in the reception room overlooking Nakasendo's best garden, which will be the main attraction of the event.