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About “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan”

The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan was founded in 2005 with 7 towns and villages, while Japan was in the process of municipal amalgamation to reform financial conditions. Municipalities had to find a way to survive. Following “The Most Beautiful Villages in France”, the idea to form a Japanese association was developed from the hearts and minds of those in villages and towns who wanted to protect their natural and social capital as their intangible resources such as their culture and traditional sceneries that had been passed on by their ancestors for hundreds of years.

Application and Evaluation

In order to be certified as a member of the association of existing beautiful places in Japan, a village has to go through a rigorous application and evaluation procedure. After becoming a member, re-examination occurs every 5 years to ensure that the principles of building a beautiful village is maintained and the activities to enhance the qualities of the village are retained. Based on the criteria used in The Most Beautiful Villages in France, The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan uses its own criteria taking Japanese uniqueness into consideration. The beauty of the village is the culture that has been created through everyday life of its people. The beautiful villages have the unique scenery and regional culture that can only be experienced excursively at that location. Our logo shows these ideas that we highly cherish. Sharing experience with local villagers and visitors who come from other locations is how The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan create new values.

Finding Diverse Beauty

Visiting European villages and viewing castles and stone houses makes you feel as if you were in a piece of impressionist’s artwork. In Japanese villages, you can see the beauty in diverse scenery of the settlements, agricultural practices, forests, mountains and seas that all touches your heart. The diverse beauty of Japanese villages which were created through their long cultural history and daily lifestyle can be deeply felt when talking to the local population.

Our aim is for villages to become self-sufficient

The goal of this movement, The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan, is to preserve the culture and historical properties, and to improve the local economy by providing employment. Our business model is to enhance the value of the member villages as tourist destination, resulting in improving the local economy.

Global Movement of The Most Beautiful Villages

The movement of The Most Beautiful Villages was born in 1982 in France as a new social movement overcoming a deadlock of urban model based on the myths of economic growth prevailing in developed countries. The movement spread to Walloon in Belgium, Quebec in Canada, and Italy, and by 2012, 5 countries including Japan established “The Most Beautiful Villages of The World”. Especially in France and Italy, enthusiastic localism has been emerging, which welcomes urban residents from all over the world.

The Structure of the Association

The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan is a nongovernmental organization. It is a cooperative group of people, mayors of the member villages and towns, its residents, domestic and global enterprises and individual supporters, who share the same value. The association consists of a governing board in center, regular member and associate members. The governing board is composed of a chairman, three vice presidents, 16 directors and 2 inspectors. The board’s function is to oversee the principles of the association, to summarize and execute these principles, and oversee two committees. The Evaluation committee is responsible for the evaluation of new applications, conduct 5-year re-examinations and to enforce existing criteria.

The Project committee develops strategies for new projects, to promote and to monitor the use of the logo mark. Majority of the enterprise supporters of the association are doing, not for business purposes but because of the “wealth” nature, culture and human network benefits.

About “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan”

Goal of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan”

The association of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” supports member villages to develop pride in their villages as recognized members of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan”. We promote spontaneous activities to revitalize the area and to sustain the beautiful villages for the future. Our goal is to enhance the protection of local resources and developing the local economy. Our goal maybe achieved by maintaining the scenery, environment and indigenous traditions and enhancing the value as touristic attraction.
Activity Policy
“The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” was founded in 2005 as a non- governmental organization to protect and develop the local resources such as it’s beautiful sceneries, natural environment and culture. Sharing these values and goals with member villages, we have progressed in protecting indigenous resources and the development of the local economy supporting contribution of enterprises and individual supporters.
Enhancing the brand value
“The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” support activities to protect and develop local resources and to enhance the brand value. By joining the association, residents of the most beautiful village view their village in a new light re-recognizing its beauty. We assist in developing ideas and activities suggested from the local residents such as protecting local resources and recommend them to various industry to revitalizing the village. By making those beautiful villages independent, we increase the significance of our existence.
Enriching promotional activity
The association of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” promote and market the characteristic and charm of the member villages broadly based on the branding strategy. Each village however small contributes to the association developing an enormous impact to society. We take advantage of this impact to increase tourism, both domestic and abroad, in the growth of the local economy.
Strengthening “The Most Beautiful Villages” association’s body
“The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” association recruits villages with rich local resources that meet our criteria, strengthening the association by adding member villages that share the same values. As membership continues to grow, the evaluation systems and regional block systems are revised to maintain the quality and strengthen the association.
Enlarge the supporter with understanding
“The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” strives to educate and market its philosophy and goals to the public to develop additional trust and support from the public to strengthen the association.
Widening the network and exchange
“The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” association provides the network and exchange capabilities to address the common problems shared by the member villages and to enhance civic pride and further develop the utilization of local resources. We also provide the network so supporters of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” and its residents to increase mutual understanding and corroboration. By maintain constant communications and good relationships with “The Most Beautiful Villages in The World”, we strengthen our association both domestically and internationally.

About “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan”

About the membership of the Association

Membership requirement of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan”
Having population of approx. 10,000.
Having more than 2 local resources.
1. Scenery-scenery that has in order to sustain life of people living in the area
   (traditional satoyama satoumi – mountainous and seaside area)
2. Culture-festivals, traditional performance arts and indigenous culture.
Having activities related to the local resources that accord to the association value
1. Conducting town development considering its beautiful scenery.
2. Conducting creative local activities by residents’ initiative.
3. Protecting the indigenous hand crafts and life style.

About “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan”


Official name non-profit organization “The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan”
Category of the institution non-governmental organization
Date of foundation 4 October 2005
Date of certification 24 February 2006
Date of registration 13 March 2006
Number of member municipalities 60(29 towns, 22 villages, 9 areas)※as of 1 April 2016
Representative President Satoshi Hamada (the mayor of Biei, Hokkaido)
Location of the office 〒101-0014 Kaji-cho 1-10-4, Chiyoda, Tokyo