With Ritsuko having been born and raised in a small town in rural Kagoshima Prefecture, I have had the opportunity to visit the area with her many times over the years.
stone lined stream that directs water to the Shimazu estate
Southern Kyushu is a beautiful part of Japan that receives sufficient rainfall for the mountains and valleys to be covered in lush vegetation, and has a long history of responsible productive use of the land and resources.
Walking through the countryside, one thing that you will notice are the centuries old stone lined aquaducts that are still in use today. Their presence and use give testament to how well the people of this region have managed, and continue to manage the flow of water from the mountains and into the fields and towns.
During our stay in Kagoshima on our 2016 Japan trip, we visited Sengan-en. Sengan-en is a park established on the grounds of a beautiful estate that has belonged to the Shimazu family for the past three and a half centuries. I will write more about the estate, garden, and museum in another article, however, I just wanted to share this video of a Sakon-Taro in operation. This is a water powered device that was used to remove the husks and to polish rice.
Below, is a video of the machine going through a cycle.
Video of Sakon-taro in operation - Sengan-en, Kagoshima, Japan
Sakon-taro rice husking device at Sengan-En, Kagoshima, beginning to cycle
Sakon-taro rice husking device at Sengan-En, Kagoshima, about to strike