What is Satoyama?
In Japanese, the word Satoyama symbolizes ‘sustainability’. Sato means livable or arable land, and the word yama means mountains or hills. Satoyama usually describes an area which contains some mountains or forests, rice fields or vegetable fields, and residences. The area has self-sustaining power by circulating resources within. The mountains have the sources of a river which produces water to the rice fields.
The trees can be used for building houses or furniture, and remaining wood can be used as firewood.
Fallen leaves are used as fertilizers for rice fields and vegetable fields. Straws or rice bran from the rice fields after harvesting rice can be used as fertilizers, too.
I included the residences in this ecosystem because humans can play a big role in this system of circulation. We frequently go to the mountains to cut trees or collect fallen leaves, and this human activity is crucial to sustaining the mountains.
By cutting some trees, we create space in the forests to get sunlight in which helps smaller trees to grow. This circulation of one life to another sustains the ecosystem.
Japanese villages were all based in Satoyama in the past and they were all self-sufficient. Growing multiple species and a wide variety of crops at the same time and same place is better than monoculture and that can be more easily done in Satoyama.
Permaculture, organic farming, and natural farming whether it is Fukuoka style or Kawaguchi style all can be practiced more easily in Satoyama, and Satoyama lifestyle is what Masanobu Fukuoka was suggesting in The One Straw Revolution.
In Ikigai Diet, too, I stated that Satoyama lifestyle was the Japanese secret to health and longevity, because it provides us with a good diet and a lot of exercises.
Satoyama lifestyle is the core of Zen and a Way of Sustainable Prosperity, because it provides us with abundant natural resources, great communication among family members and friends, and spiritual awareness by being part of natural rhythm.
So, what is Satoyama?
Satoyama is a place where you can lead a sustainable, prosperous, and holistic lifestyle.
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