Communication design, with the web as its axis, linking a small mountain village to the world.

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in Kamiyama

in Kamiyama

NPO Green Valley, Kamiyama (Tokushima, 2008)

At the request of the non-profit organization Green Valley Inc. as a part of their community-building efforts for the town of Kamiyama, Tokushima on the island of Shikoku, we created the ‘in Kamaiyama’ website, linking a small mountain village to the world.

Communication design with the web as its axis. ‘in Kamiyama’ is one of 29 regional ICT model projects promoted by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.


A springtime view from Mt. Oawa towards Kamiyama Spa. (From the in Kamiyama Photo Album)

We were first consulted in summer 2007 and embarked on planning that autumn. After launching a test site at the end of March 2008, operations gradually gained momentum and by early summer Kamiyama’s day-to-day events were being conveyed to the world in Japanese and English.


A portion of the site access log is shown online, which as you can see comes from all over the world.

The site in brief


Photo Album
A giant photo archive of old photos of Kamiyama, scanned and stored as data before these fragile images are lost, plus new photos added from day to day. Photos can also be linked to flickr as an external form of storage.

Around 20 core members of the community post regularly, or in other words, blog. The curiously international influences at a mountain eatery, insect bites, the joys of fostering new forest

Art in Kamiyama
Launched in 1999, the Kamiyama Artist in Residence (KAIR) invites three artists every year to live and make art in Kamiyama. The artists set about making new works in September, which they present in an exhibition held in early November.

The more recent Bed & Studio program was added to help artists organize their own art sojourns to Kamiyama.

These activities lie at the core of this small mountain community’s curiously international flavor. They also form the main contents of the English site.

Life in Kamiyama
Info about properties for people thinking about moving to/within Kamiyama. The town sees a fair share of relocations, several of which reportedly took place thanks to this site. (In Japanese only)

Flea Market
A bulletin board announcing roadside stands, and individual ‘selling…’ and ‘seeking…’ info. The seasonal fruits and veggies that appear from time to time sure look tasty! (In Japanese only)

All pages, except the Photo Album, are blog-engine (WordPress) based and with added, somewhat-intricate fine-tuning, serve as content management systems. They also coordinate with non-web media. For example, the print-based “Kamiyama Today”.


Map of Today:
A small map featuring seasonal highlights, and events and must-sees of the day.
Data is generated daily, semi-automatically, and the map is distributed to visitors at cafes and roadside stands. A selection of articles from the web is also incorporated automatically. A jpeg version is available for perusal on the top page of the site.

We were mindful with this project not to over-design.

We were struck by the personalities of the people of Kamiyama and Green Valley director Shinya Ominami, and did our best to make the design of the site a direct reflection their healthiness.

The blog-editing page (registered users only) includes a host of SNS features to facilitate communication between community and registered members.

This project meant assembling multiple technologies to create relatively complex communications ware, but as Alan Kay said long ago, “the music’s not in the piano.”

Do visit Kamiyama and in Kamayama!

Produced by: Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Kamiyama town, Green Valley Inc (NPO)
Co-direction: Shinya Ominami, Akira Nikishima, Yoshiaki Nishimura (Living World)

Planning direction: Yoshiaki Nishimura (Living World)
Co-planning: Tom Vincent (Tonoloop)
Web design: Kazuo Soma (
Design/Map of Today: Senya Nemoto
Art direction: Tariho Nishimura (Living World)

Programming: Kaoru Fujita
Engineering production: E FRONT (Akira Nikishima, Masakane Endo, Takaaki Niimi, Nobuo Terauchi, Hiroyuki Ikezumi, Keitarou Yodo)
Co-engineering/Kamiyama Photo Album: APEX (Masanao Miyata, Hiroyuki Saita, Kunihiro Toda)
Production management: SSDC (Kumegawa, Fukuda, Nagano)

Advisors: Tom Vincent, Noriyuki Ouchi
Editors: Keiko Kudo, chan (Youishi Amano), Touru Nakahara, Claire Tanaka, Kouji Kita, Hiroko Yoshida
Translation: Claire Tanaka
Photo class instructor: Touru Yokota

Special Thanks to: Fumiko Hasebe (Shikoku Bureau of Economy,Trade & Industry), Teiko Hinuma (Aomori Contemporary Art Centre)

thumbnail image COLORS & CLOUDS

Public media for a concourse in Minatomirai Station, Yokohama

thumbnail image Listen! diary

Covering the years 1996 to 2002, from Sound Bum to our first exhibition…(Text in Japanese only; forgive us!)

thumbnail image Is that a butterfly?

(in Japanese)

thumbnail image Loquat leaf

Loquat leaf bed.

thumbnail image Starry Day

On a glass window, the star-filled sky spreads out before us