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Satoyama - Japan’s Secret Watergarden

For at least 2,000 years, a unique way of life has flourished around the shores of Japan's largest freshwater lake - Lake Biwa - fed by more than 500 rivers that descend from the rugged, forested interior of Honshu Island. To exploit the abundant mountain water, generations of farmers have transformed the foothills surrounding the lake into a maze of ingeniously engineered terraced fields. The balance between humans and nature is reflected in the Japanese name for the cultivated areas : Satoyama.






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