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High-grade charcoal powder and its application in ‘Nanmoku-mura’

I’m now helping one of most depopulated village in Japan.  The village is named ‘Nanmoku-mura’ (‘Nanmoku-village’ located in the valley of a small mountain range and be rich of forest resources (in Gunma-prefecture located north-west of Tokyo).



(‘Nanmoku-mura’ is located at lower left-hand of green area)

Principal products of this village are high-grade charcoal powder made of Japanese cedar of high quality and used as a food additive, and its added foods, e.g., detoxification supplement, pizza (dough), noodle, bun with a bean-jam filling (bun), gelatin, dog and cat food and so on.

For example , by adding charcoal powder in dough of a pizza and then baked, the pizza offers amazing bouncy texture because charcoal powder helps to increase the viscosity of wheat and also to improve the taste.  Furthermore, due to the heat-retaining property of charcoal powder, the pizza is hard to get cold.  Such an unique pizza is provided by Beer restaurant ‘Beer Café B.B.’  This restaurant uses a school building of abandoned kindergarten after repairing, therefore original traces remain here and there as they are, feeling like a child again.  In a front garden, a Saint Bernard (dog) takes kindly to customers.

Grayish dough containing charcoal powder (dough with bouncy texture, very tasty):

Another example is dog and cat food which is a thumb-sized dried pellet made of wheat gluten and charcoal powder (product name: ‘Sumi-no-fushigi’ (wonders of charcoal)).  Charcoal powder regulates bowel movements of dog and cat and helps good coat of their hair, and removes odor from excrement and saliva of those animals.

'Sumi-no-fushigi' (wonders of charcoal):

Glossy hair as a result of taking ‘Sumi-no-fushigi’:

Although those special products are very unique and good for health and taste so I think, they are not popular in Japan and also in other countries due to small business resources originated from the situation that this village is getting severely depopulated because more and more young people are deserting it for cities.

At present, there is no sales network outside Japan with respect to 'Sumi-no-fushigi'.  If you are interested in the sales and/or advertisement of this good in your country or region, please feel free to contact me by leaving your comments on this article.   I'll transmit your comments to the manufacturer.

There are many events and places of interest in ‘Nanmoku-mura’:
‘Hitobashi’ (fire festival)

It is a fire festival of the greatest class in Gunma Prefecture.  It is said that the victory of the war rebellion against Obata Ryouzoh and helping Takeda troops in the Age of Civil Wars was conveyed in the form of ‘a fire festival’. The rings of a flame floating in the dark heroically color the summer of Nanmoku.

Natural park:

It is a park literally surrounded by great nature which is entirely located in ‘Miyogi Arahune Saku’ Hights Semi-national Park.  Visitors can fully enjoy the seasonal changes in nature, especially astronomical observation in summer season.  In the park, there are lodgings with good accommodation and a dome-shaped observatory with an astronomical telescope (Newtonian reflector telescope including a 12 inch (30 cm) diameter) being available for visitors.

 ‘Semi-no-keikoku’ (cicadas gorge):

The mountains of both banks suddenly approaches as it gives the impression that they can be stridden over.  However, the bottom of the rocks is unexpectedly eaten away and the width of the river is spread out.  ‘Semi-no-keikoku’ can be said that it is one of the things that symbolize "water" of the village.  Tradition has it that ‘Matsuo Bashō’, a most celebrated haiku poet in Edo (Tokugawa) period composed his most famous poem inspired by the sound of the cicadas at “Semi-no-keikoku’.

It would be appreciated if this story would excite your interest and give a story to your own web site, twitter, facebook or your local press.  If you have an opportunity to come to Japan in future, I would recommend visiting to this village.  I can make plans for a tour of this village to show you around, if you are keen to do so.  Please do not hesitate to contact me by facebook.

For more information, please contact (Gunma Prefecture official web-site, International Department / English available).

by R. Enomori (descriptions and maps partially cited from 'Nanmoku-mura' and Gunma Prefectuture official web-sites)

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