Nagoro Scarecrow Village
Photo: Tei/PhotoAC

This town in Japan has more scarecrows than people

You can now tour the eerie Nagoro Scarecrow Village, filled with more than 350 unique scarecrows, using Google Maps

Youka Nagase
Written by
Youka Nagase

We all miss travelling at the moment, but being at home is no reason you can't still see the world. If you've already been to Japan's major cities – virtually or in person – and you're looking for a destination that's a bit further off the beaten path, this unusual village located deep in Tokushima prefecture is worth a visit.

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The Nagoro Scarecrow Village, as its name suggests, is inhabited by more than 350 scarecrows placed in various locations around the village. Meanwhile, less than 30 people actually live in the village, meaning there are about 10 scarecrows for every resident.

Unlike your typical ragged scarecrows dressed in old, worn-out clothes, the ones you'll find here are carefully crafted by resident Ayano Tsukimi. You can see the bizarre scene for yourself by taking a virtual stroll through the rural farming village via Google Maps' 360-degree street view function.

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Each doll has its purpose and is dressed according to its role, so you’ll come across scarecrows of all ages and jobs – some sitting, some standing and even a group of scarecrows competing in their own Olympics. 

German filmmaker Fritz Shumann interviewed Tsukimi about the history and technique behind these scarecrows in a short 2014 documentary on Vimeo called 'Valley of the Dolls'.

Tsukimi says her first scarecrow, made to look like her father, was originally created to fend off the birds that were eating the seeds in her vegetable field. Her neighbours saw how effective the scarecrow was and asked her to make one for them, too. Before she knew it, her creations were filling the small village of Nagoro, drawing the attention of tourists and locals alike.

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