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Alps Shionomichi Kouryuu Kaigi
Head Office: Niigata-ken, Itoigawa-shi, Yokomachi 1-1-1
TEL: 025-521-2627
FAX: 025-520-4151
1 "Shionomichi" ?Ethe Road of Lifelong Learning
2 Declaration to make the North-South "Shionomichi" a "Road of Lifelong Learning"
3 Regional Resources of "Shionomichi" ?Ethe Road of Lifelong Learning
4 An Overview of the Sengoku Kaidou ("Expressway")
5 Active Endeavors to Restore the Old Road
6 The Echigo and Itoigawa Shionomichi Walking Trip
7 The "Shionomichi Matsuri" Festival ?E27 years of proud history

"Shionomichi" ?Ethe Road of Lifelong Learning
"Shionomichi," Japan's longest and oldest route, is located right in the centre of the Japanese archipelago at east longitude 1380. The Northern "Shionomichi" extends southward from Itoigawa to Shiojiri and the Southern Shionomichi extends northward from Omaezaki and Sagara to Shiojiri. The route lies along the Fossa Magna and Median Tectonic Line that pass between the Northern, Central and Southern Alps and it is a treasure trove of natural geography, historical sites, folklore and traditional culture. We aim to develop collaboration between groups from regions that extend from Northern to Southern Japan and to restore and appreciate this route, so that it might become a "Road of Lifelong Learning" where people can gain knowledge about the Japanese peninsula.
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Declaration to make the North-South "Shionomichi" a "Road of Lifelong Learning"
The first Shionomichi Conference was held over two days from October 21-21, 1995 in Kakegawa and it was attended by representatives of 12 cities and 34 towns and villages from 8 broad zones across 3 prefectures. This kicked off the Sea of Japan-Pacific Ocean 350 km Shionomichi Conference. There was an appeal to sublimate the Shionomichi into the "Japanese Road of Lifelong Learning", which is summarized below.
The Shionomichi Kaigi Declaration
October 20, 1995
Place: Shizuoka Prefecture, Kakegawa City
350km "Nihonkai to Taiheiyou wo musubu tate no Renkei Jiku"

Salt is necessary for life.
The word "salaryman" is derived from the word, "salt."
In the past, there were a large number of "shionomichi" in regions all over Japan.
"Shionomichi" is the longest and oldest of these routes that passes through the middle of the Japanese archipelago and traverses the Fossa Magna that divides the North-Eastern side from the South-Western side of the Japanese archipelago.

Since ancient times, this enormous upstream region, which was formed naturally by the Northern, Central and Southern Alps, produced a number of roads such as the Kokuyou-seki (obsidian) and Hisui (jade) roads, roads for exchanging marine and mountain produce (in medieval and in modern times), roads where the Sengoku warlords rose and fell, pilgrim roads and roads of folk performance arts.
Also known as the Sengoku-Matsumoto and Akiba City Akiba-Shinshu Expressways, these roads were key routes that were used for daily life and socializing until the development of ship transportation and railways.

Representatives from 12 cities and 34 towns that are located in the 8 zones along this road gathered together and submitted a proposal to share the fine web of culture and various revitalization resources that lie along the "Shionomichi" so as to make this route a "Road of Lifelong Learning" for observing the Japanese archipelago.
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Regional Resources of "Shionomichi" ?Ethe Road of Lifelong Learning
138The Itoigawa/Shizuoka Tectonic Line Fossa Magna: East longitude: 138°
  - The longitudinal axis that lies between the "Shionomichi" Western border and the Median Tectonic Line -
The ancient route of traffic, distribution and archaeological sites
  - The Hisui ("jade") Road (jade was produced in Itoigawa) and Kokuyouseki ("obsidian") (star droppings) Road -
Pilgrim roads, ancient mythological roads, the route for folk art performances & festivals
  - The Suwa faith (Water) and Akiba faith (God of Fire)/ Doozojin Signpost Culture -
The road where the Sengoku warlords rose and fell and the route to their castles
The route of daily life and folklore
The route of the arts and sciences
The sports route
The route of dietary culture & country resorts
Japan Rail (JR) rail system, expressways and roadside stations
10 East meets West: regions where different cultures merge and cultural exchange occurs
  - The massive core of collaboration between North-Eastern and South-Western Japan -

>>The Regional Resources of "Shionomichi"
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An Overview of the Sengoku Kaidou ("Expressway")
This 120km highway, which links Itoigawa to Matsumoto Joka, is known as the Sengoku Kaidou ("Expressway"). The Sengoku Kaido is a typical highway that connects the inland regions with those on the coast. It was also the setting for the legendary story of the Battle of Kawanaka Island, where Kenshin Uesugi sent salt to his enemy Shingen Takeda, the leader of the Kai.
Maeyama Hyakutai Kannon (Shinnohara, Otari Village) Ushikata-shuku (Kutsukake, Otari Village)
The forest highway (Ochikura, Hakuba Village) Oyazaka (Kutsukake-Senda, Otari Village)
The highway and "kayabumi" thatched-roof houses (Iida, Hakuba Village) Alps from the highway (Hakuba Town, Hakuba Village)
Matsumoto-jo from the Aoki lakeside to the Sanozaka Hill Pass (Omachi)
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Active Endeavors to Restore the Old Road
In March 2002, the 1.4 km Nakayama Old Road in the Omachi area and the 3.3 km Yamaguchi Old Road of the Nechi area of the Sengoku Byways were designated as national historical sites. This was a result of a large number of citizens and the government coming together to restore, preserve and maintain, exploit and foster the "Shionomichi," and make citizens familiar with and therefore proud of the route, which thus became widely known.
These activities to preserve "Shionomichi" started in May, 1974 when city youth groups began to study "Shionomichi" in order to locate where it was in their own hometowns. In an article that was dated June 30, 1974, the Niigata Nippo reported as follows. "While the local youth volunteers continue their activities to maintain the road and turn it into a nature walking trail, they are digging up tools that were used in daily life and festivals and compiling a book on their findings. Furthermore, in the Fall, they are planning to call on citizens to walk on the road."
In 1974, local youth volunteers planned the first "Shionomichi" hike. Today, 30 years later, that activity is continuing.
Due to the continuation of "Old Road Revival" activities, 3.3 km of "Shionomichi" was designated as a historical site.
Designation as an important tangible asset of folk culture of Japan
  2004 "Collection of Echigo Himekawa Valley "Bokka" Hauling Implements"
  2006 "Collection of Itoigawa Kichiya Manufacturing Tools and Products"

"Shionomichi" Shiryoukan

Kichiya Village
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The Echigo and Itoigawa Shionomichi Walking Trip
In 1985, the first "Echigo and Itoigawa Shionomichi Walking Trip" was held in order to emphasize the necessity of using and preserving this route, while exploiting it as a historical site. Over 300 people from regions all over Japan participated in the walk. Since then, this event has been held 21 consecutive years, without a break. With "Yomigaere Ningen" as its slogan, this walk has become widely known as an event that values people meeting and talking to one another while they walk the historical trail.
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The "Shionomichi Matsuri" Festival ?E27 years of proud history
The "Shionomichi Matsuri" is jointly held each year by Municipalities and the Villages of Hakuba and Otari during the 3 days of Golden Week. A huge event in the area, this festival has become firmly entrenched as a seasonal springtime tradition that entails walking the historical road and the foot of the Northern Alps to see the sakura blooming and observe the arrival of the spring season.
Trends: "Shionomichi" Matsuri Participant Numbers
The "Shionomichi" Matsuri  
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2007 shionomichi.jp  Alps Shionomichi Kouryuu Kaigi