Aiming for collaboration which surpasses political boundaries


The Sayama Hills area, spanning the border between Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture, has a total land area of about 3,500 hectares. Since the surrounding region is flatland, and this area alone comprised of hills, it is sometimes described as “an island of green”. At the center of the Sayama Hills area are three reservoirs (man-made lakes) which also serve as sources of water for Tokyo, and are managed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Waterworks Bureau and others. On the Saitama Prefecture side is a land trust which was the inspiration for the hit animation film “Tonari no Totoro” (My Neighbor Totoro – 1988) by director Hayao Miyazaki, as well as parks and more.

With this Sayama Hill as the stage, in the autumn of 2013, environment conservation groups from the surrounding area and others gathered for “the Sayama Hill Fair”. Besides creating a homepage and public relations magazine for the fair, and arranging the events held by each group, they also set up a location to discuss future visions for Sayama Hills, entitled “Symposium on a “Satoyama” of the Future”. Approximately 200 people participated.

Generally, regardless of whether the governments involved are prefectural-level or local municipalities, when administrative boundaries are straddled, management policies and other differences cause difficulties in conserving an area as a complete whole. However, in this case, the region’s groups worked together, overcoming prefectural and local borders, in an effort to protect the Sayama Hills area as one ‘bio-region’.

Points about the partnership

Because various political jurisdictions are straddled, coordination is difficult. Nevertheless, delineations between administrative districts inherently have no relationship whatsoever to the wild animals freely moving through forests. In order to interact with the natural world more comprehensively, it is necessary for us to transcend such boundaries established for the sake of “human expediency”. In the future, while continuing to involve local governments and others, the partnership is aiming to develop into broad-based management involving more wide-ranging themes. We have high hopes concerning future developments at their projects.


Project cooperation/project accord


Biodiversity/nature conservation, Ecotourism


* The Homeland of Totoro Foundation (a public interest incorporated foundation)
* Sayama Hill Flora & Fauna Interaction Center (Saitama Prefecture)
* Saitama-midorinomori Museum (Saitama Green Forest Museum)
* Waseda University’s Tokorozawa Campus wetland conservation activities
* Seibu-Sayama Hills Partners (head office)