Takeeda District’s “Building Homes for Living Things”


In Okayama City, the Takebe-cho Takeeda district has the smallest population of all the city’s elementary school districts, with Takeeda Elementary School having just 30 students. At one time, the school was in danger of being consolidated or closed.

The Asahi River, which is inhabited by many living creatures, flows in front of the school. In the past, environmental education was actively carried out there.

Many fireflies also live in the area. At the elementary school, students raised fireflies as one aspect of their environmental education.

However, the riverbed had become overgrown with weeds, such that children couldn’t approach it. Takeeda residents, remembering the fun experiences they had had in the Asahi River long ago, felt that they wanted to help their children also have such opportunities. Therefore, they voluntarily gathered together and established Takeeda wo Omou Kai (‘A Group Thinking of Takeeda’). With this group centrally involved, since 2006, the “Fun School on the Takeeda Riverbank” has been active, and a “survey involving the draining of the water out of the Asahi River” was carried out. A simple question by an elementary school student – “Has the bottom of the river really gotten harder than it was in the past?” – was the impetus for the activities starting. Together with members of community associations, and through the collaboration of the Okayama University of Science, the Okayama Freshwater Fish Research Group, and various other groups, a survey was carried out over a 4-year period. One result of the survey was that they were able to verify that Akaza (Liobagrus reini, a freshwater fish designated as an endangered species), which was viewed as an environmental indicator, were steadily increasing in number.

Points about the partnership

  • By supporting the building of a network of groups collaborating on the survey, staff in the Okayama ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) Promotion Council at the time (2006) facilitated the providing of advice on methods of scientifically surveying the river’s health.
  • Since the survey was concluded in 2009, the relationships with the local area have been maintained, and local residents continue to actively cooperative with students from the Okayama University of Science carrying out field research at the Asahi River.


Project cooperation/project accord


ESD/environmental education


akeeda wo Omou Kai (‘A Group Thinking of Takeeda’), Takeeda Elementary School


Community associations; Okayama University of Science; Okayama Freshwater Fish Research Group; Okayama Wildlife Survey Group; Fisheries Cooperative Association of the South Asahi River; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Okayama Rivers Office; Asahi River Watershed Network; Council for Cooperation on Watersheds; Rice-fish (‘medaka’) School; construction companies in the community; Okayama City Environmental Protection Division; ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) Promotion Council