Conserve a Water Source by the Power of Urban Cities and the Power of Mountains ~ Yamanashi Water Source Brand Promotion Council ~


In May 2012, a town and two villages in Yamanashi Prefecture (Hayakawa Town, Tabayama Village and Doshi Village) which have forests as a water source for large cities (Tokyo, Kanagawa and Shizuoka Prefectures) established ‘Yamanashi Suigenchi Brand Suishin Kyougikai’ (literally, Yamanashi Water Source Brand Promotion Council) in collaboration with local companies, a major furniture manufacturer and intermediate support organizations. Its effort is to solve issues and link the solutions to regional revitalization by matching issues of a water source with deserted forests ‘Yama’ (mountains) and resources of the Tokyo metropolitan area ‘Machi’ (urban cities).


Currently, a lot of forests in Japan, especially artificial forests, are facing big issues.

Forests cover about two-thirds of Japan's total area (about 25 million hectares). And about 40 % of the forests (about 10 million hectares) are artificial forests consisting of trees such as Japanese cedar and Japanese cypress. These artificial forests need appropriate management by human, however, forestry is declining and forests are devastating. It is due to the small demand for domestic wood under the pressure of imported wood. And it is also due to the shortage of hands by depopulation and graying of hilly and mountainous areas.

Refer to: Forestry Agency: The current situation and issues of forests, forestry and wood industry

The devastation of forests itself is an issue, in addition, what could not be ignored because of the influence are the functions of forests as water sources. The devastation of forests becomes the problems of water.

Yamanashi Water Source Brand Promotion Council was established for the aim of solving these issues forests are facing by the collaboration of industry, government, private and academia, then linking the solutions to regional revitalization.

The council implements the following five efforts;
1)Promote maintenance of devastated artificial forests.
2)Establish methods to make use of forest thinnings.
3)Revitalize forestry including local bearers.
4)Develop and promote multiple industries which make use of forest resources.
5)Transmit information to outside including companies and urban residents.

*quoted from the council’s web site

Implementation Status

As a water source, Hayakawa Town, Tabayama Village and Doshi Village in Yamanashi Prefecture take the lead in connecting ‘Yama’ and ‘Machi’. The town and two villages implement efforts in collaboration with industry, government and private; NPO ‘Ki net Yamanashi’ (Ki: wood), ITOKI CORPORATION, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation OISCA, etc. They develop furniture excellent in design, create places for ‘Yama’ and ‘Machi’ to interact with each other through products, etc.


(1)Forest resources and product development

As mentioned above, ‘Yama’ has low energy by depopulation and graying. ‘Yama’, however, still has rich forest resources. To commercialize the resources as ‘attractive products’ and sell them widely, the first point is to match the forest resources with the resources of ‘Machi’: professionals of design and product development, major companies, etc. The efforts aim to create a virtuous cycle for both companies and mountains. For the collaborative companies, these efforts will give an advertisement for their conservation of the water resource and their own products. For mountains, these efforts are aimed at creating virtuous cycle: produce steady sales of forest thinnings, make them better known and revitalize local communities. And as an intermediate support organization, OISCA coordinates these efforts.

(2)Devices to connect ‘Yama’ and ‘Machi’

The second point is the devices for mutual exchanges. These efforts not only develop products and sell them as an industry but also focus on raising awareness of residents of both ‘Yama’ and ‘Machi’ about water source conservation and forest issues. The council’s symposium is held annually in either Yamanashi Prefecture which is the field or the Tokyo metropolitan area which is the consumption area on a reciprocal basis. The contents of the symposium are altered depending on the site. When it is held in ‘Yama’, contents are chosen to let the local residents to appreciate their own region. When it is held in ‘Machi, contents are chosen to let the urban residents to know about the water source and excellence of forest thinnings.

(3)The stories that products tell

The efforts including these interactions deepen the connection between ‘Yama’ and ‘Machi’. In the symposium held in Tokyo in October 2015, an activity of ‘Hometown Exchange Agreement’ signed between Hayakawa Town and Shinagawa Ward was introduced as an example. In Shinagawa Ward, the shopping streets federation played the main role and in cooperation with Shinagawa Machi Dukuri Keikaku Inc. (Machi Dukuri : community renovation), installed benches using forest thinnings of Hayakawa Town. The benches were designed and processed into products in response to the requests from Shinagawa Ward. At the time of installation, a painting workshop was held. Creating products together with residents makes them become attached to the products. As a result, wood came into use at stores in shopping streets. Issues of ‘Yama’ are also those of ‘Machi’, they are connected with forests and water. The efforts that draw out the appeal of ‘Yama’ by the hands of ‘Machi’, not only conserve water the source but also rack up a lot more will be a reference for other regions who have similar issues.


・Forest preservation

・Social business/CSR


・Executive committee/council

People involved (Actor and Partners)



Synaptech Inc.


Hayakawa Town

Tabayama Village

Yamanashi Prefectural Industrial Technology Center

Yamanashi Prefecture Forestry Promotion Division (Observer)


Public Interest Incorporated Foundation OISCA

Non-profit Organization Ki net Yamanashi

Non-profit Organization Doshi Mori Zukuri Network (Mori Zukuri: creating forests)

Yamanashi Wings Project

Yamanashi Forest Management Offic (Observer)

Reported by Asami Takahashi (KANTO Environmental Partnership Office)
March 2016