Previous: Sustainability

Revitalizing local communities

In the course of our work, we met several remarkable individuals we are now proud to call friends of Travel Curators.


Not many people can make Noh look profound and enticing at the same time, but with just a few meticulously placed steps and slowly expanding gestures with a humble fan, Michishige Udaka manages to do that and more. Michishige was designated a “National Intangible Cultural Asset” in recognition of his accomplishments as a professional Noh actor and Noh mask carver but it is his dedication to preserving this ancient theatrical form for future generations that we admire most.


To Kitamura, crafting incense is like conducting an orchestra – the goal is to blend various distinct elements (in his case, different fragrances) into a perfect harmony that nourishes the mind and soul. With a title such as “Living National Treasure”, Kinzaburo’s fame precedes him, but it is his ability to convey the deeper meaning of this dying art that makes him truly one of a kind.


A highly regarded master craftsman who is equally adept at making knifes and shears, Hirakawa is the 5th generation master of Sasuke Blacksmith, a traditional forge with roots tracing back to the 16th century when Hirakawa’s ancestors were forging matchlock arquebuses for samurais during the Age of Warring States. Watching Hirakawa at work was an eye-opening and inspirational experience for us. We think you will agree.


Granted, it’s not often you spend a few hundred dollars on a melon, but if you ever had to do so, there is a good chance that your flawlessly spherical and evenly webbed fruit is cultivated in one of Yamashita’s greenhouses. In his quest to produce the perfect musk melon, Yamashita has been experimenting with different cultivation techniques since the age of 20. His dedication humbles us, and we are certainly not the only ones.