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Soji-ji Temple and Depopulation in Noto April 2023

After staying at Wakura Onsen(hotspring) with my family, I went to Soji-ji Temple. Soji-ji Temple was relocated to its current location in Tsurumi Ward, Yokohama City in the wake of the Great Fire of 1893, and the former Soji-ji Temple is now called the Sojiji Soin(original) Temple. Even though there was a big fire, it was rebuilt and moved to Yokohama, so you can still feel the grandeur and dignity of the head temple. If you are a fan of Soto Zen Buddhism, why not consider walking along the Hokuriku Route with Eihei-ji as a package.

Nevertheless, Noto has become a symbol of severe depopulation in rural Japan. According to Heibonsha's Atlas of Japan by Old Country Names, which I refer to from time to time, the population of Noto was just under 200,000 at the end of the Edo period (Tenpo 5), and currently it is said to be 170,000, so it is already below that number. By the way, if we consider that Kaga had a population of 230,000 at the same time and now has a population of 940,000, it can be seen that the population has become extremely biased towards Kaga (or rather, Kanazawa).

If you consider that the total population of Japan during the Edo period was 30 million people, the overall ratio of Kaga has been decreasing as a result of population migration to large cities and the Pacific coast, and this has led to problems with the declining birthrate. It is easy to see that the challenges of smoothing out overconcentration and unipolar concentration are both becoming more serious.

Japan's population is said to have been between 6 and 8 million during the Nara-Heian to Kamakura periods, increased to around 15 million during the Muromachi period, and remained at around 30 million since the mid-Edo period. The effects of population decline are diverse, but as I look at Japan's wonderful ancient and medieval cultural assets and ruins, I feel that things like the level of people and dignity of a society have little to do with the size of the population.

I have been working in the energy industry for a long time, and it can be said that this is a typical import business dependent on foreign countries. The problem is that even if we become a carbon-free society in the future, we will still have to rely heavily on imports, but while it may seem like good news that energy consumption and CO2 emissions will decrease due to population decline, it will also lead to a shrinking market and loss of bargaining power. In order to secure a stable supply of competitive energy overseas, it is necessary to make investments that can achieve economies of scale out of Japan, but Japan's energy industry is comprised of many companies that coexist and are dispersed, and No body can compete with the huge energy industries overseas. It would be nice if we could restructure our energy industry while the market still has a certain size.

This is off-topic, but if you value the precepts and training, I think Eihei-ji Temple and Oku-Noto in the mountains are the best locations, but the reason for moving to Yokohama in the middle of the Meiji era was to gain new believers. It was probably a marketing strategy.

In the past 20 years, the old Monzen-town became part of Wajima City due to the Heisei merger, and the railroad that extended to Wajima and Suzu was abolished, but on the other hand, Noto-Satoyama Airport opened on the same timing. There are two flights to and from Haneda. I think we are at a critical moment in how to link transportation infrastructure to access to tourism resources.

In the past, the area from Fukui Prefecture to Niigata Prefecture was the country of Koshi. In order of proximity to Kyoto, it was divided into Echizen, Etchu, and Echigo, and at the beginning of the Nara period, Kaga and Noto still belonged to Echizen. When Yakamochi Otomo was appointed as Etchu Province's governor, Noto belonged to Etchu Province (Kaga was separated from Echizen in the early Heian period), and Yakamochi traveled around his province, including Noto, composing poems.

"If you cross directly from Shioji, you will see the sea of Hakui, where the morning calm is calm, and the boats are mogamo"

(If you go straight over the highway from Shio, you will reach the sea of Hakui. Looking at the calm sea in the morning, you want a boat and an oar.)

- Yakamochi Otomo



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