Located on the northern edge of Okayama Prefecture, Nagi Town is a small town just to the east of the larger city of Tsuyama. Although not well known, Nagi is a tidy little town that is also home to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Nihonbara training base. The base is not usually not open to the public for sightseeing for security reasons, but the base holds an annual “Appreciation Day” on which visitors can enter the base, watch special training operations, and enjoy food, drinks, and special events.
The most popular sightseeing location is the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), where visitors can not only view but also experience exciting installation pieces of contemporary art. The museum features several permanent installations as well as galleries in which visiting artists are featured.
For a more traditional art form, Yokosen Kabuki is an unusual type of traditional theater in which children also perform. Yokosen Kabuki dates from the Edo Period (1603-1868) when the northern lands of the prefecture belonged to the local shogun. Efforts are being made to preserve this art by the Yokosen Kabuki Preservation Society; performances are held only twice per year in spring and fall.
The symbol of Nagi Town is, of course, Mt. Nagi. At 1255 feet above sea level, the mountain provides a majestic backdrop to the town, but actually the slopes are gentle enough for the whole family to enjoy a hike to the summit, which only takes a few hours. A popular event is a trekking day which is held annually in November.
Nagi Town is surrounded by stunning natural sights, including a giant ‘ginko tree at Bodaiji Temple, which is located on the mountainside. The tree is over 900 years old and is truly beautiful in late autumn when its leaves turn a bright golden color. The town is also home to forests and several small waterfalls in the surrounding mountains.
Visitors travelling with children will enjoy a visit to the Nagi Vicarya Museum. The museum features displays on fossils found locally, geographical history of the area, and an outdoor area that offers hands-on fossil digging; the staff allows children to keep the best examples of their finds.
The gourmet item that Nagi is best known for is Nagi beef; additionally Taro potatoes, Japanese ‘miso’, and a variety of fresh vegetables can be had seasonally. All of these products and more can be found at the Harebare Green Resort “Yama-no-eki” mountainside market, which also offers the best lunch deals in town. Rental cottages are also available for guests who want to spend the night in a natural setting.
Come visit Nagi for a relaxing day filled with fresh air, beautiful scenery, and traditional Japanese country life.