Nagoro – Valley of Scarecrows in Japan

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If you are having a trip through Iya Valley on the island of Shikoku Japan, don’t get scared if suddenly many people show up next to the streets in an area that is usually kinda deserted. Probably, these people might seem a little creepy. But there is a reason behind it…

Those people are not human! Well, obviously there are no zombies walking around in Nagoro, Japan. Those are simply dolls. Scarecrows to be exact.

The History of Nagoro, the scarecrow village

Nagoro Bus station Japan

Nagoro used to be a village full of people. But after the dam of Nagoro, which offered many jobs to the locals, was completed, many inhabitants left Nagoro and moved to the cities around looking for work. Those dolls were made by one of the remaining inhabitants of this little village, Tsukimi Ayano. to remember the old times, in which Nagora was still full of life.

Nagoro Japan scarecrows

The first doll she made was actually meant as an actual scarecrow and was looking like her father. Little by little she started filling the village with dolls for everyone that left and even adding some new characters. After the small school in town was closed she also filled this one with “new students”.

Unfortunately, you can only visit the inside of the school on weekends. But you can have a glance through the windows to get an idea of what is going to be waiting for you inside. Anyway, on the other side of the street, you find a room that looks similar to a classroom which you can visit anytime. 

Nagoro school
Which ones are real?

The Dolls of Nagoro

The scarecrows really brought new life to the almost abandoned village. Especially because they attract tourists to visit this little place in the middle of the Iya Valley.

You will find them everywhere around the village of Nagoro. Some of the dolls are just randomly sitting around, others seem to follow different kinds of activities, such as fishing, reading newspapers, or being in school.

How to get to Nagoro

The only drawback is that the village can be kind of hard to reach without your own car. Public transport just gets here once a week. That’s why you will mostly find local tourists here. As for foreigners, it can be really difficult to rent a car in Japan.

We made it there by hitchhiking with a super sweet Japanese couple.

hitchhiking in Iya Valley

Are the Japanese Scarecrows of the Nagoro Village creepy?

Another reason why this place is not crowded with tourists yet is that actually many people are scared of these dolls. Our Japanese friend Kana told us that many Japanese people are not really pleased by seeing human-like dolls as they can be quite creepy. Well, to be honest, it indeed was a pretty weird feeling walking around Nagoro. Sometimes it can actually feel like the dolls are watching you…  And when you turn around, most probably there are just one of the about 350 dolls of this village looking at you. So it’s understandable some people may get a little paranoid while walking around Nagoro.

But all in all, we had so much fun with those scarecrows. I mean, you don’t have to go there around nighttime, do you? At least during the daytime, those dolls seem cute and innocent. Thus, a visit is highly recommended by us.

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About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

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18 thoughts on Nagoro – Valley of Scarecrows in Japan

  1. Wow. I had no idea this place even existed. So glad this woman is making her own company, even though the dolls kind of creep me out. Also so glad you could hitchhike because its crazy that public transportation only goes there once a week

  2. Hi Vicki, I’ve been to Japan so many times and have never heard of this! I admit the dolls creep me out, but when you look closer they’re actually kind of cute! I love the detail and all the effort that goes into the dolls… I mean, those facial expressions! So cute!

  3. Oh I saw a documentary on this place before! It’s a pretty sad story about urbanisation, but… what can you do? It’s the way of the world. I’m glad that at least it’s attracting tourists. They should really make it more accessible! I think I’d get a little freaked out at night too, haha.

  4. Honestly I would be completely creeped out ha! It’s great that she’s making a business of it but I would never sleep again if I visited!

  5. Very strange, very interesting, and a little bit sad to think of the lady creating her companions as they left. Thankfully, they all look pretty happy.


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