Kirishima: A Town Thriving on Volcanic Mountains *RERUN
Kirishima, a group of 20 mountains in the south of Kyushu. It is a volcanic area that was a central location in Japan's creation myth. Its name, meaning "fog island," refers to the way that the peaks look like an island rising above the clouds. Its high rate of rainfall creates springs and hot springs for the towns around it, and the volcanic ash it releases helps grow sweet potatoes that have fostered a shochu alcohol culture. As they receive the bounty of the mountains, the people there have created their own unique customs, and carved out their own way of living in harmony with an unforgiving environment. An old mountain guide struggles with volcanic ash as he seeks to reopen the area for tourism and mountain climbing. The people here's love for the region has no limits. Even though there are few jobs for the younger generation, they don't want to leave, and even those who do tend to come back. We will show you the strong, dynamic lifestyle of the people who live together with the Kirishima peaks.

Potato Shochu

The shochu made here from sweet potatoes grown from volcanic ash soil goes very well with the local food. The people here have gone through hard times, painful times, and fun times together with this fine alcohol. One young brewer has just started on the long road to seek out new flavors. As he tries to create the finest taste, he works to gather more experience.

Haraigawa Kagura

This is a Shinto dance that is held all night once each December. For the climax of the evening, they perform a sword dance that originated from legends surrounding the blade. Homes in the area also make soba noodles for the people watching the all-night dances. These traditional dances and flavors warmly greet onlookers.

Love for the Region

The local cable TV station works hard, tirelessly covering local residents. From their coverage emerges a picture of the people's love for their area. There, an agriculture high school sends off its final class before it is shut down. Residents say that even if locals leave town, most of them come back.