First ever Satoyama Life Festival held in Hsinchu

Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) Minister Yiong Con-ziin attended the inaugural Satoyama Life Festival in Hsinchu Countys Hengshan Township (橫山鄉) on March 20, joined by the countys Deputy Magistrate Chen Jian-sian (陳見賢) and Hengshan Township Mayor Chang Chih-hung (張志弘). The concept of satoyama, a Japanese term, promotes the integration of biodiversity and sustainability in rural areas.

Taking place at Hexing Station (合興車站), an abandoned train station that has been turned into a well-known tourist attraction, the event aims to present the fruitful results achieved by members of the communities, local youths, and farmers who participated in the community revitalization program.

Noting that there are a lot of romantic elements in the Hakka regions on Provincial Highway 3 of northern Taiwan, Minister Yiong said HAC has partnered with local government agencies to establish youth workshops aimed at attracting young people to return to their hometown to rediscover the beauty of the villages and perpetuate their culture in collaboration with local senior citizens.

The Minister cited as an example the repairing of ancient trails in the Hakka regions, saying that, through participating in the restoration process, people are able to re-construct the historical scene and experience the life of Hakka ancestors.

The first ever Satoyama Life Festival in Hengshan highlights the theme of “The Breath of the Forest,” aiming to enable the public to immerse themselves in the ecological environment and experience the Hakka satoyama culture during the time when the COVID-19 pandemic has been slowing down.

A total of 13 local teams were on hand to promote local commodities and culture by holding hands-on activities for visitors to experience traditional handicrafts, including making the bamboo broom and tea tree oil lotion.

During the event, members of these teams also shared their stories about restoring a historical trail with the assistance of Taiwan Thousand Miles Trail Association (千里步道協會), learning how to make Hakka preserved foods from their mothers, and starting a business to sell traditional Hakka cuisine.