Harie is a wonderful district for its unique lifestyle using tremendous clean spring water. Almost all the springs are located in compound of private houses. These watering places are called “kabata”. In Harie area, there are about 110 home fountains, like photo above.
The kabata system is not only spring water, but also refers to a circulation of all life, including people who live there. In this district, there are many iron pipes sticking vertically into the ground to draw up the water from underground vein of about 20m of depth. Each house has a water place, which generally has two small sluice gates for intake and outtake.
The spring groundwater is called “shozu”, literally “living water”. The water flows into the first pool (tsuboike). Next, the overflowed water falls down to the second pool (hataike) where some carps are swimming. They clean water by eating impurities and pushing out deposited sediments. Every individual home pool is linked to those of other families by waterways which runs through in the district.
People drink the spring water and wash vegetables in the first pool. Carps and trout eat scraps. In order to keep the water clean, they don’t wash oil stain dishes nor throw away domestic wastewater into the watercourse.
In order to coexist with this water cycle and keep it clean, people trust other residents living upstream and have to be considerate of those living downstream. This is truly remarkable, because although spring water exists all over Japan, residents of Harie district have this water cycle in each of their houses and share this lifestyle. You can’t see such a wonderful place somewhere else. All people are so eco-conscious to preserve this water circle.
Harie became famous by the 2004 TV documentary that was broadcast overseas. Since then, local residents have formed a volunteer guide group to prevent the influx of tourists in order to protect this environment.
This Harie district is a residential area, and is not tourist attraction. There are inhabitants who are living in their home. So please refrain from going there and taking pictures of houses without any guides. Thank you for your kind cooperation.
Therefore, if you want to see Harie, please contact us.