Many of Japan’s artistic and cultural forms—tea ceremony (sado), flower arrangement (kado), martial arts (judo), and so on—include the word “way” (do) in their names. Here in the ancient city of Kyoto, devotees of archery (kyudo) have passed down artisanal traditions since the 14th century. What binds them together is their passionate pursuit of the “way.”
Tea ceremony (sado), flower arrangement (kado), calligraphy (shodo), judo, kendo…and archery (kyudo). The Japanese words for all these arts include the word “way” (do). As implied by this word, the emphasis is not on mere mastery or competition, but on the art itself as a spiritual practice, on developing a heart filled with respect and gratitude for others.
This video explores the concept of the “way” via kyudo, the Way of Archery. The setting is the ancient city of Kyoto, where a traditional bow-making technique has been passed down for over 500 years. The video highlights the interplay of archer and bow-maker. While presenting typical Kyoto scenes such as morning Zen meditation, kado lessons, and sado preparations, it alternates footage of the bow-making process and shots from the archery ground.
The Kyoto bow is graced with an exceedingly beautiful form, yet is eminently practical and holds great power. It is an indispensable companion for those who would pursue the “way.” Perhaps this is the deeper purpose of the quintessentially Japanese tool—to make a way, or to make it possible to find the way. This single idea of the “way” has profoundly shaped Japan’s unique culture. It is a way no one can travel without courtesy, humility, and gratitude. It might not normally be visible, but the way can be cherished in the heart. All these things are encapsulated in a single finely crafted bow.
The town of Yuasa is said to be the birthplace of Japanese soy sauce. Invented about 800 years ago, it wasn’t long before people all over Japan were enjoying soy sauce from Yuasa. The adults here teach the children diligently about the heritage of their town. It’s that sense of mission, that passion, which make this town shine.
In Wakayama Prefecture, there is a town called Yuasa said to be the birthplace of Japanese soy sauce. More than 800 years ago, a monk returned from Song Dynasty China, bringing with him the recipe for “Kinzanji miso.” Legend has it that the secret of soy sauce was discovered while making this miso.
Located halfway along the Kumano Kodo Road, Yuasa prospered over the centuries as travelers stopped for the night. Its position on the water route between Osaka and the capital of Edo (modern-day Tokyo) also helped it become a thriving commercial center. Soy sauce soon made its way to Edo, and before long the whole country was enjoying it.
On Kitamachi Street, you’ll find an old soy sauce maker called Kadacho, established in 1841. Uninterrupted traditional culture takes on new meaning here. The masters at Kadacho have been using the same living yeast culture for 170 years.
This video features local school children visiting to see soy sauce made the traditional way. At the museum next door, they watch with wide-eyed wonder as the master brewer shows them a model of the sailing ship that once transported the soy sauce to Edo and beyond. As he speaks of the unbroken lineage of the place, history leaps to life in their imaginations.
The adults here in Yuasa teach the children diligently about the heritage of their town, the things that make it special. It’s that sense of mission, that passion, which make this town shine.
In the mid-1800s, this castle town in the Choshu realm became a driving force in the Meiji Restoration, which set Japan on the path to modernization. The pride in local heritage, the joy of living in community — we have much to learn from the people of Hagi.
Welcome to Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. In the mid-1800s, this castle town became a driving force in the Meiji Restoration, which set Japan on the path to modernization. Hagi was home to Shoin Yoshida and many other revered patriots. The streets are lined with old samurai residences, with their impressive gates and mud walls. The spirit of bygone days is alive and well; you can find your way around just fine with a 250-year-old map. The pride in local heritage, the joy of living in community — we have much to learn from the people of Hagi.
In this video, you’ll see the value of handing down wisdom from generation to generation. Visit the historic Meirin Elementary School, where students proudly recite the sayings of Shoin Yoshida every morning. The teachers are passionate about passing down the wisdom the children will need in their lives. Then, visit a kiln with more than 400 years of tradition; Hagi ceramics are famous for a reason. The skilled artisans teach their apprentices secret techniques, stored nowhere but in the living memory of their hands. Next find the traditional sweet shop and try a delicious treat with the citrus flavor of summer mikan, a locally-grown specialty. You can feel the overflowing gratitude the people here have for the blessings of their land.
In Hagi, everyday life is all about handing down the treasures of the past. Here again, we’ve met a way of life worth learning from.
Once a castle town of the powerful Kaga realm, this city has long prospered as a regional center for culture, industry, and tourism. This video takes an intimate look at the modest gestures, quiet customs, and unpretentious manner of the people of Kanazawa. Each and every interaction is heartfelt; you can sense the caring, the consideration, the kindness.
The scene is Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture. Once a castle town of the powerful Kaga realm, this city has long prospered as a regional center for culture, industry, and tourism. More than 400 years ago, the city’s founder, Toshiie Maeda, set it on this path by studying the tea ceremony with the original masters Sen no Rikyu and Uraku Oda. Ever since, the “way of tea” has been taught and practiced here, becoming the foundation for the culture of courtesy that animates the city.
This video takes an intimate look at the modest gestures, quiet customs, and unpretentious manner of the people of Kanazawa. Each and every interaction is heartfelt; you can sense the caring, the consideration, the kindness.
A mother and daughter put on formal kimono to pay a courtesy visit to the home of their tea ceremony teacher. Cut to the teacher meticulously preparing for their visit, early in the morning. At that very moment, the mother hand-wraps the gift in a traditional furoshiki cloth. The two arrive, greeted as honored guests. The teacher whisks the tea with astonishing dexterity, as just outside, the townspeople bow to one another with subtle grace and poise.
Frame by frame, what makes this scene so beautiful? Is it the love that the people have for their city? The beauty that shines in the goodness of their hearts? That’s the kind of beauty that inspires us as we practice “Creating Dreams, Building Hearts.”
This town of freshwater streams has been flowing with natural wisdom for centuries. For more than 400 years, the people of this community have been building a way of life that makes the most of their never-ending supply of fresh water. The history of Gujo Hachiman is the history of its water — it meets every need and brings people together as one.
Join us in Gujo Hachiman, Gifu Prefecture, a town where living wisdom has been passed down for centuries. Surrounded by mountains with plentiful natural springs, the town is blessed with two crystal-clear streams flowing right through it. For more than 400 years, the people of this community have been building a way of life that makes the most of this never-ending supply of fresh water.
Cool water flows gently through the center of town in a carefully crafted aqueduct. Water shows its friendly face everywhere: kids play in a water park, townsfolk do laundry together in the running water. And of course, there’s the mizubune — an ingenious system of compartments invented long ago to separate the flow of fresh water for different purposes. Still in use today, the mizubune show how the town’s ancestors felt about nature’s blessings; they didn’t want to waste a single drop. The history of Gujo Hachiman is the history of its water — a sacred blessing that meets every need and brings people together as one.
A society where people live from the heart, connected with each other. A way of life that harmonizes with nature’s melody. A community that creates dreams. These are the wellsprings of ancient human wisdom, the fountains of civilization. Since time immemorial, people have always put their whole hearts into the homes and towns that they build. Another unforgettable lesson about “Creating Dreams, Building Hearts.”
Chinkabashi Bridge stands between a sometimes dangerous river and the people who live downstream. Of course, the bridge’s primary role is to get people across the river. But when the waters run high, it also serves to allay the threat of untamed nature — not by stubbornly resisting, but with skillful compromise. In this bridge, we see the wisdom of the people who live along the Shimantogawa River.
From the border of Ehime and Kochi prefectures, the Shimantogawa River meanders peacefully into Tosa Bay. It brings many blessings to the valley, but in typhoon season its waters can swell to flood proportions, transforming it into a terrifying threat. Thank goodness for Chinkabashi Bridge, which stands between the raging river and the people who live downstream, slowing the water to a less dangerous flow.
This bridge is actually designed to be submerged when the water runs high. That way, it catches the mud, sand, and driftwood that come racing down the river. The debris piles up and slows the raging flow, staving off disaster. The bridge is even made without side rails, so that the remaining water slips over it as smoothly as possible.
Of course, the bridge’s primary role is to get people across the river; it’s just part of a community road. But in times of trouble, it also serves to allay the threat of untamed nature — not by stubbornly resisting, but with skillful compromise. Designed for nature, this bridge teaches us the wisdom of the people who live along the Shimantogawa River.
Picture yourself in the town of Imai in Kashihara City, a commercial district with a thousand-year history. Or perhaps you’re on Shinmachi-dori Street in Gojo, a town that grew prosperous in historical times as travelers stopped for the night. The homes in these towns make it easy for people to connect, to build community, and they invite nature in, too.
Picture yourself in the town of Imai in Kashihara City, a commercial district with a thousand-year history in the center of modern-day Nara Prefecture. Or perhaps you’re on Shinmachi-dori Street in nearby Gojo, a town that grew prosperous in historical times as travelers stopped for the night where the old Ise Kaido and Kishu Kaido roads crossed.
Join us as we learn from the people here. Stroll through three different traditional homes, each built about 300 years ago, and experience the wisdom of a living space tailored perfectly to the local climate and way of life.
The unique centerpiece of these homes is the toriniwa, a long, earthen-floored passageway that runs all the way through the house, connecting the entryway, the kitchen, and the back yard. This inviting space makes it easier for people to come and go, without having to remove their shoes, as is customary in Japan when entering a home. Watch as visitors arrive, and the soy sauce deliveryman brings a cask of soy sauce to the kitchen. People passing by stop in just to say hello. Open the sliding door, and the light streams in. The breeze passes through, too, a perfect remedy for the humid Japanese climate.
Making it easier for people to connect, to build community. Letting nature play its part. At the Daiwa House Group, we aspire to support the kind of open lifestyle exemplified by the toriniwa.
In the town of Karumai-machi, many of the homes have traditional thatched roofs. Grass grows on top, adding natural insulation to make the indoor living space comfortable year round. In the old days, the whole village used to get together and help each other replace their roofs. Making the most of nearby natural materials, working together to create something useful — there’s a lot of wisdom in these thatched roof houses.
In the town of Karumai-machi, Iwate Prefecture, many of the homes have traditional thatched roofs. Grass is allowed to grow into the roof, stabilizing the thatching. This special technique invites nature’s cooperation to make the roofs last as long as possible.
Made with 100% natural materials and not a single nail, you can still see many of these roofs in the northern Tohoku region. The grass also adds natural insulation, making the indoor living space comfortable in every season. Introducing the original “rooftop greening,” an eco-concept that, it turns out, isn’t as new as it sounds.
In the old days, the people had a custom called “Yui”: the whole village gathered thatch and brought it all together, helping each other to replace their roofs.
Making the most of nearby natural materials, working together to create something useful — a lot of wisdom lives on in these thatched roof houses.
Our creative concept for the project was “We Build Hearts.”
Just like the “Endless Heart” Group symbol, the music in the videos was crafted to express
our unending bond with customers as well as the Daiwa House Group’s sense of unity.
We wanted the music to be evocative and emotional, because what we do at the Daiwa House Group
really is a matter of the heart. We aspire to provide much more than products and services;
we want to deliver the joy of daily life, a deep sense of satisfaction, and real well-being to our customers.
We varied the instruments and used different rhythms and themes through the series of videos,
but we stayed true to a single soaring melody line, expressing our unchanging commitment to
“Creating Dreams, Building Hearts.”