A spirit of fully appreciating nature's bounty.
Yame City in Fukuoka Prefecture is a major producer of cedar, surrounded by the clear waters of the Yabe River and majestic mountains.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), the Kurume and Yanagawa clans set up a "mountain magistrate" in Yame to encourage the planting of pine and cedar trees.
The cedar of Yame became popular because of its straight grain and robustness.
At the same time, many cedar leaves were being discarded unnecessary as building materials.
In order to make full use of them, they decided to make incense by crushing the cedar leaves with the power of a water mill.
From the 1910s to around 1975, incense production was at its peak, with more than 40 watermills in operation.
Since then, however, traditional incense making using water wheels has become less common due to the rise of cheap imports, energy conversion, lack of successors, and difficulty in maintenance.
21 volunteers invested in each other in 1918 to establish well weirs, waterways, and a water mill.
In 1961, Tsuguo Baba bought the entire site and renamed it“Baba Water Mill”.
Today, I am the second generation to take over the water mill, and we continue to make incense sticks together as a couple.