Japan’s Creepy Rural Town Where Scarecrows Outnumber Humans

For those like myself, who’ve consumed far too many horror movies, the obvious explanation for this rural Japanese bus stop inhabited by life size dolls is clearly a race of killer scarecrow-people. While I’m not quite ready to toss that theory, the Associated Press has a different story. They claim that 65 year old Tsukimi Ayano moved back to the tiny village of Nagoro to care for her aging father, and started making the dolls to replace the many residents who’ve died or moved away (but you’ll note that the AP don’t explicitly guarantee that the dolls do not come to life and murder remaining residents at night).
abandoned japanese elementary school with quirky scarecrows in place of students
more creepy scarecrow students in abandoned japanese elementary school
Nagoro is nestled in the mountains of Southern Japan, Nagoro, one of many rural villages de-populated due to Japan’s falling birthrate. So much so that the elementary school is shuttered, inhabited only by Ayano’s dolls.
scarecrow bicyclist stopped alongside a rural japanese road in the mountains
weird scarecrow doll dressed like a teenager sitting on a woodpile
tsukimi ayano showing off her handmade scarecrows in the village of Nagoro Japan
Over the course of 13 years in the village, Ayano has crafted over 350 life size dolls, vastly outnumbering (the surely freaked out) remaining 30-some residents.
tsukimi ayano sewing a scarecrow head
old woman scarecrow doll sitting in a garden in Nagoro Japan
Her scarecrow village now attracts its share of tourists and gawkers, though I imagine most wisely clear out before nightfall…
scary scarecrow peeking out from a haystack in rural japanese town
(images via AP and Moments)
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  1. Omg that is really creepy indeed! I wouldn’t want to go and visit this place and of course I wouldn’t want to live there! I’ve seen too many horror movies to stay calm about so many scarecrows!

    • Haha, I’m with you! It’s way too easy to imagine the horror movie in which a travel blogger goes to photograph a weird little Japanese doll village, has car trouble, and ends up running from murderous scarecrows in the forest.

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