The Surprising Truth Of Nagoro, Japan, The Town Where Dolls Outnumber Humans

The phenomenon of "ghost towns" is pretty well-known. All over the world, these abandoned cities exist (via Wonderopolis). Evidenced by dilapidated houses and open, vacant gathering spaces like bus stops, school buildings, and city halls, ghost towns are an eerie reality brought to life — or rather, death.

Nagoro, Japan is a village that is dying. According to NPR, this remote mountain town was once home to more than 300 residents. After failing to maintain its population, it is now "on the edge of extinction." With only 30 residents remaining, Nagoro has all the prospects of a ghost town in the making. However, there is just one slight difference.

When 67-year-old Tsukimi Ayano realized what was happening in her hometown, she had a rather unique reaction. She decided to sew a life-sized scarecrow in honor of the long-gone villagers. Then she went ahead and crafted 400 more just like it. Today, Nagoro is known in certain circles as "The Valley of the Dolls" or "Kakashi no Sato" which translates to "Scarecrow Village" (via Penn Live).

In Nagoro, Japan today, dolls outnumber humans by a 10-1 ratio

After finding so much comfort in the first life-sized doll she created, which was incidentally designed to resemble her late father, Tsukimi Ayano went on to painstakingly stitch her dead village back together (via NPR). After creating approximately 400 human-sized scarecrows, she proceeded to place them around town, posing them into various positions mimicking human behavior. These scarecrows vastly outnumber living residents by at least a 10 to one ratio.

Today, if you were to visit this unique mountain village, you might mistake it for the bustling town it once was. Vacant buildings and abandoned homes are now filled with large, meticulously crafted dolls. Many of these dolls are modeled after residents who have moved on — either from the town or from the life of this world (via Penn Live). Arguably, this could make Nagoro more like a ghost town than anyone ever intended. It could also be perceived as one of the most extraordinary historical preservations of a place to be recorded.