In this village north of Hiroshima, traditional culture is evolving into a modern idyll, as a talented family revives the fortunes of a quiet backwater

One summer’s day 14 years ago, my husband and I and our then two-year-old daughter, Addie, took a fast train, a slow train, a bus and a car to get from Kyoto to a 400-person village called Omori, near the Sea of Japan about 70 miles north of Hiroshima. In a narrow valley amid forested hills, Omori had one main street, few cars and even fewer shops. Most of the people seemed to be around 60 or older and lived in wooden houses, some originally owned by samurai, with tiled roofs and sliding wooden doors.

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