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Open Japan Disaster Relief Activity report March 2-5

Updated: Mar 13

Disaster relief doesn't assist only local residences.

The torii gate is the symbol of Japan's shintoism. It marks the border between god's and human's terrain. It is the gateway to the sacred ground from the secular world. One project Open Japan team assisted at Noto was to help reset this "broken link".

torii gate, noto earthquake, disaster relief, demolition

Torii, the gateway to the shrine, was removed at Sakadaru Shrine. The structure toppled and shattered down the staircase. Work has to be done to smash the large blocks into smaller pieces and then removed to clear the stairway.

Prayers were offered at Sakadaru Shrine. The priest then purified the area with salt and sake to sever its ties with collapsed torii gate. After the ritual ceremonies, heavy machinery was deployed to remove the fallen torii gate.

Japanese shrine, shinto ritual, torii gate, noto earthquake, disaster relief, demolition, community
torii gate, noto earthquake, disaster relief, demolition, community

Although the torii gate is small in scale, but it was made with granite.

The shrine parishioners and members of Open Japan worked together to carry the rocks off the staircase by hand in relays.

Neighbors gathered around to watch the activity. Everyone had been concerned ever since the quake, and felt a sigh of relief to see the fallen symbol of the community being properly removed and cleaned up.

torii gate, noto earthquake, disaster relief, demolition, community

torii gate, noto earthquake, disaster relief, demolition, community

After 3 days of hard and laborious work, task completed, and everyone gathered to enjoy hot, steamy udon noodles in the rain and snow. The sense of unity and community can be felt.

noto disaster relief, food truck, Japan earthquake disaster relief, japan volunteer
noto disaster relief, food truck, Japan earthquake disaster relief, japan volunteer

Sakadaru Shrine holds a famous festival annually called the 'Abare Festival', which many described it as grand and dynamic. The festival takes place on the first Friday and Saturday of July and is designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Asset by the prefecture.

With the pathway cleared, it gives the community something to look forward to: to rebuild the torii gate, and that their proud heritage festival can be held once again (perhaps this July?), where the mikoshi can be carried through it to parade around town.


If you resonate with our story of resilience from Noto, please pledge your support to Open Japan's disaster relief work.

Visit our Noto Disaster Relief designated page here.

We are also pledging to donate $10 for each order received at  for the months of February, March and April. This is a great opportunity to help rebuilding the earth-quake shattered region while you support our partnering local artisans. Help keep the momentum going!!


Rural Rebuild and Revitalization

We are anticipating a lot of challenge in rebuilding these small towns, while many young people, business owners and craftsmen are already planning to relocate to other cities permanently. This will add to further loss of population and reduction in economic activities in Noto region. There is no quick way to rebuild, and it takes a lot to sustain the effort. So join us, follow this journey of resilient and recovery, even when you don't hear much about the earthquake on the media anymore.

4 ways you can support Noto Earthquake Disaster Relief:

  • (1) Make a donation at our GoFundMe page. $1, $5, $10... any amount will be put to good use.

  • (2) Subscribe our blog, Follow our IG. See your Donation at work.

  • (3) Share with more people.

  • (4) Make any purchase at Goenne Japan. We pledge to donate $10 for each purchase you make during Feb, March, April. So while getting beautiful handmade craft goods from Japan you will also be making a donation!

Gofundme QR code


Taketombo corp Open Japan. Japan earthquake disaster relief


Open Japan is a Disaster Relief NGO rooted in 1995 Kobe's earthquake and formalized in 2011 after the East Japan Earthquake. Over the years, they have built expertise in disaster relief works and have traveled throughout the country whenever a natural disaster strikes. They work with first responders, Japan National Self-defense Force and municipalities to rescue survivors, search for the missing, to deliver supplies and warm food at shelters, clearing debris of collapse roads and houses etc... They help keep things moving during the most urgent moments after disasters strike. The organization is sustained through individual volunteer help, donations and corporate sponsors. 

Wajima earthquake, Open Japan earthquake disaster relief 2024
Open Japan Disaster Relief team at Noto

If you have any question, insight or idea about this disaster relief initiative, please feel free to contact us!

All image usage rights granted by Open Japan.

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