Nurture people, grow cherry blossoms,promote reconstruction, and pass on to the next generation.

Create a row of cherry blossoms along National Route 6 that we can all be proud of.
Starting point is the voice of children.

As a mother of three children, Yumiko formed the "Mothers' Association for Traffic Safety" in Hirono Town, and organized traffic safety activities. During that time, she heard a high school student say, "I don't have a place to work or a place to express my opinions to adults.” This was the starting point. National Route 6 is 168km long and connects the Hamadori region of Fukushima Prefecture from north to south. The National Route 6 Cleanup was inspired by a high school student who said, "If we all clean up the road together and make it clean and brighten up the local community, it will also create jobs.” Yumiko also started the High School Summit after hearing from high school students who said they were interested in community development but were not taken seriously by adults. They survey local high school students to find out what they want to do and understand their thoughts. If there is something the students cannot do themselves, the adults provide support. This has been their basic approach since the beginning of this initiative.

Yumiko talking about the starting point of her activities: listening to children's voices and putting their growth first.

A high school student's wish inspired many adults to
create the project that captured the world's attention.

The project to plant cherry blossom trees along National Route 6 was also inspired by a high school student. “If we can connect National Route 6 with cherry blossoms, the soul of the Japanese people, it will brighten the town and attract attention from around the world!” Yumiko and her team took on the challenge of making this dream come true, and just as they were about to do so, the earthquake struck. The project had to be put on hold. As the members are separated by the evacuation, Yumiko heard that the student was killed in the tsunami. “While living in temporary housing, I saw on TV the cherry blossoms in Yonomori, Tomioka Town quietly blooming in the middle of nowhere. I thought at that time that I would like to fulfill my promise to that student and make Hama-Kaido the most beautiful road in the world.” However, planting 20,000 cherry blossom trees along National Route 6 is a very big project. From fundraising to procurement of saplings and obtaining permission for planting sites, there were many challenges. Even under these circumstances, Yumiko and her team made numerous visits to government agencies and companies, and disseminated information through the media nationwide, gradually gaining support for the project. Finally, in 2013, tree planting began with the support of many government agencies, companies, and organizations.

At the office in Hirono Town, a timeline and photos of the project's history can be viewed at a glance. The project has contributed to community building by involving many people with children as the starting point.

Cherry blossom trees will continue to be storytellers
and bring vitality to the Hamadori region for the next 30 years.

Fukushima Hama-Kaido Sakura Project has been working with more than 8,000 members nationwide, and as of 2022, 14,000 cherry blossom trees have been planted. This project, cleanup activities, events, and other diverse initiatives all originate from the desire of the children. Why is she able to reach out to them so much and help them realize what they want to achieve? “I want to provide education in the community that cannot be done at home," Yumiko says. In a community different from home and school, children find and realize what they really want to do while working with others. That experience enriches their lives. Such community-based education, which began before the earthquake, is helping to rebuild and nurture the next generation. ”Children who left Fukushima for higher education participate in our activities when they return home. Some of them say they will come with their own children 30 years from now when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.” The cherry blossom trees planted by Yumiko and others will bloom each spring and, like storytellers, pass on the wishes of the adults who watch over the children of the Hamadori region as they grow up.

Postcards made for the 10th anniversary. Beautiful photos of cherry blossoms in full bloom, along with words of gratitude for the past 10 years and hope for the next 20 years.

Happy Road Net (Non Profit Organization)

2-1-5, Koyodai, Hirono-machi, Futaba-gun, Fukushima
Happy Road Net Office
TEL: 0240-23-6172
FAX: 0240-23-6171