Lodge owner turns to artists in fight to protect environment

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The owner of a hikers’ lodge in Japan’s Northern Alps has been offering up-and-coming artists extended free stays in the hope that the works they create there will help build conversations around the importance of preserving the region’s natural resources.

Jiro Ito, 41, says the only condition he imposes on artists staying at Kumonodaira Mountain Hut, located in a remote mountainous area stretching across Nagano, Gifu and Toyama prefectures, is that they agree to display their works at exhibitions he organizes and on other occasions.

Upkeep of the area’s mountain trails and natural surroundings is usually “thrown in the lap” of hut owners, who receive little help from national or local governments despite the area belonging to a national park, he says.

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