Nagoro, Japan, Is the Creepy Doll Capital of the World

Leonid Eremeychuk/iStock via Getty Images
Leonid Eremeychuk/iStock via Getty Images / Leonid Eremeychuk/iStock via Getty Images

Visitors may notice something unsettling about Nagoro, Japan. After years of younger residents moving to cities and older residents dying off, the town's population has dwindled to less than 30 people. But Nagoro is far from empty. Thanks to the hundreds of creepy dolls displayed throughout the village, there's hardly a place you can go without getting the feeling you're being watched.

According to Atlas Obscura, there are at least 350 scarecrows, or kakashi in Japanese, populating the village of Nagoro in southern Japan. An artist and native resident named Tsukimi Ayano started making them after moving back to her hometown around 2002.

Tsukimi spent most of her adult life in Osaka, Japan, and was saddened to discover that her birthplace was quickly becoming a ghost town. She was inspired to repopulate the town with dummies after making a scarecrow modeled after her father to keep birds out of her garden. The life-sized doll reminded her of how her home once was, and she thought, why not do the same thing for the rest of the town?

Tsukimi got to work building straw-stuffed recreations of Nagoro's former residents and posing them around the village miming various activities. Today, the uncanny memorials can be spotted in hard hats doing road work, gardening in yards, and studying in abandoned classrooms.

Nagoro's population of flesh-and-blood humans is still slim, but Tsukimi's art project attracts thousands of tourists each year. She even hosts scarecrow-making workshops every month from April to November, and in October, there's an entire scarecrow festival.

You can learn more about the kakashi of Nagoro in the documentary below.

[h/t CNN]