A classic documentary, NHK’s Satoyama: Japan’s Secret Watergarden, narrated by David Attenborough

Filmed in 2004 by NHK, Satoyama: Japan’s Secret Watergarden is a gorgeously filmed sixty minute documentary, narrated by David Attenborough. Broadcast a few years later on BBC, the full film is available to view here on Google.

[UPDATE: A four-apart HD version is now available on YouTube. The first part is available here. The remaining parts appear on the right column. SORRY NO LONGER AVAILABLE DUE TO COPYRIGHT ISSUES]

[UPDATE – Aug 21, 2011: The complete film now seems impossible to find on the internet. I’d purchase the DVD if I could find it, but that, too, appears unavailable. If anyone knows a source, please post a comment. In the meantime, while the first of six parts remains off-limits, the subsequent five parts remain available, for now. Parts two-six are available here.]

[UPDATE – March 2012: Here is the complete film in HD, recently posted, not broken into parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1XNxc3CwSM%5D

This film portrays the essence of the satoyama landscape’s seamless fabric of interdependence and cyclical relationship between human and environment. Having heard about it for years, but never wanting to use peer-to-peer networks to view it, I was very pleased to finally find it available, albeit with somewhat compromised resolution.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Alan,

    Thanks for your comment on my travel blog – it really is a beautiful place to live here

    I blog about a variety of aspects of life here, but the local nature and environment are feequently featured. I will be blogging about the bat research trip I joined soon which was in a beautiful area called Taga (where I’ll be attending a rice planting festival early next month). So other things connected with your interests will be appearing in the future so I suggest you subscribe to my blog and check the next enteries – though not all will be on such topics.

    Here’s a link to a (Japanese) Satoyama site for you too http://www.geocities.jp/syouzu2007/
    This was created after the broadcast of the (very popular) documentary you link here as there was a big influx of visitors who literally barged into local homes to see what they saw in the film – so a few local people created a small eco-tour operation in the area to show off the lifestyle in the local peoples houses.

    I plan to take the tour later this year – and when my term teaching with JET finishes I’m thinking of trying to organise eco-tours of the region for non-Japanese speakers as a small business – any ideas or comments on that would be welcome.



  2. OH – My blog link too while I’m here


  3. Hi Damon,

    Thank you for your response. I’ll certainly subscribe to your blog as you have the local ear to the ground.

    I’ll also check out the link you sent. Sounds intriguing! As does your post-JET eco-tour idea. I’ll pass along further thoughts on that if they come to me…

    Best regards,


  4. Posted by Someone on October 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm


    You can find both BBC versions and original Japanese versions in HD on usenet.

    Satoyama I Japan’s Secret Watergarden 1999
    Satoyama.II.Japans.Secret.Watergarden. 1080p.DD2.0.x264

    BBC Version:

    BBC – Natural World – 2006 – Satoyama Japan’s Secret Watergarden


  5. Posted by Mike on September 19, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Does anyone know where to get the third versions? Looking crazy for it….


  6. Posted by Budi Sulistiyo on December 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Alan,

    Do you have the first version, where it focused on paddy field instead the lake?
    i searching everywhere and no clue how to find it 😦


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