Nestled between mountains and situated in the Oi River basin, Yagi is more a collection of small villages than a single town. The town center, situated along the river, is only a small part of Yagi's total area. Though Yagi is decidedly rural, its promixity to Kyoto by train makes it an extended suburb of sorts. It is estimated that about 60% of Yagi's adult working population commutes to Kyoto or Osaka daily. Yagi is easily accessible via the JR Sagano Train Line from Kyoto.
In 1960 Yagi and the surrounding area was hit by a massive typhoon. The banks of the Oi River collapsed, and the town suffered extensive flooding. A number of people died during the storm and the flood that followed.
Yagi has one Junior High School and five elementary schools: Yagi, Tomimoto, Shinjo, Yoshitomi and Kamiyoshi. Yagi has been a long-time participant in the JET Programme, and employs a foreigner and native speaker to teach English in the town's schools.
Yagi is also known for several progressive environmental projects. In 1995, Yagi Junior High became the first school in Japan to be solar powered, and Yoshitomi and Shinjo elementary schools also use supplemental solar and wind energy. Additionally, Yagi's Bio-Ecology Center turns cow manure from nearby dairy farms into electricity by utilizing the methane gas produced during decomposition.
Seigen-ji temple, in Yagi's northern foothills, is famous because it houses 22 wood carvings created by the wandering ascetic priest Mokujiki-san. Mokujiki-san traveled throughout Japan on a pilgrimage whose purpose was to spread Buddhist teachings and carve 1,000 images of the Buddha and his disciples. Shaka, the image of Buddha at Seigen-ji, is the 1,000th carving, which Mokujiki-san completed in 1806.
Yagi's northern foothills are also home to Kyoto Taishakuten, a Buddhist temple established in 780. Other temples and shrines are to be found throughout the region.
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