Mitsukejima and Jianhua Liu’s “Drifting Landscape” in Suzu. All photos by A. D. McCormick unless otherwise noted.

After the Town Lost Its Train

Schools are closing. Populations are shrinking. Towns are fading away. Rural Japan is turning to art festivals for a fresh start.

Last September, I traveled to a little town on the edge of nowhere in Japan to look at art. Nearly a hundred miles from the nearest urban center, Suzu City is alive with art: large-scale indoor…