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Aigu Om!

Forest, music and words connect two distant cultures - Estonia and Japan - and encourage visitors to enjoy a slower and more nature-connected life.


Aigu Om! means  “there is time” or “take your time!” This saying, which has become the motto of the Võro people, does not mean just passive idling, but even more meaningful action and truly being present, the art of being in the moment. The workshops, reflections, concerts, nature walks and exhibitions of the music and word event Aigu Om! taking place in Võrumaa offer the opportunity to learn and focus deeply, to listen and experience, and to take TIME for yourself.

In 2024, Aigu Om! will have a special focus on Japan. The festival will focus on two distant but cultural spaces with similar sensibility where an ancient connection to nature has been preserved  – Estonia and Japan. Hardworking and nature-loving Japanese performers and guests will come to visit, with whom we will seek out mysterious connections between Estonia and Japan and ways to ground ourselves in different cultures and experience life closer to nature. Thus, in 2024, forest experts, musicians and producers from Japan will come to Aigu Om! You can enjoy the true cultural gems of both countries, from forest contemplation practices to smoke saunas and discover new joint creations by representatives of the two cultural spaces. One of the highlights of the event will be the musical premiere of a collaboration born out of a cooperation between Japan and Estonia.


In July 2024, visitors can expect events such as forest walks and events in nature such as outdoor cinema as well as concerts and workshops. You can see archaic fishing with your own eyes and learn more about folk medicine and food culture in workshops, all of which take place in natural surroundings.

The main characters of Aigu Om! are the local nature and people  – there are no large stages and separate areas typical of large festivals, but all events take place in the forests and by the lakes of Võrumaa, in backyards, villages and village centres, amidst the authentic local life. There has definitely never been such an Estonian-Japanese cultural meeting in the forests before!


The walks and discussions on the Aigu Om! forest day revolve around traditional and modern forest perception. The conversations of popular Japanese nature guide Yutaka Miura and artist Daizaburo Sakamoto, who has immersed himself in the ancient practices of ancient ascetic hermit monks. This will be mediated by Estonian thinkers writer Valdur Mikita and Japanologist Alari Allik. Estonian artist Uku Sepsivart will give an overview of the salt sculpture “Self-portrait with forest animals” installed in Pähni forest and has been documented by trail cameras since the summer of 2023. Let’s take the time to put together a proper sauna whisk, taste some fresh forest honey and listen to taiko drums in the famous Pähni Forest Megaphones. The forest day finishes at night with an outdoor cinema, where “My Neighbor Totoro” will be screened – a family film belonging to the classics of animation by Hayao Miyazaki.


On special concert evenings in the cosy Aigu Om barn in Viitina, the piece of music “Mõts/Mori/Forest” created in Japanese-Estonian collaboration will be performed for the first time. The concert program was created in collaboration between Estonian musician Mari Kalkun, Japanese musicians – cellist Kotaro Saito and electric guitarist Arata Inoue – and music producer Ryota Nozaki from Tokyo.

The meditative soundscapes of “Mõts/Mori/Forest” transport the listener to another reality, where Estonian poetry and Japanese world perception meet. This music contains something that is most lacking in today’s world  – time. In these genre-transcending sound journeys land and city, nature and man, kannel and electric guitar come together. The music is supported by visuals and lights, and the children of the community also join in.

In addition, there will be performances by excellent Rõuge-related musicians in the village centres and you can experience the playing of Japanese taiko drums up close.



“Aigu Om! 2024” brings together people who value the natural environment, traditional culture and nature conservation. We will show that even with the most distant cultural spaces we can have a lot in common and that an environmentally friendly lifestyle is important regardless of geographical location. With the help of Japanese partners, the forest-inspired cultural explosion and the “aigu om” philosophy will also reach people on the other side of the globe.