I recently stumbled into a piece of history about a certain place that is featured in Mirage and thought I should share it.
In a book called Lost Japan: Last Glimpse of Beautiful Japan by Alex Kerr, there is an interesting passage about Iya, where Takaya goes around book 21 after running away from Naoe.
"Since ancient times, Iya has been a hideaway, a place for refuge from the outside world. The oldest written record concerning the valley dates back to the Nara period: a description of how a group of shamans fleeing the capital disappeared into the neighboring mountains. Later, in the twelft century, during the wars between the Heike and Genji clans, fugitives of the defeated Heike fled into Iya Valley. From that time on, Iya became known as an ochiudo buraku (a refugee village). - -
During the period of warfare in the mid-fourteenth century, when Japan was divided between the Northern and Southern courts, Iya became a stronghold of guerillas fighting to restore the Southern Court. Even during the peaceful centuries of the Edo period, the valley people fought off integration with the rest of Japan. The villagers bitterly resisted incorporation into the Awa fiefdom of Lord Hachisuka of Tokushima, rising in numerous peasant revolts. As a result, prior to twentieth century, Iya existed virtually as an independent country."
Sounds familiar, doesn't it? The book also mentions Iya starting to suffer from depopulation, especially after 1970's as people moved to cities, something that Mirage briefly mentions as well. Apparently after that time there where a lot of abandoned houses around. In the mountains the houses were not organized as close together as in the villages situated in the lower regions, but maybe they were still too close for comfort and kept Takaya from inhabiting one of them when he settled in that region.
I'm sure Mirage has lots of these kind of things integrated into the story, so if anyone has some information to share about all the places featured in the series it would be interesting to learn more!