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Japan Travel Blog

Kanagawa - Kogoshima - Hokkaido (est. 5500km)

15~31 August 2018, Summer

by Tong, CEO WASABI Creation

3. Revitalising Rural Japan @ Minami Ashigara ~by Sosei Partners, Day 1


- Minami Ashigara 16-19 Aug 2018


1. Day 1 ~Kataura City(片浦): Self made solar power

Today we visited Kataura in Minami Ashigara where we met Kiyama-san, a friendly lady who has been very active in promoting "local production & local consumption" (地産地消). We arrived at Kataura and the first thing we saw was solar panels in the street set up by the locals which provides lighting at night.


The solar panels are provided by a local company which also provides workshop in teaching people in building their own solar panels. Each solar panel can produce 50W of electricity where it is used for lighting and water heating. Each set cost about $500. The aim is to sell and set up 600 solar panels in the area to provide sustainable source of energy to the town.


A signboard explaining solar-powered system supplying electricity to farms and residences in Kataura area. They connect people to people while being sustainable for the environment.


At this permaculture garden, a lot of sustainable efforts have been made, such as recycling of waste water for agriculture, water purification with bio-filters. A DIY kitchen is also set up with earth oven, traditional Japanese style cooking stove, etc.

2. Day 1 ~Kataura City: Permaculture

We came to a junior high school which has been closed down due to lack of students numbers. A high school took it over as part of their campus. There, in the school yard, a permaculture garden was built with herbs and vegetables. Permaculture originally referred to "permanent agriculture", but was expanded to stand also for "permanent culture", as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka's natural farming philosophy.


3. Day 1 ~Kataura City: The original vending machineAlong the way we came across an unmanned store selling vegetables and fruits and orange and blueberry with the a lady’s photo indicating she is the farmer behind all these produce. Customers just need to take whatever they want and pay into the box provided. The sign says “Happiness for the honest”, I Guess it also means that those who steal will get their karma. 


4. Day 1 ~Kataura City: A cosy bakery in an old Japanese house, MUGIFUMI

Next we arrived at a old traditional Japanese house located on the side of a major road up the mountain. It has a Long corridor with wooden flooring where the bakery is located at the back. 

The seating area is open to the outside where you can see the greenery and feel the Breeze coming in. It is a very nostalgic feel you get when you visit Japan during summer. The breads are freshly made by a young Chef Everyday and there is Apple cider made from local harvest. 


5. Day 1 ~Kataura City: More group discussion

Meanwhile, after getting back to our "base camp", it is time to hear from everyone our feedback of what we haven seen and heard. It is interesting to hear different opinions from a diverse group of people with different age group, nationality and professional experiences.

Japan Travel Blog 2018: click below to see other stories

To be continued......





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