Day 3: WEEK Kamiyama

Bangai-Reijyo Jyosan-an (番外霊場 杖杉庵)

After 30 minutes walk from No.12 Shozan-ji, I arrived at this Jyosan-an where there’s a grave of Emon-Saburo. His story is said to be the beginning of Shikoku Pilgrimage. You can read its story here.

A typical old house in this area with characteristic roof

It’s always interesting to see something different than what I see in the city. This types of old house is one of them, but I’m actually bit surprised to find that they sell pickled plum (うめぼし) . If I remember it correctly, it is also sold in No.12 Shozan-ji. Maybe this area is famous for it ? (I only know that pickled plum is famous at Wakayama prefecture).

Ohenro-station (おへんろ駅)

This strange bus station name “Ohenro-station” (it should be something like “Shozan-ij station”, probably comes because No.12 Shozan-ji is one of the most famous temples among 88 temples (maybe ;)). From this station to No.12 Shozan-ji, the road is pretty narrow, hence you need to take micro-bus otherwise you have to walk. I like the atmosphere of this small village.

Weeping cherry trees along the road to Kamiyama

While walking to Kamiyama village, I found weeping cherry trees along the river, which should be really beautiful when they will full bloom in spring. I’m filled with warm feelings when high school student gave me greeting (which was not the case in Tokyo), old man proposed me a ride to Kamiyama village as osettai (although I told him I wanted to walk ;)).

Torii (usually found as the gate of shrine) made with speakers!

Co-working space of WEEK Kamiyama

Inside the co-working space of WEEK Kamiyama

When I arrived at WEEK Kamiyama, I was first surprised to find this strange torii made with a lot of speaker units. And in fact, it made some noises hence it may actually work. They have really nice co-working space (they seem to renovated the old Japanese-style house) which locates along with Ayukui river,

Two women welcomed me in the co-working space, and they told me that it’s only me who will stay tonight, and that it’s very seldom for pilgrim to visit here. They have moved here because their movie studio set their satellite office here in WEEK Kamiyama. Hmm, seems to be quite nice! (because I’m also thinking about moving out of Tokyo someday)

The lodge of WEEK Kamiyama

Comfort room with really nice view

Since it’s only me to stay tonight, and they also planned to have new year party with NGO people and the workers in the satellite office, they suggested me to join instead of providing dinner. That’s great, of course I will join.

Before the party, I could talk with the owner of WEEK Kamiyama, Sumida-san, who moved here when he was 50. He had been working for movie related jobs in the joint venture with SONY. We also talked a lot about the efficiency of Swedish people, their way of work, lifework balance etc (I had been working in Sweden for two years, while he also went there several times for his work). It was indeed fun to talk about such things in the mountain side of Tokushima.

Kamiyama valley, Satellite office complex

New year party at WEEK Kamiyama

It turned out that there’re various people coming to the party tonight, such as staffs of the Tokushima prefectural office, the professor of Tokushima university. There’re also elder people who have been living in this village for a long time.

Through some talk with people, I noticed that some people came here to work in the satellite office of some company based in big cities like Tokyo. Other people really loves old Japanese-style house, and became farmers or open cafe in this small village. Some younger people has been working as local-community vitalization aids, then decided to live here because they really love the village. The older people living in this village accept these various people and see the changes happening in the village.

Sumida-san (the owner of WEEK Kamiyama) told me that interesting thing of Kamiyama village is that all those initiatives are not coming from the governmental act. NGO or private company drive them. He told me that although each activity could be small but it would be sustainable because it is somewhat “grass-roots movements” and won’t be heavily affected by the budget related risks if it would be governmental acts.

Indeed, I am interested in moving to Higashikawa village in Hokkaido, where similar initiatives are driven by the local government and it seems it is pretty successful. Hence the discussion with Sumida-san gave me some new insights, and was indeed interesting.

I was so happy when some people in the village told that I would fit very much into Kamiyama village, and that they would welcome me. I should definitely visit here in future.

Hotel fee12840 JPY
Personal rating★★★★★
WEEK Kamiyama