Natasha Norman Visual Artist

Nenba Heritage Village

This morning it was 8:22am exactly when Carol knocked on my door to say we had the day off, owning to the good weather, and did I want to come to the craft village in Nenbo. I was calculating the most efficient way to deal with my morning procrastination from the warm bedclothes (was it to be a new personal best? Shower, dress and breakfast in under 30min to be in class by 9am?). At 9:05am we headed out the door (in short sleeves!) on a 2 hour walk to the historic village which is situated along the neighbouring lake, Saiko. It was a beautiful walk, with lots of photo stops and a coffee and cake pause at a family run establishment.

Lake Saiko
Lake Saiko

Fishing on Lake Saiko
Fishing on Lake Saiko

The Nenba village is a reconstruction based on centuries old houses that were destroyed in a typhoon in 1966. Today the thatch houses contain local arts and crafts including a Washi paper maker. The houses have unique rooflines that mimic the helmets of Samuari warriors and the whole village looks out at the beautiful Mount Fuji.

Nenba 1938
Nenba 1938

Photographed by Koyo Okada


Mount Fuji from Nenba Village
Mount Fuji from Nenba Village

A group of loud but good natured American tourists were making full use of the 500 Yen dress up option and started a mock battle with some Japanese tourists also in Samuari gear. It was amusing to watch while Charles finished a sketch. I was more taken with the giant fish kites that hung over the river. They are a colourful local tradition around the lakes.

Fish Kites and Nenba

Charles and I were the last to leave after some tasty ice-creams squeezed from frozen tubs. We were not prepared for a 2 hour walk home so, armed with instructions from a helpful tour guide who gave us free entry to the village (owing to the fact that we are visiting artists) we headed down the river track to the main road to catch a 16:14 local bus home.

We were met with the conundrum of 3 bus stop options less than 100m apart. I had a suspicion we were at the wrong one so we asked the help of an elderly farmer. She didn’t speak a word of English but managed to decipher our needs from the bus timetable and the note in Japanese given to us by the village tour guide. At 16:14 exactly, a bus emerged from nowhere. Grateful for a helpful driver we were able to comically work out the ticket system and get home in less than 20min for 450 Yen. High 5s all round. It’s amazing the sense of achievement that even the little things can give you in a foreign country.

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