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Just to the south of Tokyo lies the large Boso peninsula with its many bays and beaches. Much of the forested interior remains largely undeveloped. Unknown even. But hidden away in the hills and forests are bamboo covered terraces made in the wartime years when Japan badly needed food and the sides of the hills were terraced to grow sweet potatoes. When the war ended, however, the farmers went back to the valleys to grow the more profitable rice and the hills were allowed to fall into bamboo-covered disuse.
But by a geographic anomaly (which we will be happy to explain) the hilltops are fertile volcanic loam waiting to be cultivated.
Today the authorities provide us and others every encouragement to help recover the the land on these terraces.
At our base at Oihama, near Ohara on a direct train line to Tokyo and facing the Pacific side of the peninsula with its inlets and surfing beaches, we have over the years cleared jungle from some of the terraces on a small ocean-front mountain.
On one side of the mountain we have established a small community with NZ log houses, gardens and a tennis court available for common use - Oihama Heights. On the summit and the other side of the mountain we are aiming to develop the remainder of the mountain terraces. Already we have two fully-equipped Workaway hutson site, lawns, vegetable gardens, paths between teterraces and down to the semi-secret beach below.
We are also seeking to further develop and maintain some abandoned hillside terraces high on a hill and further inland. It is a family project begun 40 years ago which we continue for sentimental reasons. The Kiwi Farm it is called because kiwiis were what we first grew there. Now we also grow biwa (guava) and mikan (orange) trees, vegetables and blueberries as well.
Kiwi fruit grow on large vines strung over trellises subject to storm and wild pig damage ( which keeps us busy). They also have to pruned and mulched. Blueberries largely look after themselves if mulched. Vegetable gardens have to be fenced off from both the pigs and small Taiwan deer gone wild.
There is an old, fully-equipped house for Workawayers on the site built as an annex to the original family house. It is rather isolated though ideal for meditation I am told. Good shopping is available at Kuniyoshi, 30 minutes away by bicycle. Oihama base is 50 minutes away by bike and 20 minutes by the small truck available for Workaway use.
All our development is organic, with no fertilisers used, and all jungle waste returned to the soil. We do not claim to be aiming for sustainable development but we certainly like you to feed yourself as much as possible from what we grow.
No produce is for commercial sale, so eat up.
We like people to stay for at least a month so they can familiarise themselves with both the area and the work. We provide an allowance which should meet all reasonable costs for food and other necessities. We also like to invite Workawayers to join us for meals at local Japanese restaurants. Together with the cost of housing and utilities we estimate the total to be roughly equal to the normal remuneration for house worked
For skilled work we provide an extra allowance
Brought up in Australia and after spending many years first as a diplomat and then as an educator in Japan I have retired to my original Australian passion for developing difficult land into productive use.
Two sons, Dan and Ron, help out when not in Tokyo. Ron is a former squash champion who can give you a game at our Squash court on our nearby Kuwata site. He weekends on the Oihama site.
We maintain a Tokyo office and an English-speaking secretary who can help you with problems. Address;
Research Japan Office.
Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi. 220.127.116.116. Phone 090 2744 3360
More details of ourselves, background and history at .
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
Copy and paste the link below. Use this to explore the area and get to see some of the many temples and shrines.
The Isumi district area hosts numerous events and festivals, including the Japan-famous Hadaka (Naked) Matsuri in September.
The nearby Ohara fishing port holds weekly fish markets and local fishermen organise deep-sea fishing trips.
We can also arrange with a local temple for Zen meditation and calligraphy classes..
We recommend the two-hour trip across the Boso peninsula and back on the tiny Isumi Tetsudo train which leaves Ohara roughly on the hour. You will see a good cross-section of rural Japan.
We can also recommend a visit to the colorful Onjuku beach resort (one hour by bike, much less by car or train), and to the world famous Sea World at Kamogawa (40 minutes by train).
Help is mainly the skills and physical work needed to develop and maintain Oihama and Kiwi Farm sites.
A strong interest in plants, both domestic and wild, is helpful. Computer skills also very welcome.
Driving skills wanted (ideally for gear-stick), with international licence essential.
At the Kiwi farm conditions can be more strenuous. They include taming the prolific vegetation, repairing occasional wild pig damage, house and deck repairs and restoring former vegetable plots which are now jungle-covered. We may ask you to base yourself in the Kiwi farm house, shopping in a nearby farming village.
I speak English, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Spanish
Accommodation at the Oihama base consists mainly of two independent two-room cabins , complete with air conditioning, shower room, kitchen, simple toilet, tatami two-person bedroom , all facing a large lawn with a jade table for six and spectacular ocean views, surrounded by a national forest. Oihama Heights residents, both Japanese and non-Japanese, will be your neighbors.
The large, full-range supermarket, Gats, is only five minutes bike ride away. While we hope you will get to grow much of what you eat, we will of course cover reasonable food and grocery costs. We also hope to invite you occasionally to join us at local eateries.
We may also have alternative accommodation at Workaway House 2 and elsewhere if the two Workaway cabins are occupied.
Kiwi Farm house: Self-contained house, with kitchen and bathroom and forest surroundings. House is somewhat old and secluded. Location is about 20 minutes drive westward from Oihama. Shopping is five minutes drive or 30 minute bike ride to Kuniyoshi supermarket,.
Close-by is our sister operation at Nakadaki Art Village where Workawayers are also to be found.
You will need a Sim card package for Internet communications.
You are free to use any of our bicycles to explore the area and run errands. A small runaround truck may also be available, but please make sure you have a valid national driving license or international license.
We speak several languages and would be happy to help you in your language efforts..
Biking trips into the hills of the deep Boso Peninsula nearby will take you a Japan which few ever see.
The nearby very large Kiyomizu Kannon is a regular pilgrimage site in the Kanto Area. The Yoro Gorge about 30 minutes drive is famous of its hot springs. The entire coast line from Oihama down to the popular Kamogawa surf beaches is studded with small fishing ports and beaches - the Riviera of Japan it has been called.
The Kamogawa Sea World with its trained sea animals is rated as one of the best in the world.
Sunset Breeze resort on the other side of the peninsular and with which we have a close connection has three championship squash courts. We can also provide access to our own squash court and omni tennis court, both available free of charge.
To the north about 30 minutes is the famous Kujukuri (99 mile) beach with wind surfing facilities.
We provide a small two seater, run-around vehicle for trips to nearby cultural sights (there are many), surf beaches and to Ohara station just 70 minutes by express to central Tokyo. International licences are needed.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Around 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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