In 2016 we found the perfect piece of land – 12,000 square metres by the coast in Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture, but that could just as well be in the French Riviera. As with Yewbarrow House, we started with a blank canvas – blank except for the fact that it was covered in bamboo and an assortment of old trees and general detritus. With the help of Workaway volunteers and under the guidance of our current manager David, as well as previous managers such as Matt, who played a major role in creating the Grange, we are attempting to turn this area of jungle into a Garden of Five Continents and more, including tea fields, fruits fields, a kitchen garden, and a guest house. Slow Life Japan has wild boars, raccoons, beavers and giant crows – watch out!
Itoshima is a place of tremendous beauty and excitement for the visitor; dotted with cafes and excellent restaurants. The area is particularly famous for its oyster farms, surfer beaches, waterfalls, seafood, bamboo and pine forests, golf courses, hiking mountains, golden sands – not to mention a botanical plethora on every corner.
It is a weekend country and beach getaway for those of the local districts. It is known across Japan for many as a dream place to live for those who seek a more tranquil, spiritual and back-to-roots existence. Locals tend to be a quirky mix of farmers, artists, and rat-race city slickers that broke free of the chains of their corporate lifestyles to pursue a yearning for a life more bucolic.
Sakurai – where the guesthouse is located – has been voted as one of the best places in Japan to see the sunrise and the sunset. When winter turns to spring, it turns from a quiet idyll and becomes a hotbed for vast throbs of day tourists. They drive out from the city for a dip in the warm ocean, the magnificent views, and the high-class restaurants and fashionable cafes that lie only a few minutes away.