Alternative Paths in Wakayama: Foreigners Making Homes in Rural Japan

Todd Van Horne on his land. This is his forest now, and it needs some management.
Giovanni Dal’s herd of goats is grazing around the vineyard. They help to keep the weeds at bay, and they produce tasty goat milk.

The south of the Kii Peninsula, three hours or more by train from Osaka or Nagoya, is considered remote by Japanese standards.

This region, famous for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails, is a paradise for holiday-makers but not an easy place to live. Young Japanese people leave in droves for the city searching for attractive jobs, a convenient lifestyle and entertainment. As a result, the elderly, abandoned houses, neglected farmland, and dying communities are left behind.

But some foreigners living in Japan want to make this region home. So they took their chances with a fresh start and took rural revitalization into their own capable hands, quite literally.

Giovanni Dal from Italy: winery guesthouse, goats and cheese, agro-tourism.

Todd Van Horne from the USA: plum orchard, adventure camp ground and community project.

Read my full article on GaijinPot here.