The Author & Traveler
My name is Inga Marie and you are reading my personal guide on Katashina. This blog will inform you about the endless activities, sights and secrets that Katashina has to offer. I am working here in this friendly village for 1 summer month in the Planning and Sightseeing Division of the Katashina Village Office.
Let me introduce myself a little more…
I am a 20 year old German Blondie. I grew up half of my life in the Netherlands and now I am a student living in Scotland. At the moment I have holidays, so I am currently spending a wonderful 3 months in Japan – it is actually my 4th time in this beautiful country. My entire family has a unique relation to Japan. It all started with my grandfather being the president of the sister-city organization of Linden (Hessen, Germany) and Warabi (Saitama, Japan). Therefore, I have had the chance to visit Japan both as participant and as leader of the International Youth Camps and Cultural Youth Exchanges.
I have just spent one month living with friends in Warabi, traveled to Okinawa, Yamagata, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and discovered many different areas of Tokyo. In addition, I volunteered at the International English Camp for children that were traumatized by the 2011 earthquake and moved to contemporary housing in Chiba.
However, now I have found a lovely new home for my second month of my Japanese adventures, namely Katashina Village in Gumna Prefecture. Today is my 4th day here and、 I must admit、 I already feel like I have settled in. I want to share my numerous experiences in this village with all of you. By reading and following my blog I hope that you will feel encouraged and burst with motivation to just come and discover for yourself!
How can you trust my opinion?
I was born with the travel bug in me; I have always been very passionate about traveling, different cultures and adventures. I am very grateful of previously discovering many different European countries, the United States of America and Kenya. After receiving my International Baccalaureate (High School Diploma) I spent 9 months in South America. I volunteered with Peruvian children in Lima and in the jungle capital, Iquitos. In addition I had the chance to backpack through various South American countries, where I completed many adventurous challenges: a 5 day trek to Machu Picchu, Piranha fishing in the Amazon, sleeping in a hammock in the rainforest, ice climbing to 6088m and paragliding from the desert onto the beach… With the use of a similar wordpress blog I was able to record these amazing adventures.
I have learnt so much from my past travels and this being my 4th time in Japan I want to share my knowledge with you, still learning something new every single day.
Please have a look around and explore for yourself!
Any questions – let me know!
Katashina-mura (Katashina Village)
Katashina Village is situated in Gunma Prefecture, in the centre of Honshu (Japan’s main island), approximately 180km from Tokyo. Katashina is a village, however with it’s astounding area of 392.01 km² it is difficult for me to see it as one “little” village. Yet, there are 4,867 people living here, making it such a warm and friendly place.
One of the leaflets of Katshina says that it is the place ‘where nature makes her home’, I think this is very fitting. The village can be split into three different regions: Oze, Marunuma & Hotaka. All of these areas are blessed with unique natural wonders such as wetlands, lakes, mountains and colourful flora and fauna.
After spending a month in the bustling city of Tokyo, Katashina is like a paradise on earth. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city and especially Tokyo but – always being surrounded by crowds of people, the rush hour in the train bursting my personal bubble, only seeing part of the sky due to the many sky scrapers, various smells such as of fish, ramen, smoke and sweat diffusing in the air and only having paved streets everywhere, etc. – can be very exhausting (even though they do have their charms at times).
Therefore, to me, Katashina seems like the ideal place to rest, get back to nature and indulge yourself in physical activity. Splurge yourself with what nature has to offer: picturesque views, fresh local produce and fresh air (I still sometimes find myself taking an extra deep breath when I step outside – just out of pure enjoyment. It’s like a free snack + with 0 calories!). Get outside and trek through the marshlands, go fishing and canoeing, or climb to the peak of the tallest mountain in the north of the Kanto Region, Shirane-san. After a long day out and about do not forget to scrub off all the dirt and fully relax in one of the many natural hot springs.
To find out more have a look through my blog!
But don’t forget –
Explore for yourself: Katashina FUNtashina
Katashina’s Website (Japanese only): http://www.vill.katashina.gunma.jp/