Sponsored by Izumi City
It is not very well known, but in Japan there is an original type of accommodation called “noupaku” (農泊), a private residence temporarily hosting lodgers. It is a perfect way to live like the Japanese in a Japanese family for just a few days. In Izumi, six hosts, all farmers, open their doors and allow you to experience the daily life of a farmer! You can check the profile of each farmer in detail on Izumi City website (in English).
My experience of Nouhaku（農泊）
I stayed for two days at the Tanaka’s, who are organic green tea producers. Their farm is located in the middle of the mountains around Izumi, in a little hamlet called Okawauchi. In the afternoon of the first day, Mr. Tanaka came to pick me with his car at Izumi station. It took us thirty minutes to reach his farm.
He speaks a little English and I know a bit of Japanese (if you do not know any, Google translate can help you a lot) so we were able to talk. It was an interesting conversation!
When we arrived at the farm, it was raining. Mrs. Tanaka welcomed us with a cup of their delicious green tea. She then took me to the kitchen to show me all of the vegetables she grows in her garden. We picked-up some of those vegetables to cook as tempuras to complete the nice dinner she had already prepared.
Once the table was set, it looked like a huge feast! See for yourself in the photo below!
After dinner, Mr. Tanaka took me on a ride to observe deers, which live in the mountains nearby and show-up only at night. With two powerful torches, we saw over tens of deer families. Their eyes bright in the darkness, it is really impressive!
Back home, Mrs. Tanaka asked me if I wanted to take a Japanese bath ofuro (お風呂) to warm up. I accepted with pleasure and I think I spent almost one hour relaxing in the hot water!
Sleeping on a futon
After the bath, I went to the guest room. I set up the futon on the tatami mats and I slipped under the covers for a good night of sleep!
In the morning, Mrs. Tanaka had prepared a gigantic breakfast! All the dishes were extremely fresh and delicious!
Genmaicha tea making
Then, I followed Mr Tanaka in the garden to help him make genmaicha (玄米茶), Japanese green tea mixed with brown rice kernels and noted for its pleasant roasted flavor. It was fun to see few grains of the rice pop during the roasting process and resemble popcorn. Mr Tanaka also grilled sweet potato, one of the most popular snacks in Japan!
Finally, Mr. Tanaka took me on a tour of the farm. I saw tea and rice fields, the warehouse, and the animals (dogs, chickens, goats, wild boars, bees). It was awesome to discover the backstage of a Japanese self-sufficient farm! I was invited to pick-up shiitakes mushrooms, and go back home with a big bag for myself. The Tanakas also offered me several green tea bags from their production and some homemade miso paste – very generous!
I definitely recommend this experience to all curious persons!
Interested in visiting Izumi? You should check out the other articles dedicated to the city:
- How to Get to Izumi, Kagoshima’s Hidden Gem
- Izumi, a Cranes’ Paradise: Observation Center and Ryokan
- Izumi: Tea Ceremony Dressed in Kimono in an Old Samurai Residence
- Izumi Oyako Steak Gohan: Izumi’s Culinary Speciality
|Name||Farm stay Izumi|
|Address||1-3 Midorimachi, Izumi City, Kagoshima Prefecture|
1-3 Midorimachi, Izumi City, Kagoshima Prefecture
|Opening Hours||By reservation to the Izumi City Tourism Division by tel: 0996-63-2111 (from 8:30am to 5:15pm) or email at kanko_c@ city.izumi.kagoshima.jp (English available)|
|Price Range||¥7,600 for a night and two meals|