Mar. 11, 2016
Interview with the hosts | Apple fields in the countryside
This host interview is based on the travel blog of Igarashi.
Please also take a look at the experience report “Apple fields in the countryside“!
Isamu Tayama (left), Kiyomi Tayama (right)
Ten years ago, the couple moved from Kanagawa prefecture to Sannohe and after starting private lodging, they immediately welcomed a lot of guests and kept inventing more activities to offer their guests. Both like traveling abroad to countries like Spain and several ones in South-east asia.
Seeing the sunset, we decided to move to Sannohe
──Why did you move from Yokohama to Sannohe?
Isamu: The house were we used to live became surrounded with a lot of pubs and convenience stores so it became quite noisy with delivery trucks each day and young people.
So we decided, that after retirement we would move to a quieter place.
──Why did you come to Sannohe?
Isamu: At the beginning, we looked for places in a 100km radious around Yokohama, but it was more or less expensive.
Right at that time, a man who lived in the neighbourhood started to work at my company and he introduced us to Sannohe.
After we came here for the first time, we thought it was nice seeing the sunset at this place and decided to move here. That was around 12 years ago.
Make a living through STAY JAPAN(ex-Tomarina)
──Why did you start running a private lodge?
Isamu: We both used to run farming workshops for educational purposes like offering a place to stay for students that come here to experience some farming.
That was at the time when we were about to move here. The man who introduced us to the house asked us to continue the farming workshops. The farmer who used to run the workshops passed away suddenly so they were a little shorthanded and we jumped right in.
Kiyomi: At that time, there was no such thing as a license. But at some point it became necessary and some of the old houses or those using well water needed were closed down.
After that we heard about STAY JAPAN and running the lodge thorugh internet. First I thought that that sounded kind of fishy. (laughs)
Isamu: But, we also thought it might be a way to make a living. And if it would work, maybe normal travelers would come visit us, too. You know, there are also the Olympic games coming.
Kiyomi: Right. And private lodging is getting more and more popular since the plans of the Ministry of Education to let school students engage more in comprehensive studies and the Ministry of Agriculture’s to fill the gap between metropolitan and rural wages matched. Recently, you also see that children living in this area spend less and less time playing outside in the nature.
──What kind of guests did you have until now?
Isamu: In the first three months, we had about four guests. And they were mostly relatives or friends.
Kiyomi: When we started using STAY JAPAN, I sent a lot of emails to friends. By doing that, a lot of friends or their friends came to visit us. Also colleagues of our son came once because they thought it was interesting.
──Where there any troubles?
Isamu: Normal travelers don’t have time compared to students, right? So in what case ever, they tend to stay a shorter time. And deciding what to do in that short time is kind of hard.
Harvesting fruits or vegetables, you always have only certain seasons or occasions where you can actually harvest, so very often we had the problem that guests came when there simply was nothing to harvest. That why we try lately to add more activities like making pizza in a stone stove, making popcorn and alike so our guests have a good time still.
We want to offer our guests only what they can’t do at home
──What challenges do you want to take afterwards?
Isamu: Now we are thinking about a new activity list. For example, we are talking right now to a hotel in Oirase which offers starry sky guides. I think it would be interesting if you could do that at our place, too.
Kiyomi: Right, we want to offer our guests activities which they can’t do at home, not only farming.
Isamu: Also, we try to spread information about events or festivals in this region. Hearing that, some travelers might come to visit us at that time and stay a night or two. That sounds good, right?