Nakatsugawa would love to welcome you as a visitor, and in these pages we'll keep bringing you information about local tours and offers. But might you be interested in actually living in Nakatsugawa for a few weeks or months, maybe on a working holiday?
By placing community interns in various communities in Japan, our aim is to launch Shuraku Cloud: a national and international network of small communities, leading and following each other along interesting paths to exciting new horizons.
If you speak good Japanese and would be willing to teach local people English online, we'd love to hear from you!
Register your interest by writing to us via our contact page and we'll get in touch with you.
The word we use for community intern in Japanese is karisonmin. Scroll down for information about what our first karisonmin did in Nakatsugawa in 2020.
Life as a community intern
One of the amazing things about Japan is that everyday life in one place may be noticeably different from what you'd experience in another location just a short drive away. Japan is a "rain forest" of diverse village experiences, but this cultural "biodiversity" is fading with each passing year in places where many people are elderly and the population is decreasing. That describes pretty much every community in regional Japan.
Meet Priya. In 2020, she spent several months living and working in Nakatsugawa. She taught English, experimented with the development of new food products, interviewed prominent residents, helped out at farmhouse B&Bs, played cards at granny gatherings, made videos about local culture, learned about mountain vegetables, and ended up cooking curry at a farewell party attended by a large group of local people who were very sad to see her go.
Back in Tokyo, Priya continues to work closely with the Nakatsugawa Future Committee. In the months ahead, in addition to posting "letters" to this site about life in Nakatsugawa, she will be helping to run this shop: My Shuraku Nakatsugawa.
The Future Committee
Priya works in close collaboration with a group of local leaders who, in 2020, formed a Future Committee under the leadership of Ito Katsuaki, pictured below. The members of the Future Committee made sure that Priya was doing well, and helped her to get to know the community in depth.
A karisonmin, a Future Committee, and a shop like My Shuraku Nakatsugawa are key elements in what we call Shuraku OS. This operating system is a way to breathe new life into a remote location like Nakatsugawa. Shuraku OS is also intended to bring Nakatsugawa to life for you, as shopper, visitor...and future karisonmin?
For more about our regional activities, check out Video Bento.