by Miki Rust
The view of the mountains outside my front door might be breathtaking, but it’s because of the friendly folk of Yame that I’ve made this mountain village my home for 10 years. It’s a tight-knit community where everyone seems to know everyone else, but not so tight that visitors aren’t welcome; and that extends to foreigners too!
The pure Yabegawa river water has made Yame both an important cultivation area for tea, grapes, strawberries, chrysanthemums, as well as a center of traditional paper-making. At the Local Craftwork Center (Dento Kogei Kan), you can make your own calligraphy paper, postcards and bookmarks with help from the friendly staff. The Center also features demonstrations of sandal-making, paper-latern making, and construction of Buddhist altars for homes, all of which are guaranteed to take you back to the past. The Center sells tsukemono (pickles), hand-made paper, Yame tea, straw sandals and other handicrafts, great omiyage for your friends who missed the trip. Welcome to “my inaka”!