Let’s Go Home! Kamikatsu
イノウ (pronounced eno) means let’s go home! in the local dialect. INOW Kamikatsu invites you to experience the feel of home in the heart of the famous Zero Waste Village of Japan.
WELCOME TO KAMIKATSU
Nestled amongst the cedar forested mountains of Shikoku Island is a tiny village with a big reputation, where traditional ways of life meets modern ideas. Known for being the first village in Japan to make a declaration for Zero Waste, and listed as one of Japan’s 100 Most Beautiful Villages, there is something undeniably special about this place.
Do you ever look outside the window, and feel saddened by the rows upon rows of buildings staring back? Have you ever wondered where your food comes from, or what it’s gone through to get onto your plate? Are you sick of the mountains of plastic endemic to our world today?
Sometimes the answers to our questions can be found right under our noses. And sometimes, it takes a widening of our perspective in order to discover the right understanding.
This is where INOW comes in. We invite you to come experience Kamikatsu, by living like a local, and learning with them.
Join us and experience what 45 different categories of waste segregation feels like in practice, what farming for your own food organically involves, how a Slow Life relates to the definition of a Good Life.
Come step outside of your daily routine, wherever and whatever that may be, and step into the beautiful green mountains that is your new home in Kamikatsu.
WHAT IS A ZERO WASTE VILLAGE?
Since 2003, Kamikatsu became the first village in Japan to declare for “Zero Waste,” an ideal the village has been working hard to follow ever since. Before the implementation of the program, Kamikatsu, like many parts of Japan, disposed of its waste using incineration, as well as a dumping method inside a large hole in the ground. This system soon proved to be cost-ineffective and unsustainable, resulting in the need to overhaul it completely. Hence the “Zero Waste” program was born.
In Kamikatsu today, there is no garbage truck to collect residents’ waste. Instead, villagers compost all of their organic waste matter themselves, and the rest is separated into 45 different categories to be recycled for materials, or re-used. Only a small amount left over that cannot be recycled is incinerated.
In 2019, 80% of the village’s waste was recycled, compared to a national average of just 20%. But we don’t want to stop there. By aiming to become Zero Waste, we are developing new ways to reduce the amount of garbage being made in the first place, to remove one-time use items from our daily lives, and to become truly sustainable.
To learn more, here are some helpful links.
THE INOW PROGRAM
Back in 2019, Kamikatsu native Terumi Azuma, owner of Cafe polestar – one of the Zero Waste accredited businesses in town – and her co-founder, Linda Ding, a writer hailing from Canada, started the Try Kamikatsu! Program. The aim of the TKP was to connect people from all different backgrounds together in the common goal towards sustainability, against the idyllic backdrop of the Japanese countryside. After all it is easy when visiting a place simply to sightsee, but to really get to the heart of a matter, you need to live it, to make the experience of it your very own.
Despite the overwhelming popularity of the Try Kamikatsu! Program, due to the recent crisis of COVID-19, we unfortunately had to make the difficult decision to close its doors. In its wake, with the safety of our guests and our village in mind, INOW was born.
The concept of INOW is simple: come experience Kamikatsu as a local. What is it really like for residents to have to separate our garbage following the Zero-Waste way? How do businesses, that are accredited to be Zero-Waste, run their operations day-to-day? What is it like to grow your own food and produce meals that are both seasonal and local? And more importantly, what are we forgetting when we believe that opportunities exist solely within our cities, while the bounties in the countryside are routinely overlooked?
We created INOW as a way to share the Kamikatsu lifestyle with others. By living side by side with locals, immersing yourself in the village for an extended period of time, we hope you will be inspired in your own way to think towards sustainability, self-empowerment, and nature’s role in not just our survival but happiness and well-being.
The INOW program consists of 14 Days living and learning together in Kamikatsu, alongside our local teachers guiding you into a rare view of what life is really like in the countryside.
A sample of activities you can experience with us. Each actual schedule will be tailored to the individual participant, and will be subject to availability and seasonality (we cannot make the summer vegetables grow in winter, unfortunately).
- Learning Kamikatsu‘s Zero-Waste policy
- Organic farming
- Cooking traditional and seasonal Japanese recipes
- Baking and pastry making using local and seasonal ingredients
- Zero Waste in business management
- Traditional Japanese arts and crafts
**Additional trips may be taken to nearby towns to learn about aizome (indigo dyeing, a traditional Tokushima art), surfing, tea planting etc. These will be arranged with each participant.
14 Days: ¥110,000 per person
Includes: Program fee and living costs (single room), Local transportation, Tax
Fee does NOT include: Meals (you will have a fully stocked kitchen for preparing meals, there is the local farmer’s market and supermarkets nearby, meals at local restaurant costs ¥450); Transportation to and from Kamikatsu; Insurance
HOW TO APPLY
Please fill out the form below. If two or more people are applying together please fill out a separate form for each person (Please mention on all the forms who else is in your same party). Once we receive your information we will arrange to have an introductory interview to make sure this is the right program for you, and we will answer any questions you might have.
**Due to the COVID-19 crisis, any guests arriving to Kamikatsu from outside of Japan will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Japan outside of Kamikatsu, before being accepted to participate in the program. Over half the residents in Kamikatsu are over the age of 65, so please understand our need for caution and we apologize for the inconvenience.