Yatsugatake walk vol.8
a perfect guide of Yatsugatake area for tourists
City mayor Eiko Watanabe's determination
How to walk in Hokuto city (P.62)
Born and raised in Kobuchisawa, her time as a teacher, raising her children, and as a farmer... almost all her life has been here in Hokuto city.
Mayor Eiko Watanabe, a true "Hokutobito" (Hokuto person), was aware of the charm of the city long before it became the number one countryside (small town) where people want to live.
The Mayor's words on the charms of Hokuto city, as seen through her experiences with raising children and hiking in the mountains.
You raised four children in Hokuto City. Please tell us how it is to bring up children in such abundant nature.
I would say it is more a matter of "a person who happens to live in nature" rather than an abundance of nature. We are surrounded by such magnificent mountains, with the small towns spread in between. Without expressly having to bring the children out, when people in the area started farming it was possible to let them ride in a wheelbarrow and to allow them to play in the fields and hills unchecked all day long. You know, nature was our stage where our plays unfolded. We frequently went out for fruit picking. The fruits like blueberry, apples, and cherries we picked in the orchards were fresh and delicious, and the children were always very excited. I remember that it made parents feel satisfied when seeing the children like that.
Your hobby is climbing mountains you mentioned. What mountain memories do you have?
I first hiked up a mountain with the high school skating club and was instantly drawn to its appeal. I have traversed the Yatsugatake Mountains from all the different entrances, frequently going out for a brief walk. Roaming the undeveloped routes around Utsukushi-no-mori, admiring the quiet shapes of the white birch forests, or finding the Gentian at the Koarama spring. I also liked the Hagoromo Pond with the Japanese Primrose in bloom. As for the season, in early spring I like to drive around to see the larch sprout and pick sansai (edible wild plants) like butterbur. In autumn, I went to Akeno to enjoy the sunset. In Akeno the fields are extended and while you look at the sun setting when you move, the characteristics (of the landscape) change. This is genuinely fascinating. In Akeno the fields are extended and while you look at the sun setting when you move, the characteristics (of the landscape) change. This is genuinely fascinating.
And, It is also a pleasure to find and harvest mushrooms like the chestnut mushroom.
Could you please give a message to the people who visit Hokuto City?
Hokuto city is, of course, a great place to raise children, but also for other generations to spend active time in an abundance of nature. Hokuto city is, of course, an excellent place to parent children, but also for other generations to spend active time in an abundance of nature. If you are fortunate enough to have a connection with this area, I like inviting you to walk around with eagerness and experience the various characteristics of the mountains, villages, and plateaus based on the area and seasons. Please, find some treasures for yourself. I hope you will discover a place that will offer peace of mind.
Eiko Watanabe Hokuto-city Mayor
She was born in Kobuchisawa-town, Hokuto-city. She was an elementary and junior high school teacher before starting farming at the age of 42. After being a member of the Nagasaka Town Council, and Hokuto municipal council, she assumed the position of mayor in November 2016.
●Mountains, literature and people
●Yatsugatake as a starting point for the art of photography (P.8-9)
●Young athletes from the southern foothills of the Yatsugatake Mountains (P.10-12)
●Southern Yatsugatake Highland resort Kiyosato Highland (P.13)
●About our area – Oizumi, Nagasaka (P.28)
●About our area – Takane, Sutama, Akeno, Nirasaki (P.36)
●About our area – Kobuchisawa, Hakushu, Mukawa (P.40)
●About our area – Fujimi, Haramura (P.47)
●Fujimi town (P.48)
●Haramura and Central Yatsugatake highland (P.49)
●Profile of Yatsugatake, Southern Alps Mountains (P.49)
●Yatsugatake, Southern Alps: Enjoy the charm with your five senses (P.59)
●Yatsugatake, southern Alps Sake Tour (P.60-61)
●How to walk in Hokuto city (P.62)
●Enjoy! Community (P.63)
●The UNESCO Eco park that is in the "Yatsugatake walk" area (P.63)
●Yatsugatake, Minami Alps Onsen catalogue (P.64)
●Yatsugatake, southern Alps Event calendar (P.66-67)
●Paul Smither’s Yatsugatake and Southern Alps Mountain plants Field guide – 1 (P.20)
●Paul Smither’s Yatsugatake and Southern Alps Mountain plants Field guide – 2 (P.50)
●Paul Smither’s Yatsugatake and Southern Alps Mountain plants Field guide – 3 (P.58)