Updated: Nov 1, 2022
Here’s another old Japan house with a story…. About fifteen years ago, I was walking through the Village of the Long Bear in the Japan Southern Alps when I met an old green tea farmer who invited me home for tea. He and his wife gave me a tour of their farmhouse which featured the sound of flowing water everywhere we went. This is because many years back the farmer had tapped the home’s plumbing into a spring which emanated from a crack in the solid rock mountain behind the house. The farmer had literally driven a pipe into the rock, which then for decades poured forth a steady stream of fresh, pure, and very cold mountain spring water. Given such abundance, none of the cold water faucets within or outside the house had a tap, and instead, water simply flowed constantly into every basin in the house, as well as over a little waterfall spilling into a pond and mini garden stream. I remember the house seemed so alive with the delightful sound of splashing water, and I enjoyed so very much my visit with the elderly farmer and his wife.
I returned a few years later to discover the farmhouse boarded up and empty—both the farmer and his wife having likely passed, leaving the farmhouse to fall to neglect and ruin. I felt sad then to consider that the kindly old couple may be gone, and to see their beautiful home so seemingly abandoned. But then I listened carefully, and I heard it… I heard the sound of water flowing inside the house and out in the garden behind a large stone wall. Water was still flowing then via the tap which the old man had driven into the mountain during his youth, water which continued to flow after his death, bringing fresh water to splash into the home’s many stone and tile sinks, basins and tubs, and feeding the little stone-lined stream and pond the farmer had carefully built in the garden. And that water is likely flowing there still, right now, even as I type these words, with no one around to listen or to care or to appreciate the lives of the old green tea farmer and his kindly wife, people who are now just another lost story within the high mountains of central Japan, just another piece of an old way of life almost gone, save what remains of the old homes, farms and gardens these people have left behind.
The old house pictured here is one I discovered today online, located in the mountains of Wakayama prefecture. The house reminds me of that old couple’s place in the Village of the Long Bear. It even has a water tap drilled into a nearby mountain spring, allowing fresh, clean and cold water to flow through a house just waiting for a new owner to come and make it home. The purchase price includes some nice garden plots, as well as a good portion of the surrounding forest. However, I’m not sure just how much they are asking for everything. I will include a link to the video listing in the comments.
Click here to view the listing for this property.
My name is Kurt Bell.
You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.
Be safe... But not too safe.