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April 1st 2016
Published: April 1st 2016
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Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nemba, the healing village of Nemba on Lake Saiko, is a traditional village which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1966 and has been rebuilt as a folk village to display the crafts and way of life of the people who have lived here for hundreds of years. It is a charming village of about 20 bamboo-thatched cottages nestled under Mt Fuji. (Unfortunately it was hidden by cloud today but we can't complain. We had great views yesterday and it's common for visitors to this area not to see Fuji at all because it is often wrapped in cloud.)

The cottages display different aspects of life in the village including ceramics, paper-making, silk-making, wasabi-cultivation and a water wheel mill. There is a little museum with a clock that stopped when the earthquake struck that reminded me of the buried village in Rotorua. An extra treat was that many houses were displaying hina, traditional dolls for the girls' festival Hina Matsuri, which is celebrated to coincide with peach blossoming (early March in most of Japan but early April here where it is colder and the cherries are not yet flowering). We enjoyed wandering around the cottages and watching kids dressed up and playing traditional games. (Okay the big kid about to turn 60 had a go with the stilts and ball toys too). But for sheer cuteness the trolley-load of toddlers we saw being pushed by a child care worker end route was unbeatable.

There were pretty gardens at the village too, as there are everywhere. Walking through the back streets of Kawaguchiko even the most ordinary houses have carefully tended gardens where each tree is carefully pruned and sometimes strung up around a bamboo pole with a complex web of strings to ensure a desired shape. Appropriately we snacked on Fuji apples. There is very little fruit in Japan so that was doubly enjoyable.

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