Hama-chan with her dog Nico
Walking through a park rich with greenery and gazing at Shirahata Shrine, which is said to have a history of 800 years, you will reach Ida House, owned by Hama-chan, the so-called “Mother of Fujisawa”.
(“Ida” is the Spanish name of Hama-chan, who is learning Spanish)
12-minute walk from Fujisawa-Honmachi station, Odakyu Enoshima Line (Station Numbering: OE 12)
About 20-30 minutes to Kamakura, Enoshima, Yokohama by train
Close to the ocean in Kanagawa Prefecture, this is a 12-minute walk from Fujisawa-Honmachi station (Station Numbering: OE 12) on the Odakyu Enoshima line.
Shirahata Shrine sitting quietly in the town of Fujisawa
At Ida House, you will meet friendly Hama-chan, her husband, and their Labrador retriever, Niko.
It has a shared kitchen, living area, and bath for guests/hosts on the first floor, and two guest rooms on the second floor.
We talked to Hama-chan, who plans to invite more guests from now on.
Bright living room shared by guests and hosts
There are two guest rooms on the second floor
Why did you decide to start a host family?
Hama-chan：Because we had some rooms free. Until now, we were a large family so there were a lot of things lying around. When the kids moved out, though, we disposed of a lot of stuff, and the rooms became lovely and clean again.
There is also the fact that this house is on leased land, so in just over ten years we will need to pull down the house and return it as a vacant lot. So, until then I wanted to make full use of the house.
Thinking of the rest of my life, I wanted to be able to chat with a wide range of people. That is why I wanted to live in such a bustling environment.
But didn’t you experience any difficulties accepting foreigners?
My niece from Shizuoka prefecture has performed as a classic ballerina overseas, and in the past she often brought her foreign friends to visit.
When three or four people from overseas stay, I realize again how we have different customs. These may be small things such as only taking a shower, and not using the bathtub.
My niece married a Swedish man, and I went to their wedding in Sweden. At that time, the people over there were very nice to me. I thought that I could provide the same kind of hospitality to others. It was very cold there in September!
Also, some friends of mine, a German couple, came to stay, and they told me that as they are friends of Japanese wool, they had bought some wool from Iwate prefecture on the Internet.
When they came here, we went to the store called “Yuzawaya” and they were surprised at how cheap it was being sold. They told me that Japanese wool was amazing in terms of the nuances of its colors and method of weaving.
It is also fun when people from other countries can teach you about the charms of Japan that even Japanese people do not know.
Were you not concerned about language issues?
Hama-chan：I can only speak a little English, but when my niece’s friends came to visit, she interpreted for us, and as we have smartphones now, I am not really conscious of the language barrier.
I am learning Spanish, and although it is very difficult, the important thing is just to speak without fear of making mistakes.
Are there any guests or episodes that stick in the memory?
Hama-chan：An American friend of my niece stayed for about a week, and he taught basketball to the children of the local school. This shows that international exchange is possible in really familiar areas.
What are the points you would recommend about your house?
Hama-chan：If you love dogs you should definitely come!
There are also some manga comics left behind by my children, so please feel free to read these if you like manga (lol).
Manga (comic book) collection：Case Closed (Detective Conan), Boys over Flowers, Blue Spring Ride (Ao-haru-ride), etc.
What kind of experiences do you want guests to have?
Hama-chan：As we are only 20-30 minutes away from Kamakura, Enoshima, and Yokohama by train, it is good for sightseeing.
I would definitely recommend the beautiful night views of Enoshima. The sailing events during the 2020 Olympics will be held at Enoshima harbor, so it is also good for people who like sailing.
It is about one hour by train from Shibuya and Shinjuku, so you can enjoy both the Kamakura and Enoshima area and the Tokyo metropolitan district from here.
Hama-chan’s recommendation：Enoshima Sea Candle (observation lighthouse) night view
Hama-chan：For what to see around the house, there is a Japanese sweets store near here where you can try making Japanese traditional confectionery. You can try calligraphy with a calligraphy master as well.
My husband is happy to take you to nearby sightseeing spots by car if you would like. However, for Kamakura, there are always too many cars and it takes a long time, so it might be quicker by train (lol).
Experience sweet-making at the nearby Japanese confectionery store “Komine”
2,000 yen per person, required time – around two hours
Even when you meet Hama-chan for the first time, you can chat casually together, and it almost feels like you are
speaking to your own mother.
Enjoy staying at Ida House as a base to enjoy the charms of Kanagawa!
Looking forward to meeting you!