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Well Yokodai

  • Hub: Japan
  • Topics: Culture & Society, Energy, Food & drink, Inner Transition, REconomy

An international urban village for families & travelers.

Well Yokodai is a communal living space, run by and for housemates. About 35 people live here, including families withchildren, and everyone shares the kitchen, living room, and bathrooms. The basic idea is similar to that of a collective house, but with a higher focus on sharing, gift economy, and an eco-friendly lifestyle. We also run a group that supportstransition activities. It is open to the city via SNS, and we have around 150 members.

Members are not required to abide by any strict rules, and are encouraged to contribute in whatever way they think is best for them. The house offers many things to make a stay here comfortable and exciting, including donated food and goodsthat are a good example of our gift economy. For instance, one housemate might cook extra soup and leave leftovers for other housemates to enjoy, and there is usually leftover food on the kitchen table. The pantry has donated/shared itemssuch as teas, flour, and baking goods. Other goods can be bought from the small house shop, such as rice, beer, stationary,or toiletries. The small house shop is self-service, and money for purchases goes into a jar with a housemate’s name written on it.

We regularly hold a handicraft market with our neighbors and hold morning yoga sessions twice a month in the park in front of the station. On weekends there are often parties and workshops. These activities bring housemates together and strengthen our ties with our neighborhood. This communal spirit is a great way to enrich our lives.

Our utility bills are half the average in Japan because we gather in common areas rather than in private rooms, and so heating and cooling costs are reduced. The shared kitchen and bathrooms are another environmentally friendly aspect of Well Yokodai, as our plumbing fixtures are only 20% of the per capita average since we share these facilities.

We enjoy a slow approach to life. We have a large garden and a spacious, sunny kitchen, both of which invite relaxation as well as hands-on work. Our amazing collection of tools for gardening, handicrafts, and cooking might seem almost extravagant, but they are shared among us and contribute to our natural and eco-friendly way of life.

We are a member of Global Ecovillage Network Japan (GEN-Japan) and are working in collaboration with various groups including As One Suzuka. Our community is based on the Transition Town concept of creating a sustainable world through permaculture. We are managed by a team––the landowner is a Buddhist and the landlord is a Christian, andcherish the way we can make the most of what we are.