Realizing the beauty of the nature nearby
Manami Ita used to think that she was a city girl. She was born in Kushiro City, but she knew little of its surrounding nature. But in 2011, her Canadian English teacher took her on a nature trip. Her first real step into nature was in a small hut standing on a hill inside a vast horse ranch.
The hut had no water and electricity, and only had a wood burning stove. It was there that her teacher gave her English lessons. This experience changed Ita-san’s mentality about nature. To her, feeling the warmth of the stove and seeing the outside scenery reminiscent of faraway lands was like a dream.
When she heard about a property in the middle of nature being sold in Tsurui Village, she decided to buy it and turn it into her nature villa. This marked the beginning of her career as a nature guide. In 2016, she decided to buy another old house and move to Tsurui for good. Following her son’s advice, she decided to rent out the villa as a nature cabin. It soon became a popular lodge especially for foreign visitors.
Ita-san feels very happy when she takes guests on guided tours to share the wonderful nature of the region. In summer, she often goes on canoe tours in the Kushiro Marsh, In winter, she takes her guests to go crane watching. Through her nature tours, she has gained a lot of friends and clients. Some of them are repeat guests who have been going on her tours her for nearly 10 years. Others even say that they consider Tsurui to be their second home.
One of Ita-san’s more recent pleasures is sauna bathing. She even built a sauna in her own home. When she added a sauna in Manami Cabin, her guests were overjoyed. The sauna makes use of a Russian wood burning stove that can heat the air to over 100℃. She hopes to attract local guests who have bought into the recent Japanese trend of sauna bathing.
Ita-san dreams of turning Tsurui into a village of sauna, with plenty of good sauna spots. She hopes to make the village into a hot topic and a hotspot for sauna lovers.