Have kids, will adventure: Japan

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Walking the cedar lined avenue towards upper Togakushi Shrine, Nagano Prefecture. Image: Dave Lock

Our love affair with Japan began nine years ago when my husband, Dave, and I spent a month honeymooning in Tokyo and snowboarding the mountains of Hakuba. We returned for a similar length trip with our daughter, Milla, when she was 20 months old, dividing our time between Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kochi [Shikoku Island] and Nozawa Onsen. Earlier in 2016 we returned from our third trip, this time travelling with our two children, Milla [now aged 7] and Ari [3].

I've received a number queries about these trips and taking kids to Japan, so thought I'd share the places and highlights of our recent adventures, as well as some of the tips we've picked up travelling with younger kids in the country! This post covers our main destinations on this past trip - Tokyo, snow areas Nozawa Onsen and Myoko Kogen, and Gankoyama Treehouse Village - and concludes with our travel tips. Please note: this is a longer blog so if you're not interested in all the destinations just skip ahead! Please feel free to contribute to the conversation or sing out with questions in the comments section below!

Gankoyama treehouse: an 'off the grid, off the ground' nature play experience in Japan

Saturday, 27 February 2016

“Back when we were kids, we used to build and play in ‘secret bases’ out in the mountains. I initially started Gankoyama to bring back all the fun I used to have as a child.”

- Yoshinori Hiraga, ‘Master’ and founder of Gankoyama Tree House Village (as quoted in Outdoor Japan Magazine)

Hello! We recently enjoyed a wonderful 3.5 weeks holidaying as a family in Japan. One of the absolute highlights of the trip was our treehouse stay at Gankoyama. I hope you enjoy this blog I wrote on our experience, which was originally written for Nature Play SA (where I work as Social Media Manager and in nature play event support). I'm looking forward to sharing more on our trip, including the incredible natural places we visited and some cool Tokyo playgrounds! All the best, Claire

Weaving and sustainability

Saturday, 4 April 2015


There's been some tumble weeds blowing along the nature // street blog front while I've been pursuing my dual interests in weaving and sustainability. As I wrote about here, I launched my Etsy shop, Nature Street Weaves, in November 2014 and have since found myself immersed in not only creating handwoven tapestries but also exploring the sustainability side of fibre arts, including researching sustainable making approaches and practices, sourcing ethically produced materials, connecting with like-minded individuals... and creating a collaborative blog series with a fellow Australian weaver [more on that below!]

Summertime and the livin' is easy

Monday, 29 December 2014

Hello and happy festive season! I hope this post finds you well - no doubt also feeling the after-effects of December's indulgences and hopefully enjoying some much-deserved down-time! The Australian summer holidays are in full swing and we are savouring a few weeks at home with no real plans beyond casual catch-ups and plenty of beach and outdoor play. We were treated to a weekend on the river to commence the school holidays, and whilst it meant turning down several subsequent social invitations, it was a great way to escape the pre-Christmas hustle and spend some quality time in nature with friends and the kids. Floating in the river, jetty jumping, stand-up paddle boarding, boat rides and basking in the sun certainly set a laid-back tone which we've fortunately carried through the latter part of December.

nature // street WEAVES opens!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

"nature // street is on an expedition to bring more nature, simplicity + play 
into modern living. It’s a call to reconnect, explore + celebrate life in the urban jungle:
 a fresh view on slowing down, conscious thinking + appreciating the little things in a busy world."

Today marks the official opening of my Etsy store, nature // street WEAVES - hooray!

You'll find the above nature // street ethos personified in my shop's collection of unique, handwoven wall hangings which draw inspiration from our natural world. All items are designed + carefully created by me, with an emphasis on high quality materials + sustainability.

I'll be adding further wall hangings to the shop over the following weeks and custom orders can be requested through the site. Feel free to head over to www.etsy.com/au/shop/naturestreetWEAVES and take a look around!

nature talks with neon [moose]

Friday, 31 October 2014


It's been a few weeks between posting with lots happening on the nature // street front! 

< first up! > Nature Play Adventure Day 
We were blown away to have over 370 kids attend the Brighton Primary School Nature Play Adventure Day on October 1! It was so inspiring to watch the play that unfolded: the kids' delight at the playspaces [mud exploration / pop-up junk yard adventure  + nature play spaces]; their imagination and creativity; the freedom they had to direct their own play; and how they interacted with each other. Seriously, what little champs! 
Nature Play Adventure Day co-organiser and Climbing Tree Director Simon Hutchinson is currently compiling footage of the event and I'll be writing a more in-depth round up of the day so stay tuned for more!

< next > nature meets neon!
In other developments, I recently caught up with Adelaide blogger and creative, Bee, of Neon Moose. We talked all things nature // street - the ethos + approach behind this blog; the nature play movement; blogging life and creativity. You can check out our chat here!

special announcement time!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Hiya! Some special news on nature // street today!

I'm super excited to share that I'm working in collaboration with Brighton Primary School and their Outdoor Education Specialist, Simon Hutchinson, to put on the... 

Brighton Primary School Nature Play Adventure Day! 

The event will form part of Nature Play SA's inaugural Nature Play Week*, and will see the school open their new nature play areas for an unstructured and creative play session suitable for toddlers and primary schoolers. The day will also feature mud exploration and junk yard adventure spaces so we're recommending people deck the kids in their olds and get ready for a play experience like no other!

Geed up on geocaching!

Monday, 1 September 2014

"Geocaching is the world-wide treasure hunt that's happening right now, all around you. 
There are 2,482, 791 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers world wide"

I first came across geocaching on Nature Play SA's list of 51 Things To Do Before You're 12 where "find a geocache in your neighbourhood" features at number six. It stood out as the only activity on the list I'd not heard of, and the description "global GPS treasure hunt you can do with most phones" piqued my curiosity. I started to see references to the activity about the place but still wasn't actually sure what was involved when a free 'come and try' geocaching event at our local wetland was advertised. Bingo, just the incentive required to get our treasure hunter on!

Weekend Wildness

Sunday, 24 August 2014

"We need the tonic of wildness"
                                                                                                    Henry David Thoreau

Winter's concluding month has been characterised by multiple bouts of illness for our family, and for the past week and a half we've been caring for one especially miserable toddler. The side effects of this run of illness have included a strong case of cabin fever and sleep deprivation for all, as well as a sudden drop-off in our family outdoor adventures [the cumulative impact of which may have just elevated us - ok, me - to borderline crazy status]. 

the vacant block

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Weeds, open space and two generous mounds of illegally dumped rubble dominate the large vacant block at the end of the street. For over eight years now we've passed through the land, making our way to and from the local shops and beach; transitioning from newly engaged couple to young family. A constant in the backdrop of daily life, the block is generally overlooked or regarded as a dilapidated neighbourhood eyesore.