【HafH Travel Blog】Making travel a part of everyday life

Written by Okome-san (IT professional)

Hi, everyone! I’m Okome (@ocometabetai ). I’m an IT professional and currently work remotely.

I started working for my current company in April 2019, filled with dreams and ambitions, then suddenly, about half a year later, I was working completely remote from the office. Since then, I have barely set foot inside the office.

Shortly after becoming remote, I started to feel the loneliness of not being around my coworkers and peers in the office. That’s when I decided I needed to do something; I need to change my work style. So I packed up, left my home in Tokyo and set out on my journey.

“I left Tokyo and headed for Fukuoka, a place I’d always wanted to live!”

For me, as someone who’d never worked like a “digital nomad” before, suddenly going from office worker to being a person who travels from place to place while working seemed like too big a step. I thought “I’ll just go to Fukuoka for a week and see how I go!

Once in Fukuoka, I really wanted to visit HafH’s directly-operated facility HafH Fukuoka THE LIFE (previously just called LIFE). There I met Haruka (@HarukanCoffee), one of HafH’s staff members, and spoke with him about Fukuoka and what it’s like to live here.

After pondering on all the information I’d gathered, I decided that as I’d come all this way, I might as well try living in Fukuoka for a month and have a more in-depth experience of life in this city! I gathered my things and moved into HafH Fukuoka THE LIFE!

3 top advantages for staying at THE LIFE:
・Supermarkets, convenience stores, green grocers are all within a 5 min walk
・HafH Café & Bar is located inside THE LIFE, making it a great place to work remote from
・The other guests/HafH Neighbors living at THE LIFE are all incredible people

I think for me, who I’m living with is more important than where I’m living. Many of my fellow THE LIFE coliving friends were eager to learn and/or start new things. Their passion and drive helped to keep me motivated, and I was so happy to have people I could talk to about more serious life issues. Of course, they were also a lot of fun!

Getting out and exploring Fukuoka while getting to know each other better!


Everyone getting together for a workshop


Whenever I decided to take on something new or try something different, I always had the support of my fellow THE LIFE friends!

HafH hopping in Fukuoka!

With all the new friends and acquaintances I’d made, I decided to try visiting and living in other areas of Fukuoka Prefecture, and see what a more digital nomad-like lifestyle is like using HafH.

Below are some of my favorite HafH properties from my time location-independent living in Fukuoka.

iikanepalette|Tagawa, Fukuoka

The first is Iikanepalette in Tagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture. The abandoned Iikane Elementary school building was renovated and turned into an accommodation facility.


Iikanepalette has a super spacious coworking area, making it the perfect place for people who work remotely to stay. Many of the people using the coworking space where long-term stayers, and having a chat with them in between working was a lot of fun!


Not just accommodation and coworking, iikanepalette also has a recording studio, a library, and more! They really took the essence of learning and growth from the old elementary school and carried this throughout the buildings transformation!

By the way, you can also use the recording studio to practice and play musical instruments! : )


There were so many different spaces with different functions, but this has to be my favorite of all!

The garden! From this spot, I could hear musical instruments being played, and happy voices from inside the gymnasium. It really felt like this old abandoned school and had come back to life!


The first two who wanted to make use of the abandoned school building were two former graduates of the elementary school; Higuchi (@HiguchiKi), a podcast creator (COTEN RADIO), and Sasaki (@sasakimakoto), a Fukuoka Prefectural Government Assembly member.

Besides these two, there were also school teachers, musicians, apprentices, non-workers, etc. Everyone living in Iikanepalette was unique and wonderful!


Those who book a stay here through HafH, but have no method of transportation should try contacting the best apprentice there is Masa-san (@_masa0901)! If there is no conflict of schedule, he said he’s happy to come and pick you up!

uzuhouse|Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi

The second is uzuhouse in Shimonseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Getting to Shimonoseki from Fukuoka is relatively easy; it’s just a 30 minute train or Shinkansen ride from Fukuoka City.


During your stay, you can use the café space on the second floor to chill out in or to remote work from. The view from the café makes it feel like you’re floating on the ocean.

There are also plenty of books available to read, and sitting back on one of the balcony sofas with an interesting book and the balmy ocean breeze is a fantastic way to enjoy some down time.

I personally loved chilling out with a cup of uzuhouse’s special homemade chai!♪


When I first walked out onto the rooftop and saw the view, all I could think was “WOW!” The sea takes on many different looks depending on time of day or weather, and large container ships pass by from time to time. I found myself spending time just staring out at the view.


By the way, you still get Wi-Fi up here, and there are plenty of desks, so you could remote work from the rooftop as well! I kinda feel like the fresh air and calm ocean breeze helped me to concentrate on my work a little more than usual.


Within walking distance of uzuhouse you can find a lot of great restaurants and cafés. The stand-out for me has to be a café called TAGLINE !

The coffee and lunch here was unbelievable good! I actually went back a second time! Haha!


I found a few other great places too! If you’re staying at uzuhouse or in the area, check them out!

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【Café】
bagdad cafe
An old house refurbished and transformed into a café. A really chill space!

TAKADA COFFEE 
There’s one in Shimonoseki and Chofu, Yamaguchi. The café was established in 1987, so has a bit of history. The coffee served here is purchased locally from the region/country it’s grown in. You have to try their melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake.

【Bar】
doindia
The owner of this “spicebar” lived in India for 10 years. With a passion for all the spices, and a desire to share them in Shimonoseki, the owner built this bar. I loved the authentic spice chai here!

hiyoko head
Both the owner and the bar itself have a welcoming, laid-back vibe. I saw a Thai flag out front so assumed they served Thai food, but apparently someone had just randomly put it up there. I’m not 100% sure on which country’s cuisine they serve, but it was really delicious. haha!

The restaurants, bars and cafés in Shimonoseki all seem to get on well with each other, so when I went to walk into one that was full they recommended another place to me! : ) I love that!

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At uzuhouse, I casually joined in on some of the classes and activities they had on offer at the time, like Korean language classes and a manicure experience. There was also a staff member who is a KPOP dance instructor and another who was formerly a dolphin trainer.

uzuhouse is really a fun and vibrant place!

Thank you so much to everyone!


To those wanting to try traveling with HafH

I feel like it’s not that easy to switch from your current living environment to suddenly being a location-independent digital nomad or remote worker.

You could start out slowly on the Trial HafH plan, which gives you 1 night’s accommodation each month, and just try going to those places you’ve always wanted to visit. I think that’s probably a good place to start if you’re wanting to introduce more frequent travel into your life.


This HafH Travel Blog was written by HafH Neighbor (member) Okome-san! Thank you to everyone who read the article. Hopefully, it helps inspire you to make travel a part of your life too!

There are HafH locations all across Japan and around the world! You can check out our list of properties from the search bar at the top of the screen.

If you’re considering signing up to HafH, you can do so here