Nestled in rural Niigata Prefecture is a village of traditional Kominka homes that have been renovated by German architect Karl Bengs since he moved to the area with his wife, Tina. In the winter of 2021, the village found itself under more than 4 meters of snow after the heaviest snowfall in 40 years. The blanketing of snow posed various challenges, but the community made the most of the winter wonderland. There was Tina's special stew, pizza baked in a wood-burning stove, and scenes of children frolicking outside. As Karl walked along in the freshly fallen snow, he said to himself, "This is the most beautiful village in the world." After the harshness of winter, the arrival of spring offers fresh joys. One woman who recently moved to the area prepares items for a picnic with the elderly women of the village. Join us as Karl and Tina take us on a tour of winter life and show us how the villagers prepare for the season of new beginnings.
Karl loves the unique beauty of the snowy mountains in Japan
Tina spends a lot of time inside, but winter has its charms
Sokaku-an (House of Paired Cranes) restored by Karl