In a mountainous farming village near Oze National Park, a popular eastern Japan marshland frequented by hikers, an artist who crafts accessories and ornaments out of charcoal is using a DIY spirit to lead a full country life.

Michiko Setoyama, 39, a former accessory store manager in Tokyo's busy Shibuya shopping district, gave up her stressful city life 15 years ago and pursued farming, charcoal burning and her artisan accessory craft in the village of Katashina in Gunma Prefecture, about a three-hour drive north of the capital.

Overcoming difficulties such as living in a house without running water or parenting without relatives' support in a village with an aging population of some 4,500, her motto is to "create whatever is necessary" and "forge a path while keeping an easygoing outlook."