Kominka Projects: Regional Rejuvenation through Tourism

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May 21 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

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Kominka Projects: Regional Rejuvenation through Tourism talk event on May 21 is now fully booked and registration is closed. There will be no waiting list. However, we will have an in-person waiting line before the event on a first-come, first-served basis for cancelled seats. We cannot guarantee your admittance, but if you are willing to take a chance, please join the line.

Japan is facing a problem of empty/abandoned houses (“Akiya”) as a result of aging, a low birthrate, and depopulation. This is particularly prevalent in rural areas as the younger generation move towards urban parts of the country, leaving behind empty houses with a risk of unlawful occupation, animal infestation, and structural collapse. In 2023, there were an estimated 10 million vacant houses and apartments across Japan.

Many destinations around the world have remodeled such abandoned homes and buildings into tourist attractions. In Japan, this strategy has become increasingly important in the revival of Akiya. Among these Akiya, 100-300 year old Kominka (old folk houses) are gaining popularity as buildings to be remodeled and renovated for use in community rejuvenation projects.

Television programs and Internet sites feature Kominka Cafés, Machiya (townhouses) Restaurants and Kominka Hot Spring hotels. These revitalisation projects in rural areas have not only attracted increasing numbers of tourists, but have also helped protect historical townscapes and been a source of community development. The remodeled buildings come with modern conveniences while offering tourists a view of historic rural Japan. This revitalization of rural villages are also attracting young urbanites to return and pursue the countryside life which, now, also offers a livelihood.

The Speaker

Dr. Atsuko Hashimoto is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, Brock University, Canada. Her research interests are human aspects of tourism development, especially in Japan. She has researched Heritage tourism, Japanese culinary traditions and tourism, agriculture and tourism, and Green Tourism projects, Human Rights in Tourism, and Anime Tourism. She also teaches courses about using tourism as a tool for community development.


May 21 @ 6:30 pm
May 21 @ 8:00 pm
Doors Open:
6:00 pm
Event Category:


The Japan Foundation, Toronto
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The Japan Foundation, Toronto
2 Bloor St. East, 3rd Floor
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8 Canada
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View Organizer Website