Japan's villages and towns need you
You may have seen the news stories about Japan's empty house problem.
It's also no secret that as Tokyo is still booming, towns and villages across Japan are hollowing out as young people leave to find jobs and lives in the cities.
I am a huge fan of doing things that other people don't. I like to go shopping on weekday evenings (no one else does it) and work on weekends.
Moving to a village thus seems like it could be a good idea.
There is an area just to the north of where we live now called Osato. It is next to Sendai (only 30m by car from where we live now), but enjoys all the advantages of rural life: beautiful scenery, clean air, quiet, low inhabitant taxes compared to Sendai, and cheap homes.
How cheap? Check out the picture above :)
Over 1,000 m2 of land for one million yen. Comes with a free building. Assuming we wanted it, we could buy that tomorrow as a weekend home.
It is cheap because the house is empty and the town itself is trying to sell it to someone who will live there and pay taxes, through a scheme called the 'Akiya Bank' (empty house bank). Many towns and villages participate, and you can easily find listings online.
I like the idea of having some farmland and a self-contained home (with solar power and water tanks) as part of our diversification strategy. It would be good to be at least somewhat self-sufficient, and the area is absolutely stunning.
My wife enjoys gardening and growing vegetables and I would love to have somewhere scenic to write.
We're going to go and check it out soon. I'll report back here on the blog.
Update: unfortunately someone else beat us to it. Still, I predict there will be more chances in the future. We registered with the town to receive updates.
Anyone else take advantage of the Akiya Bank system?