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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Future of Japan Fukuchiyama

Deserted Fukuchiyama福知山日本の未来

Ninety minutes by express train from either Kyoto or Osaka is the rural city Fukuchiyama.

It is on the line to Kinosaki, a resort town full of hot springs. Also nearby are Maizuru, with its well preserved brick buildings, and the beaches near Tango.

Fukuchiyama is not a tourist center or industrial hub.

Basically, there is one tourist draw: Fukuchiyama Castle. It is a small, mountaintop castle that is quite handsome.

Few visitors were there.

However, compared to the barren city streets, it was relatively lively.

The long, narrow, empty "shotengai" - arcaded shopping streets - were bereft of human activity. Shops were mostly closed, human beings rare.

The main gathering place in the city appeared to be Goryo Shrine. There pensioners played petanque. One elderly woman had a young child with her; otherwise, the average age was in the 70s.

Compared to urban Japan, it was slow-moving, comfortable, a breather - but dead.


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1 comment:

Marco Damm said...

This experience is a template for most of Japan's rural areas. Young people are leaving for the big sprawls in Kansai or Kanto because they promise better education, employment, entertainment, etc. opportunities. The Japanese government keeps trying to keep the rural communities from dying and becoming ghost towns, but without a lot of success.