Haikyo make for some amazing and creepy photography subjects. There's even a hobby called haikyo that involves exploring them. Check out the gorgeous pictures at http://www.kirainet.com/english/nichitsu-ghost-town and http://www.kirainet.com/english/haikyo-in-lake-kawaguchi and a website about the hobby at http://www.haikyo.org
Enter aki-ie. NPOs find tenets to move into the empty houses for a nominal rent so that they are maintained. At the very least the tatami will be aired and the house will be heated in winter. An example is http://www.onomichisaisei.com
Look at the gorgeous old houses standing vacant
|Photo taken from http://www.onomichisaisei.com|
Although it seems strange that renting the house out is a last, desperate resort, there seems to be a great deal of reluctance to open the family home to strangers. There are a few houses on the regular rental market, but none of the ones we looked at seemed to have been family homes. The house we are currently renting was built as a rental, and the owner has never lived here. A friend who has been living in Kyushu (for work reasons) for the last three decades recently told me that she was going “back” to Nagoya (her hometown) to clean her house before her daughter moved there. It took me a while to understand that for the last thirty-odd years they have maintained a house in Nagoya that no-one was using, while also renting an apartment down here. Apparently when her husband retires they will move back to Nagoya, despite all of their friends and the families their children grew up with being down here. Can you imagine sitting on an asset with the value of a house in Australia for thirty years and doing absolutely nothing with it? I don’t even know if I will ever be able to afford my own house, let alone have one and then rent another just because.