Giving back: Recycling abandoned homes in rural Japan

The abundance of akiya (vacant houses) dotted all over the Japanese countryside has hit the headlines in recent years. While some of these empty houses make it into the municipalities’ Akiya Banks, many are already uninhabitable. Despite Japan’s zero waste policy, the idea of salvaging lumber and other materials from these old houses has not caught on yet but there are some promising examples where individuals took it upon themselves to rescue such materials and re-use them for building interesting new structures.

One such example is found in Wakayama Prefecture at the Organic Hotel Kiri-no-Sato in Kumano. Another example is Horakuan Temple and Zen Buddhist Retreat Center near Suzaka in Nagano Prefecture.

Read my full article on Japan Today here.