A 88-year old house in Gokayama has been listed for rent at just 10,000 Yen/month (127 USD) in a bid by Nanto City to entice families to the area.

Gokayama in Toyama Prefecture is a picturesque historic village registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The hamlet is full of traditional gassho-zukuri houses, similar to those found in the nearby Shirakawa-go area in Gifu.

Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, it is not immune from the depopulation of rural areas. When the area received its World Heritage listing in 1995, there were 25 houses with 88 residents. In 2012, only 17 houses are occupied by a total of 54 people, while 8 houses remain empty.

The foundation to preserve and maintain the traditional houses in Ainokura, Gokayama, are carrying out the advertising and selection process to find a suitable tenant.

The house is a 2-storey home dating from 1924. It originally had a thatched grass roof, but has since been replaced by tile. The total floor area is 198 sqm. It has 6 rooms on the 1st floor and a storeroom on the 2nd floor.

The previous owner of the house donated it to the city last year. A total of 3.4 million Yen (43,000 USD) has been spent updating the kitchen, bathroom and hot water system.

Preference will be given to families and those who play an active part in the town’s activities and events. The application period is open from October 10 – 22, 2012. An announcement of the finalists will be made at the beginning of December, with tours and interviews to be held in January and February. The final decision on the lucky tenant will be made at the end of February next year, with the house ready to move into by March. Application forms can be downloaded from the foundation’s website: http://www.g-ainokura.com. In addition to personal details, applicants are required to submit an introduction and a few paragraphs on their reasons for applying, as well as a family photo. No deposit or key money will be charged.

If interest is strong in this property, the foundation may consider putting more empty houses up for rent.


344 Ainokura, Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture



The Mainichi Shimbun, October 11, 2012.
KNB News, October 10, 2012.