The town of Tsuwano in Shimane Prefecture has purchased an abandoned hotel and land for 2,000 Yen (approx. US$18). The 50-year old building will be demolished with the grounds turned into a public park.
In February 2021, the town acquired the 5,000 sqm of land and the 2-story steel frame building from the owner for a nominal price. The reason behind the low price is due to the high cost of demolishing the old building and the groundwork required to create a park. It is estimated that this will cost around 150 million Yen (approx. US$1.38 million). Demolition will start this summer with the park opened by March 2022.
The hotel was originally built as a bowling alley in 1970 and converted into the Tsuwano Grand Hotel in 1979. It closed in 2000 and has sat vacant ever since. About 10 years ago residents and tourism operators began to complain about the unsightly building. It sits right alongside the National Route 9 Highway that passes by the town. It’s not the only abandoned building along this stretch of the highway, another hotel just down the street has been closed since 2003. There’s also an abandoned roadside restaurant next to the Grand Hotel. The town is in discussions with the owner of the drive-in restaurant property to potentially demolish it in the future.
Tsuwano is a historic castle town deep in the mountains with a history dating back to the 1300s. It has a population of 7,653 as of the 2015 census, down almost 70% from its peak in 1955. The population has been shrinking for the past 60 years. In normal years it attracts around 1 million tourists annually.
Source: The Chugoku Shimbun, March 4, 2021.
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