If you’re in the market for a rural escape but don’t quite have the money to justify being in said market, you might want to consider Japan. A new government program is offering roughly eight million abandoned homes across the country for free, some even with subsidies available for renovations. They’re called akiya, and listings sites known as akiya banks (like this one — be forewarned, you’re gonna need some Google Translate) match curious consumers with the fixer-upper of their dreams.
The overflow of vacant homes is a result of the country’s rapidly ageing population, and many have been left in superb shape as owners headed to retirement homes or pass away. They often remain abandoned because of a common Japanese superstition that designates houses associated with parties who die alone as haunted. There’s even an online database dedicated to marking unsafe properties.
Of course, you aren’t worried about a little haunting, are you? So go get yourself a cheap retreat in Japan, some assembly — or exorcism — possibly required.
Main photo by Olaf Protze/LightRocket via Getty Images
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