Japan travel site Matcha has launched Japan Tomorrow, a crowdfunding platform designed to help local venues, special projects, and disaster relief efforts that have been suffering from the lack of tourists this year.
Anybody who helps fund a project will receive products or services in return for their contribution. It’s a great opportunity to discover new places to add to your next Japan trip itinerary. The website is currently offered in four different languages – Japanese, English, traditional Chinese and Thai, and accepts payments in most currencies.
Here are the three projects currently running on the site:
Just a two-hour drive away from Tokyo is Kosuge in Yamanashi prefecture. The small village used to be home to 2,200 people, but the population has dwindled to around 700. Hotel Nipponia aims to boost tourism by turning traditional local houses into hotels, guesthouses, spas and restaurants. Contributions go towards conversion costs and can even net you a discounted stay at one of the village’s historical old houses.
The Kumano Kodo is an ancient walking route for pilgrims in the Kansai region that takes you to temples and shrines set against scenic mountains and countryside. It’s Unesco World Heritage listed, but has had an extreme drop in visitors this year. Donations will be spent to support and maintain walking trails, signage, maps and more.
The Sekai Hotel is on a mission to support the shitamachi (downtown) area of Osaka. The hotel is inside Miako-machi Shotengai shopping area in the district of Fuse. It’s a little off-the-beaten-path for tourists, but the hotel directly supports local businesses and community education. Your contributions will help this socially conscious accommodation survive the current lack of tourism.
Keep an eye on the site to find out about more crowdfunding campaigns as they're announced.