Hokkaido's charm offensive

Businesses in Hokkaido suffered great losses in the aftermath of the Sept 6 earthquakes, but the steady revitalisation of the tourism industry bodes well for the prefecture's recovery, reports The Straits Times' Japan correspondent Walter Sim.
Tourists standing in the middle of the road to get their best shot of one of the 19 sloping streets that run straight to the port in the historic district of Motomachi in Hakodate.
Tourists standing in the middle of the road to get their best shot of one of the 19 sloping streets that run straight to the port in the historic district of Motomachi in Hakodate.ST PHOTO: WALTER SIM

Japanese island on spirited mission to show tourists it's back in business after earthquake

Weeks after the town of Atsuma in Hokkaido was devastated by landslides triggered by an earthquake, Mr Kensuke Chiba, 49, packed up his craftmaking tools to make a visit, hoping to bring some cheer to children who had lost their homes.

Mr Takashi Kimura, 27, opened his backpackers' hostel for free to locals and tourists stranded by the September quake, which briefly cut off power to all 2.95 million homes in the prefecture. While there were widespread water outages, his taps were still running and he too helped supply water to residents.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 09, 2018, with the headline 'Hokkaido's charm offensive'. Print Edition | Subscribe