Yamanashi is a landlocked prefecture situated west of Tokyo in the Chūbu Region.
Yamanashi is a landlocked prefecture situated west of Tokyo in the Chūbu Region.
Image: James Whitlow Delaney/Bloomberg/Getty Images

When the Rugby World Cup 2019 kicks off in September, more eyes will be on its host nation, Japan, than ever before. Land Rover is not only a worldwide partner to the rugby tournament to end all others, but a proud partner of the Springboks too. So, before our boys in green and gold head off to the tiny Pacific Island nation, we thought we’d give you a crash course in where to travel when you follow suit. Because we’re Wanted, we’ve curated the coolest, smartest and most unique itinerary for you — taking our inspiration from the newly updated Range Rover Evoque 2019 (how could we not?)

Kitted out with new technologies and engineered for comfort, this beauty of a vehicle is an all-terrain, compact SUV that’s stylishly suitable to zip around the city with ease.

This week, we highlight a growing trend in the prefecture of Yamanashi as a result of the movement of people.

Yamanashi is a landlocked prefecture situated west of Tokyo in the Chūbu Region. It has been reported that more than 8m homes in this utterly picturesque region are sitting vacant.

1. INVEST IN PROPERTY | FREE PROPERTY IN YAMANASHI 

The Nomura Research Institute, a leading think-tank in Japan, projects that the number of abandoned dwellings in Japan will grow to 21.7m by 2033. That’s about one-third of all homes in the country. Young people are migrating to the city, and properties passed down through generations are now too costly to maintain. To stem this tide, municipal governments have set up akiya (empty home) banks for prospective home investors, but, the houses are not being taken up fast enough.

In 2018, Yamanashi had the highest residential vacancy rate nationwide, and climbing.
In 2018, Yamanashi had the highest residential vacancy rate nationwide, and climbing.
Image: John S Lander/Light Rocket/Getty Images

Some municipalities also offer home-renovation subsidies for new akiya residents, though they need to be under 40, be in a couple with at least one minor child, and be willing to settle in the town permanently or invest in upgrading vacant homes. The government has passed legislation to allow more foreigners to work in the country to mitigate its dwindling workforce. So if you are a highly skilled immigrant or have a job offer, now might just be the time to move. 

2. READ BEFORE YOU LEAVE | THE PINE ISLANDS BY MARION POSCHMANN 

The Pine Islands.
The Pine Islands.
Image: Supplied

For once, the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” is off the mark. The dust jacket of Poschmann’s award-winning The Pine Islands is utterly mesmerising: all undulating waves and cranes. It’s the perfect scene-setter for prose that will lull you into a mesmerised state of reading.

Gilbert Silvester, escaping some marriage drama, heads for Japan. There he meets a young student, Yosa, who, with a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide, has different, dark ideas for his future. With seemingly vastly different motivations, the pair head off on an adventure across Japan together.

A translation from the original German (it won the Berlin Prize for Literature), this book is funny, moving, and lyrical. It’ll leave you longing to get on a plane to experience Japan’s big cities and natural beauty. 

3. LIVE FOR THE CITY | LULAMA WOLF ON SEEING ART IN EVERYTHING 

“I use space in everything that I do. I try to articulate my practice through lines as composition. I try to see art in everything in life, where I live, my environment. The system of how the city moves and how the people move around the city.” — Lulama Wolf, artist, blogger, model and friend of Land Rover.

WATCH | New Range Rover Evoque - Lulama Wolf:

Visit the Land Rover website for more information. Join the #liveforthecity conversation on Twitter and Instagram.

This article was paid for by Land Rover, proud vehicle partner to the Springboks.

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